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Question Number: 34419

Law 17 - The Corner Kick 11/15/2021

RE: Competitive Under 15

Gary Robinson of Draper, UT USA asks...

I had a situation in my last game of the fall season that I'm still mulling over and questioning. I was the center and awarded the Blue team a corner kick. Blue #1 grabbed the ball and set it near the corner flag for the kick. I was focusing mostly on the penalty box as there was some aggressive jostling for position. Blue coach yelled "Blue #2, you take the corner!" Blue #2 ran over and immediately dribbled the ball towards the penalty area. I blew my whistle and indicated an IDFK coming out for green due to a double touch. Blue coach became upset and yelled, "SIR, YOUR SCREWED UP OUR PLAY!" I ran over to my AR who was on the same side of the field as the corner and asked him if Blue #1 had played the ball. He felt she had "..tapped the ball with her foot and rocked it slightly." Since I hadn't seen that, but trusted this AR, I allowed the Blue team to retake the corner kick. The second attempt didn't come to anything, but they ended up winning the match by 2 goals, so all was forgotten in the end.

I can't stop thinking about his situation and how could I have handled it better. First, Law 17 states the ball is in play when it is "kicked and clearly moves" which I've always understood to be a full rotation of the ball and the ball leaves its original resting place. Based on this understanding, was the double touch the correct call since Blue #1 didn't put the ball legally into play? Second, under Law 12, could the coach be guilty of verbally distracting an opponent? His act of calling over the second player was clearly part of the trick play routine. If he is in violation, is he shown a YC and it's an IDFK coming out for the Green team?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Gary
This trick play been around for a good many years now and it still comes up.
To me the shout by the coach for Blue#2 to take the kick may have been part of the ruse.

A few certainties
1. The ball does not have to move a rotation to be in play. It is in play when it is kicked and clearly moves. Tapped and rocks is unlikely to be seen as *clearly moves* by a referee from distance.
2. Teams are allowed a certain element of guile, trickery at restarts which includes feinting etc.

If the kick is clearly seen with the ball moving and there is no verbal deception then play continues provided the ball is clearly seen to be put into play correctly as per Law 17. Rarely if ever would a player dribble the ball off on a corner kick so the double touch IDFK is a highly unlikely event.
Was the coach guilty of verbal deception? Coaches obviously are allowed to convey tactical information including advice on who should take a restart. Did this shout merit a caution? I don't believe it does as the referee has to be certain that it was an offence.

Have a look at this video
The ball is clearly kicked and put into play. I’m not sure if there was any verbal distraction?
The referee allowed play to continue.
Here is one that was not allowed
Darren Cann who was an assistant at FIFA level and who officiated in a World Cup final flagged for an incorrectly taken corner kick. Some say that it was perfectly legal. Did he opine that the kick was not taken correctly in that the ball was never at rest? Did he miss the Rooney kick?

Now *verbals* can have a connotations of unsporting certainly after the ball is in play. I personally never allowed this ruse as I never seen it working without verbals after the ball was in play. I dealt with it when it happened by whistling play to stop and asking for the kick to be *taken* to my satisfaction every single time. I personally never had a problem with that approach and most times I was distracted anyway by events around the penalty area anyway so if I did not see the kick taken correctly it was always a retake. Kicks can only happen when the referee is ready for the game to proceed.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Gary,

Thanks for your quesion.

Around 25 years ago the LOTG required the ball to roll its circumference at a restart, then it was replaced with 'kicked and moves'.

Does 'wobbling on the spot' count as moving? What about the fact that the law was slightly amended to 'kicked and clearly moves'? Personally I've never understood what that amendment meant...But either way, the LOTG haven't specified that the ball needs to move off its starting location.

Whether 'tapped and wobbles' or 'tapped and rolls a little' is the requirement is up to debate amongst referees, but I would argue that if the LOTG required the ball to move off the spot, they'd say so. My view is that if I can see it moving - even if it's on the spot - then that's fine. If I'm not sure, then it didn't 'clearly move' and the first touch didn't put it back into play.

Stating "you take it" - is that really verbal deception? After all, isn't that exactly what is happening? Saying 'you take the kick' would be verbal deception and an offence - but I think 'you take it' is fine.

Now, as to what could have been done better - first thing that comes to mind here is to trust your AR. If there was a CK offence such as a clear double touch, then your AR should be flagging it. If your AR didn't flag it, then that suggests your AR was at least somewhat satisfied that the first player's touch made the ball move so it's at least arguably legal.

And a good AR will even be aware of where you're looking and will know when something has occurred outside of your field of vision and will step up their assistance appropriately. If your AR is inexperienced and you don't want to put that level of trust in them, then consider how you can manage such incidents yourself - for instance, by keeping both the players and ball in your view.

Second - could your positioning have been improved? Ideally you want to keep the ball in your vision here (this reinforces my first point - if you're going to put the ball out of your field of view, then you need to trust that your AR will cover it. Unfortunately what happened here is that you neither had the ball in your view, nor trusted your AR). You did the right thing by focusing on the players - but if they require particular focus, then maybe start moving wider. If you're central then you are probably forced to choose between players and the ball - so instead, move to your left, around the corner of the PA, so you're keeping both an angle on the potential incident, and keeping your referee-ball-AR triangle and having the ball in your FOV. Of course, perhaps the players are jostling in such a way that central actually gives you the best view - in that case, if you've given up view of the ball, then managing that is now your ARs responsibility.

If a goal is scored (or there's a PK) and players appeal - sure, run over and have a quick chat to your AR anyway if you feel its appropriate.

If you've missed something, then the first thing you should question is your positioning and whether that could be improved.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Gary,
ahh yes the old misdirection corner kick to fool the enemy opposition cleverly designed by a tactical genius coach who feels unjustly thwarted when the referee says retake the damn thing or offers the INDFK out! Sigh

The LOTG requested the ball be visibly kicked and moved.
Personally, a tap step wobble that slightly compresses the ball if I can plainly see it as the opposition reacts to it, there is no valid reason to intervene if both teams are accepting things as normal. What I WILL not accept as referee is the foot drag where the foot remains on the ball and is rolled to one spot to another then they step away claiming it was kicked when it was moving from spot to spot as if repositioning it.

A referee should not be forced to GUESS!

Nor should coaches be using verbal deceptions to say let John take it after Tom taps the ball in the arc. Nor can they come up to you and whisper in your ear their masterful plan. You are a NEUTRAL official.

There is also the unassailable fact that corner kicks and most free kicks are mostly controlled whistle restarts now DUE to the BS in the PA prior to the kicks. Hence the referee should have a CLEAR look at the corner and in the preparations to allow it, a clear idea if it is being played into active status once he blows the whistle.

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