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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 34327

Law 16 - The Goal Kick 9/2/2021

RE: competitive Under 19

Jim of trinity, FL US asks...

Goal kicks opponents are to be outside the penalty area but if an opponent is in the pen area and the keeper plays the ball to his teammate is that OK? If not OK does the ref allow play to continue, or have the kick retaken, or something else? Thanks,

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Jim
Law 16 requires all opponents to be outside the penalty area until the goal kick is taken and if an opponent remains inside or enters the penalty area before the kick is taken and plays, challenges for or touches the ball, the goal kick is retaken. So the kicking team can wait until all tne attacking players have moved outside the penalty area. The ball is in play when it is kicked and moves.

However, Law 16 also applies the “quick” free-kick principle. If any opponents are in the penalty areas because they did not have time to leave, the referee allows play to continue once the ball is kicked.
In practical terms, this means that referees should manage goal kicks in the same way as they manage quick free kicks.
If the kick is taken quickly and an opponent genuinely did not have time to leave the penalty area, the opponent may not interfere with or prevent the taking of the kick but may intercept the ball or challenge for it once it is in play. This is allowed because the defending team, as at a quick free kick, tried to benefit by taking the kick quickly and if this *goes pear shaped*, the Law is not there to “*save* them.
Having said that opponents who deliberately remain inside or enter the penalty area before the kick is taken should not benefit from that, even if the kick is taken quickly.

If an opposing player commits an offence, the goal kick is retaken and there is no disciplinary sanction unless the offence occurs a number of times which is persistent infringement.

So in summary referees should look for the opposing team to retreat outside the penalty area and if the opponents are doing that then a quick goal kick allows them to challenge or intercept the ball even if they still happen to be in the penalty area. If however an opponent is making no effort to move out of the penalty area then he should not benefit from that. There can be a fine line between loitering in the penalty area and not having time to move because of the quick goal kick. The referee is the sole judge of that and so far I have not seen any retakes under this amended law other than for the moving ball at the kick.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Jim,
recent changes to the LOTG governing goal kicks saw some weirdness in the defensive actions where short chip passes to & from the keeper with headed back returns were creating some real head-scratching maneuvers forcing some hastily written addendums to calm the irritating actions

The fact that the LOTG STILL provided the security of forcing the opposition to be OUTSIDE the PA created some interesting adaptations to the goal kick given the ball NO LONGER has to travel OUTSIDE the PA to be in play.

This also created short passes and playing the ball out instead of long kicks downfield.

Of course, the opposition, now realizing the goal kick has the same parameters as a free-kick are used to lollygagging about to make things difficult will likely be none too quick to withdraw hoping to ensure their defensive setup precludes any quick counter-attacks.

The fact you can restart a goal kick if the interference is unfair inside the PA and the ball intercepted, one could even see the opposition being guilty of delaying the restart by not withdrawing and making efforts to block outlet passes whilst inside the PA.

If the decision to go ahead with the goal kick is taken and it was a poor decision whereby an opponent inside the PA intercepts then play continues.
A referee should be able to see what is up with the opposition antics and the intelligence of a decision by the defenders to begin play without too much difficulty.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Jim,
Although in many instances this is not necessarily true, I think in this case the wording of the law itself is sufficiently clear and requires no additional clarification. Law 16 states:

"If, when a goal kick is taken, any opponents are inside the penalty area because they did not have time to leave, the referee allows play to continue. If an opponent who is in the penalty area when the goal kick is taken, or enters the penalty area before the ball is in play, touches or challenges for the ball before it is in play, the goal kick is retaken."

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