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Question Number: 20996

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 3/17/2009

RE: Competitive Under 13

Glen of Littleton, CO USA asks...

This question is a follow up to question 20976

As a follow-up to #20976. So I understand the correct ruling it is not a foul to bump, push, harass the goalie prior to the ball being struck on a corner kick but it is once the ball is struck? A player could do the above and then step away once he/she sees their teammate about to hit the corner? Is there a rule about contact prior to the ball being placed in play or is it considered bad form? I may be asking about a fine line but I'd like to fully understand the rule since there are teams that push limits, especially with younger referees...
Thanks again!

Answer provided by Referee Keith Contarino

No! I must have been incredibly obtuse in my answer for you to think this. If an opponent does any of those things BEFORE the ball is kicked, they are punished as misconduct. If they do any of those things AFTER the ball is kicked they are punished as fouls. Sorry for not being more clear.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Any actions taken by a player against an opposing player PRIOR to the ball being put into play are ONLY Misconduct!

A *foul* requires the action to occur ON the field, by a PLAYER, while the ball is IN play (after the corner kick is kicked in this case) and is against an OPPOSING player.

If a keeper is targeted by the opposition PRIOR to the taking of the corner kick in an effort to impede or deny him access to the ball perhaps forcing him off his line or take a poor position they have very limited options to do so without falling into MISCONDUCT!.

There CERTAINLY can be NO obvious PHYSICAL contact!

FAILURE by the referee to deal with unfair attacking tactics creates retaliatory or retribution actions as the keeper will be frustrated if unfairly hindered while the referee does NOTHING about it!

If the keeper is say standing on his goal line at the far post and the opposing tall player sets himself directly in front to block the keeper's line of sight on the incoming corner, this is a legal tactic to force the keeper to move as players are entitled to stand on the field!

So if our keeper, frustrated at not being able to clearly see decides, 'Hmmm I better move.", and comes off the line to move around the blocking attacker.
So far everything is fine!
What the keeper MUST NOT DO is PUSH or STRIKE that attacker in the back just because he is there. If this occurs then the keeper is guilty of misconduct prior to the free kick being taken!

If the keeper comes off the line to move around the blocking attacker and that attacker MIRRORS the keeper's movements, trying to maintain that impeding action PRIOR to the corner being taken this is a form of USB misconduct!
The attacker should be told to stop and if he persists in such action could be cautioned.
If there was ANY physical bumping and pushing this again is additional misconduct and thus even a greater need for a referee to intervene quickly to stop a retaliation.

If this attacker is impeding WHEN the ball IS struck into play, the whistle sounds for an INDFK out as the attacker has NOT played the ball. The attacker has only tried to block the keeper's line of sight or path to the ball. Thus a wasted corner kick with a loss of ball possession

Any referee of more than a few matches KNOWS that within the scrum of a corner kick, opposing players will clutch and grab as they jockey for position.
Even as I say a referee COULD view these antics in a trifling or doubtful role as to impact or deemed acceptable by the players as FAIR at both ends of the field.
It REMAINS in the opinion of the referee!
The referee COULD warn to desist and even CAUTION show the yellow card for prolonged or flagrant physical or verbal USB actions. If this misconduct behavior occurs prior to the ball in play the corner kick STILL must occur!
FOUL/MISCONDUCT recognition is as much art as science and while smart referees learn from their mistakes as wise referees learn from the smart referees, it still takes time to build up the experience to make good calls on a continuious basis. Youth referees, even those eager to do good, still require TIME, mentoring and training to reach that plateau!

If the referee fails to or decides NOT to caution the BEFORE corner kick MISCONDUCT that is his choice. However, AFTER the ball is now in play if these unfair tactics continue they are no longer just misconduct they could be a FOUL and thus a whistle to stop play restart accordingly and IF those foul actions are cautionable or send offable show the necessary card(s)


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Answer provided by Referee Michelle Maloney

A foul must occur on the field of play, between opponents, while the ball is in play. If any of those three are missing, there is no foul. Before the corner is taken, the ball is out of play and thus no foul can be awarded.

There are 10 DFK offenses and 8 IDFK offenses in Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct. There are 7 reasons for a caution and 7 for a sending off.

Misconduct can occur when the ball is out of play, unlike a foul. If an attacking player on a corner is messing with the goalkeeper and refuses to heed the warning of the referee, the referee can halt the taking of the corner and punish the player. The restart is still a corner.

Why we sometimes wait until the ball is in play from the corner is because it allows us to award the restart to the goalkeeper's team, and if necessary also administer the misconduct card. This does a better job, generally speaking, of stopping the tactic from recurring, since the end result is the attacking team loses the ball as soon as it is kicked.

It's hard to score a goal when it isn't your ball, especially when you're messing with the opponent's keeper. I do wish more referees would keep an eye on this kind of shenanigan.

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Answer provided by Referee Chuck Fleischer

Glen, Law 12 discusses fouls and misconduct. The first type offence can only happen whilst the ball is in play, on the field, is committed by a player and is against an opponent. Prior to the corner kick being taken the ball is not in play so kicking, jumping, tripping, charging, striking, pushing, tackling, holding and spitting can not be considered as a reason to stop things and awarding a direct free kick.

There are other things to consider. They are the misconducts of unsporting behavior, violent conduct, spitting at anyone, using offensive language and receiving a second caution in the same match. One will note there is no need to have the ball in play to be guilty of one of these offences.

What a wise referee will do is warn players jostling the 'keeper to stop their action. If things continue without a stop the wise referee will prevent the corner from being taken and caution the player concerned for unsporting behavior. If, after being warned, the player stops jostling the 'keeper the referee should whistle for the corner kick to be taken and watch for a re-occurrence of the shenanigans AND let the kick be taken so the ball is in play. Once the ball is kicked the wise referee immediately blows for a direct free kick infraction against the attacker jostling the 'keeper. This effectively stops this and future corner kicks from progressing beyond being kicked and moved [going into play]. The referee should do this every time until the mucking about comes to a stop.

He should also consider a caution for persistent infringement of the Laws of the Game.


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Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 20996
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See Question: 21022

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