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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 33419

Law 13 - Free Kicks 6/6/2019

RE: rec Under 15

gary of nashua, nh usa asks...

It seems a growing number of players and coaches dont know what constitutes a direct free kick or indirect. Had a game recently in which the coach started to announce to players that a careless charging foul was indirect. Had to make an announcement it was direct. Also have had several instances in which handballs are being questioned as indirect. I do put my arm up for indirect as taught, but it seems I am missing a more concise way to communicating type of kick. This is present at more lower level games.

Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Gary,

Odd....I wonder how that misinformation has come about? As we all know, misinformation can be contagious! Thinking DHB is an IFK is bizarre....I wonder if there's been misinformation about the law changes? Or with increasing discussion around DHB, I know there's some discussion about whether some things such as 'accidental beneficial handling' should be IFK in the law, and I wonder if somehow that's become miscommunicated and some people are thinking it is? Hmm.....

At lower grades and juniors, you could consider verbally stating 'direct' or 'indirect' as well as using the arm up for indirect. I used to do that for kicks near the PA in juniors and low grade mens. At a ceremonial free kick, you'll normally stand at the position of the ball then pace out the wall. After you tell the attackers to wait for the whistle (and clearly point to your raised whistle), you could use that moment to turn around and loudly say 'Keeper, it's direct!', then pace out the wall. Or 'gentlemen, Indirect, so 2 touches', something along those lines (I liked to add in 2 touches to 'indirect', to ensure it wasn't misheard as 'direct')

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Gary,
Funny the arm MUST be raised to indicate a indirect FK. That has not changed?
Myths arise easily from misinterpreted alterations. Coaches are at times very collected or very scattered this one appears the latter.
The drop ball aspect in inadvertent handling or accidental goal scoring situations is also a puzzler because we are changing the actual concepts of a non foul into a loss of possession even denying a good goal just in case we let a poor goal escape notice?

Although we here at this site over the past 15 or so years have advocated changes in the LOTG suggesting that INDFKs for handling offences instead of DFKs or PKs offer a better fairer alternative outcome.

We also expressed dismay that INDFK offences are ignored almost all the time to the point where obstruction is no longer even considered and is now in fact a DFK for (impeding with contact) if the slightest of contact occurs.

The old misconduct stoppage requires a INDFK restart ONLY if a card is shown yet referees award INDFKs with no card claiming its better for the game. This is one way myths begin.

There so few INDKS for fouls aside from offside or the keeper violations? We award DFKs even for fouls outside the FOP on the touchline or goal line . In Youth PIADM where safety might arise or a second touch violation but any contact foul ,charge, push, pull, kick, strike, trip, jump, tackle, are all DFKs offences.

I see no harm in stating INDFK verbally and then raising the arm, lowering it ONLY when you see the 2nd touch occurs or it is COMPLETELY obvious thee is no confusion in outcome. Especially in around the goal area where special circumstances apply in terms of restart ball position and where players can actually stand.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Gary,
I guess there's no way to account for the various ways that some people including coaches, will misinterpret the laws. Although to be honest, I've not come across the one about handball being an indirect free kick before.

Now, at lower levels and especially with younger, less experienced players, I'd say that players not knowing what a raised arm from the referee means, is relatively common. So as my colleagues suggest, you might like to communicate verbally that the kick is indirect. Incidentally, under the new edition of the laws that came into effect on June 1 (except for competitions that started before that date and are still ongoing) it is no longer necessary to keep the arm raised until a second touch occurs or the ball goes out of play. Law 13 now says that the referee can also lower the arm if:

''... it is clear that a goal cannot be scored directly.''

The explanation the IFAB has given for this is:

''Many indirect free kicks are too far from the opponents’ goal for a goal to be scored directly (e.g. IDFKs for offside); in these cases, the referee only needs to maintain the signal until the kick is taken because running whilst showing the signal is not easy.''

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Gary
Myths develop for all sorts of reasons. I guess with the advent of social media it is probably easy to see how a 'suggestion' on how handling should be treated could become what some think is the a Law change. Throw in all the recent advice updates and Law changes and a myth could ,get legs' in a particular area.
All a referee can do is manage each game as he finds it. At free kicks it can be a good idea if there is doubt in games such as what you experienced to shout to the goalkeeper DIRECT.
As to IDFKs I rarely see attacking ones as most PIADM situations I see end up in contact which makes them DFKs. I cannot recall the last ceremonial IDFK I had in a game!

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