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Question Number: 27952

Law 13 - Free Kicks 10/29/2013

RE: Rec, HS High School

Eric Nielsen of Bakersfield, California United States asks...

This question is a follow up to question 27755

With respect to the ball being 'kicked and moves', prior responses have indicated that while a tap on the side of the ball may be considered a kick, a tap on the top does not constitute a kick. How do we judge a player placing the sole of the foot on the top of the ball and rolling it. Clearly the ball has moved, but should we consider it to have been kicked? Further, if the 'sole roll' moves the ball, and then also stops it stationary before the foot is removed from the ball, has play been restarted, or should we judge this to be a re-positioning of ball. Also, would the roll constitute a single touch or multiple touches, assuming the sole of the foot doesn't leave the surface of the ball and contact it again.

In a recent game, on an indirect free kick, the sole roll was performed by the first attacker in a manner that clearly moved the ball but also left it stationary. He then ran on followed by a second attacker who kicked the ball. The shot missed the goal. However, had the ball gone into the goal untouched after the second attacker kicked it, would the second touch required for the IDK have been satisfied?

Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Eric,

Don't worry too much about whether there was a tap on top or on the side - that doesn't matter. What matters is whether it moves. A tap on top can be enough to put it into play if it moves the ball.

As for the roll - I wouldn't consider it to be a kick if the ball doesn't move after breaking contact with the foot. Rolling the ball under the foot only to leave the ball completely still when lifting the foot wouldn't put the ball into play.

If the ball moves afterwards, then that's fine - the roll would be a single touch.

In your recent situation I would consider the player who took the shot to be the one who put the ball into play, not the one who rolled the ball under his foot.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Eric
At one time the Laws of the Game required for the ball to roll its circumference for it to be in play. That was removed and replaced with ' kicks and moves'.
Now tapping the ball on the side with a kicking motion is acceptable provided there is a discernable movement of the ball. Clearly tapping the ball on top that fails to move the ball does not put the ball in play.
Now dragging the ball with the top or bottom of the foot is sufficient to put the ball into play and is seen as a single touch. Referees though have to discern between repositioning with the foot and putting the ball into play.
Now let's say that a player standing over a free kick puts his foot on top of the ball to move it to a favourable position to take the kick. That ball is not in play. Ryan Giggs of Manchester United never touches the ball with his hands but uses his foot to position the ball. Look at these video. Isn't it obvious the ball is being repositioned and not in play

Now let's say that on an IDFK the kicker foot drags the ball to put the ball into play that IMO should be pretty obvious and the ball is in play the moment the foot is removed. If the ball comes to a rest afterwards the ball is still in play.
Now this generally only happens at 'ceremonial' indirect free kicks and therefore mechanics are important. First off get the ball positioned at the point of the free kick and to the satisfaction of the kicking team. If the player uses his hands or foot is of no concern here. Pace the 10 yards and move to your position. Now signal for the free kick. If the player besides the ball put his foot on top and foot drags the ball a discernible distance the ball is in play the moment he removes his foot. If he simply taps it on top with no movement of the ball it is not in play and a goal may not be scored directly from the kick.
In your example IMO the foot roll put the ball into play and if the ball came to a rest instantly, after the discernible first movement, the ball is still in play. I would suspect that the opponents saw the ball being out into play with the foot roll and probably acted accordingly by coming towards the ball. Those indicators will help with the call.

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Answer provided by Referee Dennis Wickham

Rolling the ball with the foot uses a kicking motion. It doesn't need a lot of force or much movement. It puts the ball into play. The recent change in high school (NFHS) rules from 'touch' to 'kick' is to clarify that a simple tap of the top of the ball is not enough.

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Answer provided by Referee Keith Contarino

Unless USSF has changed it's position, the last Advice To Referees and Jim Allen's Q&A site when it was official USSF policy both defined this as using the foot in a kicking motion and the ball moving 'from here to there'. Tapping the ball on the top with the bottom of the foot is not a kicking motion and of course the ball 'moves' due to the Laws of Physics but it does not 'go' anywhere.

Some referees will allow the rolling of the ball as you describe as 'kicked and moved'. Some will not. In my opinion the ball must move after contact with the foot so the ball was not put into play by the rolling motion you describe and had the shot entered the goal, it would not have counted. As you can see, even the panel is not in agreement with this.

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