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Question Number: 25702

Law 17 - Corner Kick 11/4/2011

RE: Rec Under 14

Doug Crawford of Oakland, CA USA asks...

This question is a follow up to question 25301

I'm sorry to further beat this dead horse of corner kick deception...

I would usually allow verbal deception when at a corner kick (supposedly said to a teammate but really said for an opponent to hear), whether ball in play or not.

I would usually not allow verbal deception during active play when one player acts like they are giving advice from an unseen teammate to 'leave it for me', when the player speaking is not a teammate of the one w the ball.

However, I have no idea why I should categorize these 2 deceptions differently...
- ball in or out of play?
- spoken directly to an opponent w no teammate that could be the person spoken too?
- or just that is the way it is!

Thanks much /Doug

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Doug
The game allows for an element of feinting/deception during play and at restarts. The spirit of the game over the years has been to penalise those that are unsporting in nature. The examples were stopping a penalty kick for the goalkeeper to dive (now an actual offence under Law 14), shouting at an opponent with the intention to deceive/distract etc.
At a corner kick it is a huge advantage if the attacking player can advance the ball inside the penalty area without challenge hence the reason for the ruse.
My difficulty with the ruse is that it is not significantly different from a player saying to an opponent 'Leave it' on the field of play with the intention of deception while the ball is in play. The only difference is that it is said before the ball is in play and at a restart. In the US exception is only taken when a coach gets involved with the verbal 'instructions'. For me it matters not who is involved in the verbal distraction at a corner just that it is done. Don't get me wrong I have no difficulty with the ball being kicked in and left for a teammate. That is the feinting part. Once though, for me, the words ' Leave it I'll take it' or similar to deceive/distract the defender from looking at or playing the ball are used then that is not allowed in games that I officiate. The restart is a retake as the deception happens before the ball is put into play and I don't caution for it.

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Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

The verbal deception at a corner kick really does get into a hair-splitting gray area. During play, we have no problems with players who make physical gestures and then don't follow up on them - for example, pointing toward a teammate and then not passing her the ball. Nor do we have problems if a player yells out, 'Doug, go wide!' and then doesn't pass the ball to Doug but rather continues to dribble or passes to another teammate. The referee can't tell whether the unfulfilled instruction was meant as deception or not.

At the corner, if Joe moves the ball slightly (putting it into play) and then says, 'Doug, you take it', is that really much different than the 'go wide' instruction above? The instruction is certainly more on the deceptive side, but it's only a matter of the degree of deception. The opponents need to watch what the players are doing, not what they are saying.

There is a difference when a coach gets involved. Coaches are allowed only to give tactical instructions to their own team. If a coach says, 'Doug, you take it', that can only be interpreted as an instruction to Doug. The coach is acting in an unsporting manner if his remarks were intended to throw off the opponents.

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Answer provided by Referee Michelle Maloney

It sounds like you can 'feel' the difference between the two is within the realm of fairness and the other rarely is. Common sense and observation make all the difference.

These sorts of tricks are usually coached in practice, but the percentage of success is small. One has to wonder why they we have pointed out before on this question, if the referee doesn't think the ball was put into play, or put into play properly, then the tricksy team has lost their corner kick.

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