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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 33649

Law 13 - Free Kicks 9/14/2019

RE: Professional

Graeme purvis of LOCHGELLY, Uk asks...

There are new rules on opposition players being in the wall at a free kick.
Do these rules state where a defensive wall can be. It is normally within 10metres of the free kick, but that's a minimum distance. Can the defending team set up a wall 20m away and use the new rule to prevent a trackers being within 1 metre of that wall?

Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Graeme,
The defenders could set up a wall 20 metres away but it's unlikely they would do so. As far as I can tell, it would pretty much defeat the whole purpose of having a wall in the first place, which is to get as close to the kick as allowed under the law, so as to block the kick or force the kicker to modify the speed and trajectory of their kick to get the ball over or round the wall. The further away the wall is, the less modification the kicker has to make to their kick. The defenders are hardly likely to do something that actually makes the kicker's job easier.

There's also the point that the further the wall is away from the kick, the more players would have to be in it, to provide the same amount of coverage. This is due to the principle commonly known in football as 'narrowing the angle.' And the more players you have in the wall, the more opponents are left unmarked.

Also, if the wall were 20 metres away, the attacking team probably wouldn't want to be close to it anyway - once again there'd be no point to it.

So all in all, while the law would not prevent it, I see little likelihood of this happening,

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Grahame ,
it is a valid point.
Tactically the players adapt to the law changes.
The LOTG do state a MINIMUM of 10 yards which implies the wall can be further, Defenders will NOT want that because if it IS further the attackers have an easier time to get the ball up and over the wall
The referee will ultimately decide where that wall is to be set up but it is not without thought that the attackers could set a wall at 9 yards ensuring the defenders set theirs at ten. Attackers use their wall to block the sight of the defenders or screen an off the ball pass it can simply force the referee to really make sure the wall is at ten not 8 or 9 but it can aggravate him as well The idea of keeping the wall separate was to stop the constant pushing at the set up. When I had defenders giving me grief at forming walls I use to pace off very large steps and be MORE than 10, they learned to follow my direction quick enough.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Graeme
It makes no difference where the wall is and it is up to the defending team to decide the location of the wall.
The Laws state ** Where three or more defending team players form a ‘wall’, all attacking team players must remain at least 1 m (1 yd) from the ‘wall’ until the ball is in play.**
The law is to prevent shenanigans in the wall between attackers and defenders.
If a team want to set up the wall back further than the minimum 10 yards then so be it. No attacker can be within 1 yard if there are three defenders in the wall wherever it is.

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