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Question Number: 26894

Law 13 - Free Kicks 10/10/2012

RE: Intermediate Under 12

Phil of Tarzana, CA United States asks...

This question is a follow up to question 26871

I'm sure that all of you know much more than I do, but it seems like something was missed here. The question said that 'AS the referee was marching out 10 yards', the defender moved closer, interfering with the kicker's run up. (Of course, the ref was wrong about not needing 10 yards from the side)

But doesn't it sound like the kicker started the run while the ref was moving the wall back & before any whistle? It sounds like the defender was trying to prevent the run up (which was the wrong thing to do), but that the kicker was trying to kick the ball before the ref blew the whistle. If that happened, the kicker could have been cautioned.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Phil
I took it that the kicker took exception to the opponent being three yards away to the side of the ball on his run up. Even if he did not wait for the whistle the kicker cannot be cautioned until he kicks the ball before the whistle. I don't believe the ball was kicked in this scenario as described which is why it was answered the way it was.
If the kicker kicked the ball before the whistle, when told not to, the referee could caution the kicker for USB. I think more likely the referee felt that the opponent to the side was not 'interfering' but that is not up to the referee to decide. The Law says that the opponents must be 10 yards from the ball in any direction. The simple decision was to ask the opponent to move away and then when 10 yards away allow the kick to proceed.
What it does point to is the requirement to manage free kicks properly. When they are not managed in the correct way they can cause match control issues for the referee.

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Answer provided by Referee Michelle Maloney

The fact remains that all defenders have to be 10 yards from the ball at a free kick in all directions. It is possible that the writer did not describe the situation accurately as far as the timeline went. If the referee was still marching off 10 yards, the kicker should not have started his run. In addition, if the referee had not shown the whistle to the kicker and the defenders, stating the kick would be taken on his whistle, then the referee goofed twice.

There is no excuse for giving the caution for delaying the restart when the restart had apparently not happened.

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Answer provided by Referee Keith Contarino

Hi Phil. Your many questions the past few years have shown you read each question very carefully and sometimes pick up things we may have missed.

I think the person posting the question used the term 'run up' simply to indicate the kicker was ready. And then the referee proceeded to muck everything up.

Cautioning the kicker is inexcusable. Telling the kicker the 10 yards only applies to opponents in front of the ball is just plain wrong. He should have told the player encroaching on the side to back up 10 yards and allow the kick to then be taken in a ceremonial manner.

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