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Question Number: 34532

Law 13 - Free Kicks 3/14/2022

RE: Adult

Ryan of Phoenix, AZ USA asks...

This question is a follow up to question 34531

Thank you all for the input. Luckily, this was just a Sunday league type of league, just some adults kicking the ball and running around for fun so the score doesn't matter (and the team I took the goal away from "won' anyway). I know about gotcha refereeing, and that truly wasn't my intent. And of course I actively participate in warning players about not committing fouls (like calling out WATCH THE HANDS, managing CK jostling, etc.)

For some reason I just felt that directly preventing a technical offense from occurring, especially from a FK so close to goal, would cross the line into giving tactical advice to one team. I see this happen so rarely. And ironically, the previous weekend, I had the exact same situation in the same league, a defensive wall in the PA, and an attacker was deliberately standing 1-2 yards away and said "look ref I am a yard away, I'm good!"

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Ryan
Thanks for the reply
Doing what is needed to control a game is not imparting tactical advice. Not even close to it. Sure what would you have done if the players were pushing, jostling the attacker in the wall? Prevention is always the best solution in refereeing.

Indeed it is even expected. For example in the law book on holding at a corner kick or free kick referees are advised to warn any player holding an opponent before the ball is in play. That is trying to prevent an offence, a direct free kick offence from happening. Is it really any different from moving a player away from a defensive wall.

So stopping a technical offence from happening at a free kick before the ball is in play is expected rather than seeing it and doing nothing. Anyway its good that you asked and that for the next time on ANY restart there is no problem about intervening before the restart to ensure all is well. If it happens during play then a referee can decide if it impacted on play. If it didn't then it can be ignored.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Ryan,

I think that the key difference is ball in vs out play. Managing something while the ball is out of play - proactive refereeing (and like I said - no different to managing the defenders). Talking a player out of committing a technical offence while the ball is in play could, arguably, be giving them an advantage.

If ball in vs out of play is your line, then I think you're safe.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Ryan,
being aware that as a neutral official you cannot dispense tactical information in ongoing play is essential but wanting a safe, fair and competitive match to be guided to a successful conclusion has game management strategies that permit useful reminders
For example, it would be inappropriate saying, "I would not pick that ball up if I was you!" to a keeper on a deliberately kicked pass by the teammate,
Similarly, to "It is an INDFK, just let the ball directly enter into the goal for a goal kick out!"

However, heading off trouble and ensuring the game continues with a minimum of fuss you certainly can offer some practical management at dead ball situations . You have a degree of latitude in ensuring the "I"s are dotted and the "T"s are crossed to procedurally permitting the game to restart . For example, given the team REQUESTED the 10 yards thus ceremonial in nature you can ensure there are no attackers in that wall BEFORE you indicate to proceed same if setting up a PK. You do not give a whistle or signal to begin if the Keeper is NOT on the goal line or if there are players other than the kicker inside the PA. If you say, "Everyone out of the PA arc" reminding that 10yds are required from the PK spot except the kicker or "Keeper, keep at 1 foot on the goal line are reminders not tactical instructions.

Misconduct of an obtuse nature can be overlooked because if they refused to comply with your stating what the LOTG requires of them ,there are consequences. Be it cards shown for USB to a poor outcome with loss of possession and free kicks for the opposition for doing the unthinkable after warning them to think?

Where it can become tricky is if restarts are taken quickly. The opposition might be compromising the restart yet the attackers bear the consequences for choosing to disregard the protocols in place for the LOTG restarts. A technical aspect is the 2 meters distance on throw is that must be respected but if the player taking the throw-in goes quick or moves up the touchline closer? Even in trying to educate there is a risk. When doing youth, I often remind them "Hands over head, feet on the ground". I personally felt such a comment is hardly a threat but some coaches feel even that is too much given an incorrectly taken throw reverses ball possession.


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