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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 34520

Law 13 - Free Kicks 3/4/2022

RE: Adult

Trevor Carden of Reading, Berkshire United Kingdom asks...

Why are free kicks taken further forward from where the actual foul was committed? Shouldn't they be taken in the place the foul happened? Too many players take liberties.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Trevor
The Laws of the game state that the free kick should be taken from where the offence occurred. However we know that in certain situations that is not strictly enforced.

One will notice that the strictness increases the nearer to goal while say deep in a teams own half there is a great deal of latitude in the location of the restart. In the Pro game many free kicks end up as a short pass to maintain possession with maybe multiple passes before any progress is made. Location of these free kick in these situations tend to be unimportant. When I have seen referees enforce these strictly the players get somewhat annoyed as very little has been gained if anything in these circumstances.

Just finished watching an EPL game and a free kick was awarded to the defending team team close to the corner flag near the end of the game. An attacker intervened to moved the ball back to the "correct" location and he got cautioned for his intervention. The free kick was taken some ten yards further on from the original location of the first placement of the ball!

So in many ways it has become the accepted norm that the location only becomes strictly enforced in a scoring position. That is enforced for both teams while free kicks elsewhere are not as strictly enforced unless it is so blatantly wrong.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Trevor,
blade of grass restarts tend to be enforced in around scoring opportunities or in cases where it was too blatantly unfair to be allowed.

You might notice that INDFK for offsides can occur a long way away from the involvement back in the defending third but as the fouls and locations move up into the attacking 3rd and near PA locations the focus in where that offence occurred is of greater significance. It kind of similar to a throw in where the player just keeps moving along up the touchline, at times it's no big deal, but on occasion, it could be!

I have seen some interesting free kicks occur well way from the foul location catching defenders unawares. I am of two minds on this one, they FOULED aka cheated to stop the attack now this restart to continue places them in behind the play because the location of the restart occurs 10 yds further upfield does make one go hmmm?
I recall a woman's Canada versus Sweden match where a Canadian did indeed foul a Swedish player just outside the centre circle in the Canadian mid 3rd part of the field . That initial foul did stop that very promising attack which could have resulted in a score as well. The referee did not show a caution allowing Sweden to restart quickly some 12 yds upfield and to the right as that was where the ball ended up leaving 3 Canadian defenders mulling about 5 yds in behind , waiting 8 to 10 yds from the actual foul location. Sweden went on to score a goal and it did leave a bitter taste. Personally I though the referee should not have blown the whistle but signalled for advantage. Yet play was stopped as the whistle blew and restarted with a dead ball on a free kick just not exactly where the foul occurred. Its funny is it not, that defenders will circle about to disrupt a free kick thinking its ok yet get upset when the free kick occurs where that can not be done as easily. lol

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