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Question Number: 25332

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 8/20/2011

RE: Under 14

Filippo of Palermo, Italy asks...

We know a player must be cautioned if he fails to respect the distance during a free kick, throw-in or corner kick.

But why doesn't the referee have to caution a player if he fails to respect the required distance during a goal kick, kick-off or penalty kick?

Is there a reason for such a difference?

Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Interesting question....

I believe the reason that a player is to be cautioned for delaying the restart at a free kick, throw-in or corner kick is because doing so is seeking tactical advantage via illegal means. All of those restarts are generally able to be taken quickly by the attacking team if they wish, therefore attemps to delay or block these restarts can make a significant impact as it can allow the defence more time to organise. This can be particularly critical when the attacking team has the defence outnumbered on a fast counterattack.

While a fast corner is far less likely to occur than a quick free kick or throw in, it's still a possibility that the attacking team can use to take advantage of an outnumbered, disorganised defence (or a keeper who's out of position).

A kick-off has no such tactical consideration. It's not something that can be done quickly, therefore no attack can be unfairly delayed. As such, nothing of importance can be lost via encroachment.

A penalty kick has its own unique set of laws, and if a player (say a defender) encroaches and the goal isn't scored, then the fact that the kick is to be retaken is a far greater punishment for this infringement than a caution is. Same if the attacking team has a goal disallowed.

As for a goal kick - perhaps it's got something to do with the fact that the ball isn't in play until it leaves the penalty area, or that a goal kick is primarily a defensive restart, not a potentially offensive one (though I realise even these can be taken quickly if the opposition is disorganised).

However, if a player repeatedly does it or has been problematic throughout the match then there's always the possibility of a caution for persistently infringing the laws of the game.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Filippo
The referee can caution on these restarts if he believes that the action was done deliberately to delay the restart of play. Usually the caution is issued after repeat offences where the player has been asked by the referee to desist.
On the FK, TI or CK there is more of a threat of attack and the action is unsporting usually done for tactical reasons.

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Answer provided by Referee Michelle Maloney

In the first place, it would be very hard to fail to respect the distance on a kickoff, a goal kick or a penalty kick.

On a kickoff, the defenders must be in their own half and outside the center circle. It's easy to see violations, and most of time any encroachment here would be trifling at best. It would take a pretty dense player to encroach severely enough to warrant a caution on a kickoff - doesn't mean it can't or won't happen, just really unlikely.

On a goal kick, all of the opponents have to be outside of the penalty area until the ball clears the area anyway, and the goal area is at least 12 yard from the edge of the PA. And in this case, the ball isn't in play until it leaves the PA, so any encroachment (failure to respect distance) would simply cause the GK to be retaken. An opponent who insisted on encroaching over and over should probably get a caution for stupidity, but that would be it.

As for penalty kicks, the kick is not taken until the referee blows the whistle and that won't happen until all the players are where they need to be. Any encroachment at a PK is punished with a kickoff, a retake or an IDFK, depending on who did what, when and where the ball went. A caution could be in order here but not for FRD.

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