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Question Number: 33931

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 4/13/2020

Petr of Prague, Czech Republic Czech Republic asks...


I have two 'ceremonial kick' situations and few short questions, please.

Situation 1:

Defender A from the wall moves towards the kicker before the ball is in play. None of the defending team hits this ball.

Is the kick repeated? Is it necessary to punish defender A with a yellow card?

Situation 2:

Defender A from the wall moves towards the kicker before the ball is in play. Defender B doesn't break the rule. Defender B touches this ball.

Is the kick repeated? Is it necessary to punish defender A with a yellow card?

I wonder how you manage free kicks right on the pitch.

When do you repeat the kick? When do you give the yellow card?

Thank you very much!

Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Petr,

First off, I'll mention that I've always been of the opinion that if a kick is retaken due to encroachment then a caution must be issued. I've always seen the caution offence of 'failing to respect the required distance' as a mandatory caution - if you as the referee determine that encroachment has occurred sufficient enough to order a retake, then it's a caution. However, this isn't explicitly stated in the laws and I can see that ref McHugh has a different view there.

1) It's a tricky scenario, but I'd say it depends on how severe the encroachment is. If it's just a couple of steps then you could let it slide - but it might be worth just having a quiet word with the player as you run alongside them.
If they've closed down a lot of the distance then you need to consider that it has potentially impacted the player even without directly touching the ball as the player sees this defender closing down the angle and may try to adjust the kick during the runup as a result.
I've seen defenders close down half the distance or more before the kick only to have the referee do nothing because the ball wasn't touched - in my opinion this is wrong, but it's a result of the pressure on referees to 'not interfere when not absolutely needed'. I think at this point, even without clearly having an impact, the offence is blatant enough to warrant intervention.

2) Again, I think my tolerance level may be slightly higher than if the encroaching player was the one who was struck, but it would be a lot lower than the first case. So, a step or two I might let it slide, but anything more than that and I don't think you have a choice. A retake and card here will be an easier sell too as the players are more likely to be expecting a card (well, one team will be, of course!)

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Petr
Each situation will be different.
Q1 Let us say that the kick sails towards goal as intended and the encroachment has no effect most referees would let it slide. On a rank bad kick that goes high and wide with defender A having no effect on the kick then most referees would not go with a retake either even if it was a step or two.
Q2 This one is not so easy as it will look like the encroachment did in fact have an effect as one could argue that the kicker perhaps tried to avoid A and it hit B as a result. Also the extent of the encroachment by A will also having a bearing. If it was a step many referees would let it slide whereas blatant encroachment would be punished with a retake.
As to the sanction that is a matter for the referee to decide on and each referee will have his tolerance level. My approach is to only punish blatant cynical encroachment with a card whereas an over exuberant step forward and jump may be adequately punished by a retake. If a referee goes with a caution so be it.
IFAB decided recently that on encroachment at a penalty kick by a goalkeeper should be sanctioned with a retake only and that a repeat would be a yellow card. That is common sense for me and a welcome change and the policy could be easily applied to the free kick.
The one I have little sympathy for is the QFK where a defender blatantly comes forward to block the kick being taken or intercepts the kick through encroachment. Those type of encroachments deserves a caution.

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