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Question Number: 34422

Law 17 - The Corner Kick 11/17/2021

RE: All Other

Derek of Cary, IL USA asks...

This question is a follow up to question 34419

I am curious how much leeway is given in this situation. If the ball is judged to be in play by a sleight of foot trick, legally the defenders can steal the ball and run away with it. But no defender is going to risk getting cautioned for FRD or DRP just because he is not deceived by the trick play.
Would it be wrong to allow this if it happens, but also allow a more "traditional" corner kick if the team performing this trick backs out (i.e. returns the ball to the corner arc)? I feel like this trickery can give all the advantage to the attacking if it is done properly, the defense can only watch, and the referee is powerless to intervene.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Derek
That is a good point and one that needs to be considered carefully by a referee.
Context is everything and if a defender is of the opinion that the ball is in play then a referee has to consider if that is the case or not depending on the circumstances.

I certainly would urge referees not to caution in dubious restart situations where there is a strong possibility of a potential ruse. If there is a change of plan then the referee has to consider whether the ball is legally in play and to allow the defending team to continue or if it should be a retake.

I certainly think that the delaying the restart caution would be questionable if the attacking team has walked away from the ball and if a defender goes forward to what he perceives to be a genuine restart that the failing to maintain the required distance would also be highly questionable.

It is for these reasons I don't like these ruses as it has the potential to create a situation that can cause match control problems. When I was ever in doubt I simply went on the whistle and asked for the kick to be taken *again* or in my opinion for the first time.
Teams might not have liked it yet it tidied up the situation for me with a restart in the way that is expected in the game.

I recall in a game where I felt that the ball may have been put into play but I wasn't sure. There was also shenanigans between players in or around the goal area so before the second player got to the ball I whistled that I wanted to speak to the adversaries which I did and then I asked for the corner to be taken. In some ways I could also claim that I was duped by the ruse hence my intervention which would be normal at some corner kicks.
It also highlight the fact if the ball is in play then offences can and should be punished accordingly including pushing, pulling, charging etc. A team would not be best pleased if a referee gave a free kick out for a push that he sees after the ball is in play at a ruse.

Back in 2010 a goal was awarded in a Liverpool v Sunderland game
Sunderland claimed that it was not a *proper* restart and that all the defender was doing was tapping it for the goalkeeper to come and kick it. The only person who really knows was the defender and if it was a restart that went *wrong*. The Liverpool player is seen looking at the referee who did nothing other than allow play to continue. While it was ruled *correct* by the referee body I personally think that the *best* decision would have been to have got on the whistle and restarted as intended. All it did was create controversy which ran on for weeks afterward. Good for the media yet had the referee asked for the kick to be taken *again* it would have been a nothing event. I even doubt Liverpool would have complained about that. I suspect the referee would say that the ball was placed in the correct location and that there was a deliberate kick of the ball. He is seen running away sort of looking back. Did he see it as a miskick? While he may have been correct, in my humble opinion it was not the *best* decision for the game. Limited or uncontested contest tap ins don't sit well with me.
I'm not allowing that at any time. Sure where the contest in that??

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Derek,
a referee should be crystal CLEAR as to whether the ball is in play, there should be no guess work! If an astute defender realized what the attackers were up too and capitalized on the information as long as there was no obvious disrespect of distance or attempt to delay & the officials were of a clear opinion that the ball is in play, that perhaps allowing play to continue might apply with no reason to caution then play continues as the attackers try to scream how unfair they were thwarted in their nefarious plan. Think on it, the referee should see the SAME thing as the defender to be convinced, because as you pointed out the distance and delay are cautionable actions and could deter defenders from acting on instinct.

As a neutral official what we like or do not like is not as big a factor as is it in the interest of the match to intervene or not intervene? I rarely get involved if BOTH teams are fundementally in agreement that the restart was acceptable even if I thought it sketchy . ONLY if there is a need to make a point to set the bar or a USB misconduct that can not be ignored . As we often whistle in restarts for corner kicks due to the PA wrestling show, often such a tactic will not be seen or recognized as fair or correct even if it might be.
Much like my colleague, I subscribe to the take it again for the 1st time, rather than speculate on what just transpired if you did not see or were not aware?

I will say this, IF the ruse of the slight tap wiggle IS permitted to be used expect every single touch from then on to be considered as putting the ball in play no matter what the circumstances.

IF a ball is PLACED in the ground by hand then a foot is placed on top to roll it to another point or if the foot is on the ball as it is retreived via a pass or dribble and rolled around after it was stopped to reposition, a take away of the foot is NOT the restart in MY opinion because it was never kicked into play, just positioned to be in play .

You CAN place your foot down on the ball and stomp it or sole roll the ball so the ball visibally moves from a to b in a clearly defined kicking motion as seperate motions and if you as referee want or feel the need to be anal, you can point out that you need to see it visably move, not have to guess if it was!


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