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Question Number: 26780

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 9/17/2012

RE: rec Adult

alex of richmond hill, ontario canada asks...

After a free kick was awarded, 2 defending players urged one of their teammate to stand in front of the ball to delay the restart. The clueless player sensed something wrong but nevertheless moved reluctantly and stand in front the ball. I told him to move away and don't be a sacrificial lamb, which he did. It seems that I have saved somebody being cautioned needlessly. But I have been thinking after the game should I have cautioned those 2 masterminds for usb?

Answer provided by Referee Michelle Maloney

This is an instance where letting them know you heard their remark and do not take kindly to such tactics is in order. Urge them not to repeat it on their own peril.

Normally, a player who deliberately does this statue of liberty move in front of the ball should be cautioned the very first time it happens in a game. In your situation, I would have done exactly the same thing, with a quick word of explanation to said player, who most likely will not be duped by teammates again, and a glare and a stern word to the teammates. No second bite of the apple for them.

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Answer provided by Referee Dennis Wickham

There are times when being proactive will pay dividends later in the match. This may have been one of those times. The clueless player is likely to help you maintain match control, particularly when others are talking otherwise. If the free kick was early in the match or in the defensive or middle third, there is little lost with using your voice and presence to send the message that this is unacceptable.

There are other times when an immediate caution is appropriate. In the attacking third, when the defender becomes a statute to prevent a quick free kick that the attacking team wants to take, the caution punishes the tactical misconduct as well as sends a message.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Alex
This has become the bane of the soccer world and it is coached. Indeed the kicking team almost expect it to happen now and most times the players wait for the free kick to become ceremonial. So unless the player has physically stopped the kick from being taken then I would just have a 'word' with the player telling him it is not acceptable and not to do it again. As regards those instructing the player I would just ensure that they hear the 'words' with the team mate as teams rotate the player instructed for this 'task'.
If the player actually stops the kick anywhere on the field of play that is tactical misconduct and a caution with the free kick being retaken.
I would also be on the guard of the attacking team kicking the ball aimlessly at an opponent with the intention of the referee issuing a caution. Before long the referee can be issuing cautions like confetti for every single misdemeanour in the game when teams start 'looking for' cautions and questioning every single incident to the referee of. So in your situation a stern word with the 'offender' and a mental note of the 'masterminds' would be suffice on the 1st occasion.
As described you handled it well.

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