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Question Number: 28275

Law 13 - Free Kicks 3/23/2014

RE: Competitive Adult

G. Barry Stewart of Chilliwack, BC Canada asks...

This question is a follow up to question 26682

Great site, BTW!

Not really a question but an observation: if the ball doesn't stay where it was placed, then the ref has no point of origin to start his 10 yard pacing from.

Defenders are also going to set up a wall, based on where the ball was originally placed. This may be the kicker's intent¦ to put the ball back in a new and BETTER spot.

The player must be told to put the ball back " and 'leave it there.'

I might be twitching at my yellow card here.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Barry
Free kick management is a skill that referees must develop and use correctly. One of the 1st tasks on a ceremonial free kick is to get the ball placed at the location of the foul. That is the reference point from which ten yards is determined. If a player moves the ball then the referee might step in to deal with that if the referee felt it was done for advantageous reasons such as moving it a distance from the point of the foul which by the way can include backwards away from goal..
Resetting / respotting a ball on the spot of the foul is not an issue. Sometimes on poor quality grounds the ball might roll an inch or two into a divot after a gust of wind. Replacing the ball here is of not an issue and it should be ignored.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Barry,

The original question doesn't necessarily indicate the ball was moved forwards - simply that the ball was handled. Sometimes players like to adjust the positioning of the ball for whatever reason - if that's the case, then the biggest concern is potentially delaying the restart of play.

But you are right that players sometimes move the ball forwards. A common tactic is to do this as soon as the referee turns his back to pace out the wall. Players sometimes pick up the ball and pretend to throw it back onto the spot, but throw it a few yards ahead.

The referee arranges the wall at 10 yards from the location of the foul - the ball itself isn't the important marker. If the referee realises the player has moved the ball then generally just tell the player to put the ball back. You may want to be a bit more stern with this, or start considering a card if it's blatantly done in an attempt to fool the referee into moving the wall back even further, or if it's persistent - but usually a stern word will look after this issue before a card is needed.

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