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Question Number: 34416

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 11/12/2021

RE: 7 Adult

Ray Sharman of Leicestershire, England asks...

This question is a follow up to question 34412

As very often happens the manager tells his forwards to go stand on the goalkeeper at a corner so as soon as the kick is taken are they impeading the goalkeeper?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Ray
Thanks for the question.

Players are allowed to stand where they wish at a corner kick and if they do not move then there is no offence.

The answer depends on what the attacker does in front of the goalkeeper and whether the player does nothing other than just stand in his starting location, whether he attempts to move to play the ball or he simply steps into the way of the goalkeeper which is seen as a holding foul.

As a referee I always watched the player closely and if I felt the players movement had only one intention which was to thwart the movement of the goalkeeper it got called as a foul. Many times that first call stopped the attacking team from doing it again as they seen it as a waste of corner kick.

In the recent Liverpool v West Ham game Liverpool felt that the forward's action in front of the Liverpool goalkeeper was a foul yet it was not given even after a VAR review. Perhaps another referee might have given it?

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Ray,
the theory that a player is entitled to stand their ground at the start of play has some interesting developements when tactically attackers try to game the keeper by goading him or her into a pushing actions to get around them. You are in my opinion 100% correct, they are in fact trying to impede the keeper by blocking his line of sight and restricting the movements. An astute referee should simply watch and it they react to shadowing the keeper, whistle play dead, call for a DFK out as soon as the ball is kicked into the air. I had a group of 4 attacker who used to surround the keeper then play, he pushed me to get out of the way card to which I laughed awarded a DFK out and suggested they not use that tactic unless they wanted to waste their corner opportuities. Not being attached to the elite matches as a grounded grassroots referee I know BS when I see it! It might not hurt the elite crews to not put up with BS at the top either!

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Ray,
We seem to have had a few questions about impeding recently and as mentioned in some of the previous responses, actually occurrences of the offence of impeding are exceedingly rare. For it to occur, there has to be no physical contact. In 99.9% of cases, the players involved come into contact with each other. So it then become a question of whether there is a holding or pushing foul (or not, as the case may be). So obviously, it's a judgement call for the referee in the game to make. Not every bit of contact between players needs to be called.

Having said that, I agree with ref Dawson that all too often, teams will put one or more players around the goalkeeper with no other purpose in mind than to prevent the keeper from reaching the ball once the kick is taken. When this happens and when the inevitable contact occurs as the keeper tries to reach the ball and is blocked I think the foul should be called almost immediately at that point and I find it unfortunate that all too often it is not.

Again, it was mentioned in response to a previous question but the law provides the following advice to referees in the "Guidelines for match officials" section:

"Referees are reminded to make an early intervention and to deal firmly with holding offences, especially inside the penalty area at corner kicks and free kicks. To deal with these situations:

- the referee must warn any player holding an opponent before the ball is in play

- caution the player if the holding continues before the ball is in play

- award a direct free kick or penalty kick and caution the player if it happens once the ball is in play"

I have to say I cannot recall ever having seen a referee caution a player for holding before the ball is in play, after having already warned them but I sometimes wish that they would.

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