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Question Number: 22831

Law 16 - Goal Kick 2/17/2010

RE: Competitive Other

Chris of St Petersburg, Florida USA asks...

Once a ball is placed by the person taking the goal kick. Can the ball be picked back up and changed sides of the 6 yard box?

Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

There is nothing that specifically disallows this practice. However it does waste time, and the player could be warned against doing it or could be cautioned for delaying the restart, depending on the situation.

But if play won't be starting because of some other reason, such as a substitution that is in process, there should be no problem. The player taking the kick must be ready to go when the referee is ready to have the kick taken.

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Answer provided by Referee Dennis Wickham

Yes. But, this is one way that a team in the lead can unfairly delay the restart of the match and waste time. The USSF Advice to Referees (12.28.4) permits cautioning a player for delaying the restart for the act of unnecessarily moving a ball which has already been properly placed on the ground for a goal kick. Where it is not done for delay, however, the referee should not caution the player.

In U-littles, referees are encouraged to help players learn to get the ball quickly back into play.

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Answer provided by Referee Steve Montanino

Yes. However, the referee may also be correct in cautioning the player who does so for delaying the restart of play.

A lot of factors go into this like score, time remaining, and how the ball came to be set in the original spot in the first place.

A lot of referees tell teams they cannot move the ball. What I've always interpreted by this action is that they are trying to prevent the team from delaying the restart and therfore trying to prevent having to issue a caution.

I suppose they shouldn't say 'you can't do that,' because you can - but if it's saving your team a caution, I would probably listen to the ref.

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Answer provided by Referee Ben Mueller

This was outlined in the USSF advice to referees. It states that the referee can caution a player if it delays the restart. Also if in the referees opinion it is unsporting, then a caution could occur.

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Answer provided by Referee Keith Contarino

I'll have to disagree with my fellow panelists and say, no it is not allowed. This is what Advice 12.28.4 says:

Unnecessarily moving a ball which has already been properly placed on the ground for a goal kick.

This is under the section delays the restart of play.

16.5 says:

Upon being awarded a goal kick, the defending team wastes time if the ball is clearly placed within the
goal area in preparation for the restart and then is moved unnecessarily to another location. The referee
may caution and show the yellow card for either persistent infringement or delaying the restart of play
in situations where the offense is committed a second time by the same team after a warning is given.

And from Jim Allen's Official Q&A site:

USSF answer (May 6, 2008):
In point of fact, the time-wasting tactic of shifting the ball from one side of the goal area to the other after it has been placed is misconduct in and of itself and should be punished with a caution for unsporting behavior. However, all such matters fall under the rubric of ?the opinion of the referee.?

So, my take is you should tell the player not to move the ball once placed on the ground as suggested in 16.5. You don't HAVE to caution, that is true but the action is not permissable

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

The reason this would be done would normally be for time wasting purposes. The action will incur the wrath of the opponents with shouts of time wasting etc. As a result the player should either be given a stern warning about delaying the restart or cautioned depending on the circumstances.
If however say at a substitution, play stopped for an injury etc the player moves the ball to the other side then there is nothing to prevent this in the Laws of the Game and it has not been done for unsporting reasons.
I pay particular attention to a goalkeeper's goal kicking routine during the game and any change from that near the end of the game that is deemed to be a time wasting tactic will be dealt with.

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