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Question Number: 26862

Law 13 - Free Kicks 9/30/2012

RE: Select Under 17

MT of Nashville, TN USA asks...

Attacking team: Is the ref 'obligated' to walk off the 10 yards and make a restart cerimonial if requested by the attacking team players ? Or is he allowed to simply look at the defenders, be satiisfied with their distance and say get on with it ? There was an instance when we specifically wanted it played on the whistle

Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

If the attacking team want the ten yards, then the referee needs to ensure they have the ten yards - but there's no obligation to 'walk it out' or anything like that. The referee should be able to tell just by looking if a player is sufficiently far back - if he's satisfied the player is back far enough, then moving over to step out the 10 yards is unnecessarily wasting everybody's time.

I fail to see what tactical advantage your team would gain by the use of the whistle as opposed to the referee simply allowing the restart.

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Answer provided by Referee Dennis Wickham

If requested, the referee should enforce the distance. But, the referee does not need to pace ten yards. If the defender already is at least ten yards away from the ball (in the referee's judgment), the referee may simply indicate 'play.'

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

A whistle is not required for a free kick restart unless the referee has intervened to make the restart 'ceremonial' by moving defenders back ten yards, after a caution has been shown, on an injury or on a substitution.
If the defenders are already back 10 yards to the satisfaction of the referee then play should resume without the need for a whistle

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Answer provided by Referee Michelle Maloney

If a team asks for a ceremonial free kick, the referee should oblige. However, there is no requirement to pace off ten yards. Normally, if a team requests a ceremonial free kick, the referee will show the whistle to the kicking team and to the defending team to inform them that the kick cannot proceed without the whistle. Usually this means the defending team is too close or is in some other way infringing on the right to the free kick. Absent that mechanic of showing the whistle, at least here in the USA, and the need to move the defenders further back, the referee can note the distance is met and indicate by any means, including the whistle, for play to resume.

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