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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 33372

Law 13 - Free Kicks 5/21/2019

RE: Select Under 17

Mitch Dubensky of Washington DC, Washington DC USA asks...

A free kick is awarded. Referee arm signal is unintelligible as it was neither for a direct or indirect kick. The 16 year old player looks at the referee and can't figure it out. He asks him 'can I shoot it.' The referee did not vocalize whether it was direct or indirect and only responded to the free kick taker by saying 'yes.' Granted he should have asked 'is it direct.' Nevertheless, after making an unintelligible arm signal, the referee puts his arm back down to his side.

As I understand it, if it is a direct free kick the referee extends his arm straight out and then puts it down. If it's an indirect free kick he raises his arm above his head and keeps it there until it is touched by another player.

The boy takes the kick and goes directly into the goal. A true rocket from 40 yards. Referee runs to AR after ball goes in net. Then CR denies the goal saying it was indirect free kick and it never touched another player before entering the goal.

As a result of this decision, the goal was disallowed and we tied the match 1-1. The game was for entry into the championship game if we won.

So the question:, 'is the failure on the part of the referee to properly signal an indirect kick, and in fact, use the motions of a direct kick (putting his arm down after signaling) as opposed to keeping his arm raised for an indirect free kick a reason for being able to protest the match results and be entitled to a replay?'

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Mitch
There are a number of important factors excluded from your question
1. What was the free kick for?
2. How was play restarted?
3. Why was the AR involved in the decision? Was it confirm that it did not touch another player probably the goalkeeper ?
Also there is no arm signal for a direct free kick. When the offence is called the referee signals the direction of the restart and if it is direct there is no further arm signal. If it is indirect a raised arm signal is made.
On the face of it we must assume it was an indirect free kick for the goal to be disallowed.
Now this is where it gets tricky. If it was indirect then the raised arm signal should have been made. The former FIFA Questions and Answers told us that the kick is retaken if a goal is scored and the raised arm signal is not made. If the arm signal is made it is play on or a goal kick.
The answer will come down to what the referee will say as to what transpired at the kick. If he say that the arm was not raised and there was no retake then it is an error in Law. If he says that the arm was raised then no error has been made and any appeal will fail.
My view as well comes down to what the offence was in the first place. If it was PIADM which has an IDFK restart then it was the correct restart and it comes down to referee procedure. If it was an ordinary trip, kick, push etc then it gets beyond an incorrect procedure.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Mitch,
admittedly based on your description it sounds like some investigation should occur? The LOTG state clearly what procedures a referee MUST follow, IF he indeed is awarding an INDFK for an INDFK offence (by the way what occurred to be awarded an INDFK not a DFK? ) Was it a correct restart for why play was stopped? If a goal is being denied could there have been a player interfere with the keeper on the shot? Was anyone in an Offside position? There are so few INDFK options anymore?

The referee indicates an indirect free kick by raising the arm above the head; this signal is maintained until the kick has been taken and the ball touches another player or goes out of play.

An indirect free kick must be retaken if the referee fails to signal that the kick is indirect and the ball is kicked directly into the goal.
end quote

This referee has misapplied the LOTG by not allowing the INDFK kick to be retaken IF he does in fact admit to NOT signaling correctly & that ball did indeed DIRECTLY enter the goal . . IE raising the arm and keeping it up until the ball left the FOP (enters into the Goal) or a 2nd player got a touch? There is no mandatory signal for a DFK per say. A whistle sounds for an obvious foul, the kicker could place the ball and go immediately. I often call out the color of the team who is being award the free kick 'Blue ball on the ground!'

One could choose designate the event of a foul with a clear vocalized 'INDFK Blue, that way, with an arm raised and point with the other arm briefly. Best to ensure there is ZERO doubt that it is an INDFK be it ceremonial or taken quickly so the attackers are not cheated nor the defenders' keeper, who if unaware, might try to handle a ball entering his goal creating a 2nd touch rather than allow it to go in and receive the free kick out!

For a league or association to consider a replay I suspect you would need to protest within 24 hrs and provide a description or a video of the event if one exists & hope you have a referees' admission of his improper behavior. The AR might indicate that a signal was given or not given? He was approached by the CR after the Goal and it was disallowed, so some information was exchanged?

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