Soccer Referee Resources
Ask a Question
Recent Questions

Previous You-Call-It's

VAR (Video Assistant Referee)

Q&A Quick Search
The Field of Play
The Ball
The Players
The Players Equipment
The Referee
The Other Match Officials
The Duration of the Match
The Start and Restart of Play
The Ball In and Out of Play
Determining the Outcome of a Match
Fouls and Misconduct
Free Kicks
Penalty kick
Throw In
Goal Kick
Corner Kick

Common Sense
Kicks - Penalty Mark
The Technical Area
The Fourth Official
Attitude and Control
League Specific
High School

Common Acronyms
Meet The Ref
Contact AskTheRef
Help Wanted
About AskTheRef

Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

Panel Login

Question Number: 34228

High School 5/21/2021

RE: High School

LD Maya of San Mateo, CA USA asks...

Must a player be cautioned for moving a corner flag? why?

My perception was players must be cautioned, after all Law 17 states "The corner flagpost must not be moved," and Law 12 shows "a player must be cautioned for unsporting behaviour, including if a player: ... makes unauthorised marks on the field of play." The flag is a marking, moving it makes a new marking, so caution?

I seems that the USSF's 2008 Advice to Referees on the Laws of the Game specified "moving or removing a corner flag on a corner kick" as a cautionable offense.

What is your take?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Generally when a player removes a corner flag there is a problem with the flagpole. My experience is that some spring mounted poles lean into the field causing a problem for the kicker.

Personally I would never caution a player for touching or removing a flag when it is done to sort out a problem with the pole. I would simply stop the kick and ask the player to replace the flag pole in the correct position and allow play to continue with the corner kick.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi LD Maya,
if the player grabbed it and jerked it out then threw it in a manner of violence or anger that is likely sanctioned as USB show the yellow card or even VC, red card when used against an opponent. I have seen a player grab the flag that was whippy or bendable and use it as a snapping weapon against an opposing player by grabbing it, pulling it down then releasing it to whip up.

But a card for adjusting it or if it was leaning and thus straightened or pushed back chances are no card just a friendly let's fix this issue.

Read other questions answered by Referee Richard Dawson

View Referee Richard Dawson profile

Answer provided by Referee Joe Manjone


NFHS Rule 1.3 states that the corner flag shall not be removed during the course of play.

Removal of the flag can be considered unnecessary delay which is penalized by a caution to the player that removed the flag.

However, as with most unnecessary delays, the referee can determine if a warning or caution is warranted.

In my experience, I have cautioned players who removed the flag and threw it away from the corner.

However, I have not seen the removal of the corner flag in a high school game for many years. I hope that you seldom experience this action.

I hope that you get to work the upcoming regional high school playoffs.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe Manjone

View Referee Joe Manjone profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 34228
Read other Q & A regarding High School

Soccer Referee Extras

Did you Ask the Ref? Find your answer here.

Enter Question Number

If you received a response regarding a submitted question enter your question number above to find the answer

Offside Question?

Offside Explained by Chuck Fleischer & Richard Dawson, Former & Current Editor of AskTheRef

This web site and the answers to these questions are not sanctioned by or affiliated with any governing body of soccer. The free opinions expressed on this site should not be considered official interpretations of the Laws of the Game and are merely opinions of AskTheRef and our panel members. If you need an official ruling you should contact your state or local representative through your club or league. On AskTheRef your questions are answered by a panel of licensed referees. See Meet The Ref for details about our panel members. While there is no charge for asking the questions, donation to maintain the site are welcomed! <>