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Question Number: 34582

League Specific 5/1/2022

RE: Rec Under 17

Leonard Jenkins of Middle Island, NY United States asks...

A corner kick is awarded. A player from the attacking team places the ball within the corner arc with his hands and then seems to reposition the ball with his foot moving it a negligible amount (but it is not in the same spot it was prior to the touch by the foot). He then calls out to a teammate “you want to take it?” The teammate says “Yep” and comes into the corner while the original player moves towards the PA. Upon arrival at the corner the new taker starts to dribble the ball out. I blow the whistle to indicate a 2nd touch offense, but the 1st taker objects stating that what I saw as repositioning prior to the kick, was the first kick and therefore the 2nd player faced no 2nd touch restriction. I held firm and advised that asking the teammate to take the kick was an indication to me and the defenders that the ball was not in play and if it was done to verbally distract the opponent would be a cautionable offence. Having made my point I kept the card in my pocket and restarted with IFK for the defenders.

Is this approach consistent with the meaning of Unsporting behavior?

Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Leonard,

Ah, the old 'trick corner'. It's an annoying one, and we don't have explicit guidance here.

There are 2 issues here. The first the simplest - is that the ball is in play when it is kicked and clearly moves. Is it clear that he kicked it and did the ball clearly move? There's no minimum distance here - it's a judgement call - but it sounds like you have some doubt there. If so, it's reasonable to say that you don't believe the ball is yet in play, so IFK is correct. If we can resolve it with that consideration, it removes all talk about the trick corner.

The second issue takes us to the trick corner. For a lot of referees, it's the verbal deception that causes the issue and makes the trick corner unsporting - so in that instance, yes, some referees would issue the card. Bear in mind that usually the first touch does knock it out of the arc, so in that instance you can't really claim the first touch didn't put it into play - and it can't be a 'double touch' infringement by the 2nd player if the first couldn't be legally putting it into play.

A trick corner where the ball hasn't even left the arc? I actually prefer the fact that you didn't use a card. I tend to think a card here is pretty harsh - depending what happens, we may have no choice, but I think losing the corner to a free kick is punishment enough.

It may have been possible to take on a more pro-active approach. See the possible trick corner and the 2nd player running over, but the 'trick' either didn't put the ball into play, or it's entering possible USB-territory? Well, why not feign ignorance - as the 2nd player is running over, give a quick toot of the whistle and "let's go!" like you're hurrying up the corner. Now, they have no choice but to restart the entire process and all controversy has been avoided.

I actually think that when you do find yourself in a situation where you're not sure if a kick has been taken or not (eg when there's a couple of positioning touches), sometimes it helps to just blow the whistle and start from scratch.

You can also run past the initial 'kicker' and quickly tell him to "you need to keep the verbal deception out of the trick corners or you might cop a card".

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Leonard
Thanks for the question. This was asked recently in Question #34554.

Anyway I'm glad it did not work. How is a referee supposed to know that a corner kick has been kicked and moved when it looks like maybe at best a repositioning of the ball with a foot and a shout of " You want to take it". As you said to the player the words used suggest that the kick was NOT taken.
More difficult one is the ball that leaves the arc as then there cannot be a double touch infringement by the 2nd player. Like Referee Wright's approach I too would find a way to tidy this up with a whistle so that the corner kick has to be taken "properly" in those situations.

As to the sanction I would have no difficulty with the IDFK double touch decision in this instance and no card.

As to the no card for the verbal deception I would have no real difficulty with that decision. The game is littered with no card situations on questionable USB so I would believe that the IDFK is probably sufficient sanction. It gets more difficult when there is no possible 2nd touch violation as the 2nd player has not taken the kick correctly so it has to be a retake or a caution and an IDFK restart. As I said I personally whistle before it all happens and ask for the kick to be taken when I'm ready,

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Leonard,
You were more than fair in JUST awarding the INDFK in favor of the defence for a 2nd touch violation! The verbal action has indeed placed it within the boundaries of such a call being USB and if a caution was deemed necessary with a yellow card shown that could have been perfectly correct!! The degree of culpability is interesting in depending in who says or uses the phrase that constitutes verbal deception? IE... "Here you take it not him or me? Then the timing of the, KICK, that in theory has ACTUALLY put the ball into play? "If a Coach yells it out versus a Player on the FOP? Has the misconduct occurred THEN before the restart if the COACH off the FOP does it before the 1st player has PUT that ball into play with a mini kick? As a referee do you step in as soon as they SAY it or AFTER that when the 2nd player kicks it a 2nd time dribbling out of the corner? Remember a caution for an event BEFORE the restart, the restart should remain the same! Yet in, this case is it NOT USB until they dribble?

As I mentioned in an earlier format the referee has to be accepting of the fact the ball WAS purposefully kicked and moved. If the referee has any doubts, then it was not! While you can KICK the ball with the bottom of the shoe, a sole roll if you keep your foot on the ball and simply drag it with your foot from one spot to another then take your foot away and the ball STAYS there, that is, in my opinion, NOT A kick! I better see that ball clearly continue moving in a discernible fashion once you take foot off the ball so I KNOW 100% it was kicked, NOT just repositioned! If you allow these type of miniscule movements to put a ball into pay then best prepare at every free-kick to be rushed by the opposition as a player , ahem, repositions the ball in ANY manner! Given I am usually in the midst of separating the foolishness inside the PA area and likely wanted to restart with a whistle anyway so not a real issue for me very often. Think on it as well, a DEFENDER who rushes in can be cautioned for failure to respect the distance or delay a restart so again subterfuge is not a good option if we can not be SURE what is going on!

In my 45-plus years on the FOP, I have one incident I can recall where a corner kick was taken in a SIMILAR manner but the TWO main differences were the two players had already taken two corners and each time they exchanged places as PLAYER A set the ball in its place in or within the ARC as PLAYER B came up and kicked it into the PA area. Each time PLAYER A simply high-fived Player B on the way by. On the third time, Player A set the ball deep in the CORNER arc & as he ran out towards PLAYER B, he dragged his foot over the top of the ball where it CLEARLY rolled through and almost outside of the arc. I noticed no high 5 and I was aware that Player A was looking right at me instead, it dawned on me that the ball had been discernibly kicked. They had set a pattern that I think lulled the defenders into a false sense of awareness so they were visibly surprised as Player B began dribbling the ball towards the PA. Now they did get a pretty good shot off but I saw NOTHING immoral or USB in their actions. No verbal deception and there was no doubt the ball, AFTER it was placed, rolled a good yard. No verbal oops! as if faking a mistake or a verbal, "You take it!," just no active high 5 which I took as a this a signal to their team they were going to try this deception. Now IF they HAD approached me and told me they were going to do this I would not have permitted it because then they would be guilty of compromising my neutrality! I guess they could legally ask in the pregame, " What do you require in a free-kick to see the ball as in play, just that it is clearly kicked and moved? Do you apply all the LOTG? That is pretty innocuous unlike stating a redundant we have some pretty tricky plays we hope you are paying attention to which I might reply out loud so the other team can HEAR. I always pay attention, whether you have tricky plays or not!

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