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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 34874

Law 13 - Free Kicks 2/12/2023

RE: Adult

James of London , England asks...

If a free kick is awarded and the defence won't go back 10 yards , can the referee bring the ball ,10 yards forward so the wall then moves back another 10 yards

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi James
No that is not possible. The free kick is taken from where the offence took place and any failure to retreat the required 10 yards on the instruction of a referee can and should result in a caution for any player that fails to move back the required distance.

Back in 2001/2002 the FA asked IFAB the law making body if it could trial a rule of free kicks being moved 10 yards forward in situations of dissent. The trial appeared to work well yet there were a few issues such as the dissent also had to be yellow carded plus some teams used it to get the free kick on the 18 yard line which the made the kick became more difficult due to the fact of getting the ball up and over the wall from close range. It was subsequently abandoned and it never made it into the law book.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi James,

No, this is not currently possible. As my colleague ref McHugh points out, there was a time in the early 2000's when the IFAB allowed some experiments into this to be conducted by the English FA but for whatever reason (possibly including the factors mentioned by my colleague although no official, written explanation was ever given) the trials were discontinued and the proposed amendment was abandoned in 2004.

So if a team is showing a reluctance to retreat the required distance, the referee must intervene and persuade them to do so. If verbal persuasion is not enough then the referee has cards at their disposal that they can use to further encourage compliance.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi James
The restart location is based on WHERE the infraction occurs during active play and is defined in the LOTG .

While it might not be a blade of grass restart it still must be in the vicinity where it occurred.
On free kicks where additional shenanigans occur forcing cards or retakes.

As mentioned the trial of moving free kicks locations is not one that was accepted and as such the only recourse a referee has in setting the wall is to perhaps push the limits of what the law actually says!

It says the defending team must withdraw at "LEAST" 9.15 m (10 yds). I emphasize that least when setting up a ceremonial free kick. Placing that wall at 11 or 12 yards by taking some larger strides is NOT against the LOTG, the difficulty is you can create conditions for dissent

Note the use of foam was brought into the game to stop the free kick from inching forward and made it easy to define where the wall could stand.

If I get belligerent defenders where I an forced to stride off ten paces and I can guarantee that wall is at the very minimum 10 yards!

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