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Question Number: 14897

Mechanics 2/25/2007

RE: Rec Adult

Aero of VB, West Virginia US asks...

This question is a follow up to question 9019

What is the explanation to EUFAS ruling on Lile's protest to MANU's quickly taken freekick?

Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

Free kicks are just that, free. Unless the kicking team requests the ref's assistance in managing the wall, or unless the ref needs to hold up the kick for some other reason (for example, to caution a player), the kicking team is free to take the kick once the ball is properly positioned.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Areo,
the point of law here is nothing about the kick was wrong. Technically everything about it was correct and Lille's complaint has no basis, as no law was misapplied. Not only was their complaint dismissed, EUFA is considering punitive action for the manner in which LIlle protested during the match.

The point we consider as referees is whether we find inconsistancies in the mechanics and conduct of the referee which could confuse or decieve Lille simply because of the expectations that the free kick could be ceremonial given past history and proceedures!

First off it is a weak argument that a referee talking to either team or near the point of a foul to dispell retailiation, ensure proper placement of the ball or ensure the ten yards is respected MEANS we MUST ceremonial restart with a whistle. While the attacking team has the every right to resume play it is only at the DISCRESTION of the referee to allow the restart when he is ready for it to begin!

The defending team has NO rights, NO influence, NO say! Once a referee blows play dead and signals the DIRECTION of the restart the defending team must back off a minimum 10 yards from the point of the infraction to allow play to get underway! Referees who allow the defenders to delay the restart by staying in and around the ball or slowly walking across the possible pass avenues are NOT doing their job in my opinion unless they caution those whom are deliberately trying to buy time for their teammates to regroup and redeploy behind the ball.

Why we dwell on mechanics is the clarity of each situation while at most times is black and white may at times be unclear or dubious and emotions running high It takes a few moments for players to realize the foul is not in their favour looking at the arm direction of the referee and withdrawing to the 10 yard distance takes a few moments as well!
That is why if an attacking team decide to restart quickly it is a RISK if they put the ball into play and the ball hits an opponent who was closer than the 10 yards.

Note this law 13
If, when a free kick is taken, an opponent is closer to the ball than the required distance:
the kick is retaken.

NOW follow the logic to the FIFA q&A
8. A free kick is awarded and the player decides to take the kick quickly. An opponent who is less than 9.15 m. from the ball intercepts it. What action does the referee take?
He allows play to continue.
Why? Because the defender recieving a ball up his backside as he is complying with the law is not at fault!

9. A free kick is awarded and the player decides to take the kick quickly. An opponent who is near the ball deliberately prevents him taking the kick. What action does the referee take?
The player is cautioned and shown a yellow card for delaying the
restart of play.
Why ? Because the defender was not complying with the law and cut across or moved towards the ball to delay the restart before it was kicked or as it was being kicked

A referee who wants a ceremonial restart or feels compelled maybe directly tied to how the free kick occurred (possible cards to be shown as there is additional misconduct) or is unfolding ( the ball is not at the point of the infringment defenders are moving towards the ball so both teams are failing to abide by restart proceedures) A referee reblows the whistle several harsh blasts no no no lets get this right! caution or send off completed, 10 yards and the right spot! Ok now I am ready!

WE are picky about the spot of the infraction the closer it gets into a scoring position so in the LIlle match the referee moved in towards the spot as the ball was not there. Remember the ball was cleared out of play after the foul on Saha and the wait for the new ball to come back in made a quickly taken free kick impossible. IT was THIS DELAY I think that created the impression in the LILLE defenders it would be a whistled restart simply because the concept most people have of a quick free kick is it occurs immediately after the whistle. It is not unusual for a referee to restart with a whistle but it is not REQUIRED. I say this over and over UNTIL you as a defender hear and see the referee tell the attacking team to WAIT for the whistle or the referee comes over to you and directly tells you wait for the whistle or do not move until you hear my whistle once in the wall only THEN can you be sure. Just like in boxing protect yourself at all times!

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Answer provided by Referee Keith Contarino

The protest was baseless. The fouled team always has the right to a free kick taken quickly. The only thing in question was if the referee had signalled for a ceremonial restart which he clearly did not. The Lille keeper and others have the mistaken idea that the team committing the foul has a right to set up a wall which is just nonsense. This incident goes to show that even players at the highest levels of play often do not understand basic rules. the team committing a foul has NO rights and they MUST give the 10 yards without being told to. The kicking team may ask the referee to set the wall but the referee must never prevent the fouled team from exercising it's right to take a quick free kick.

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