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Question Number: 28944

Law 5 - The Referee 11/4/2014

RE: Intermediate Under 13

Phil of Tarzana, CA United States asks...

This question is a follow up to question 28935

I always thought that by a ref saying '10 yards' or 'move back' etc., that the ref was getting involved, so I've learned something new again.

Would you apply the same rule at younger ages? I find that U12 & younger often assume that a free kick is ceremonial (& so do the coaches). And many don't even know what 10 yards is.

What would you do at high school age if both sides were in the wall & the kicker was waiting for his/her team to set up, & then you said '10 yards'?

Based on what's been said, it would seem that a ref should only say '10 yards' or something similar if done immediately after the foul, but that once a wall is set, never say anything about distance unless the kicker asks for 10 least at older ages (unless you're going to give a caution, of course).

Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

Refs often speak to players, to remind or warn them. "Don't foul", "arms down", "knock it off". Reminding a team that they are supposed to retreat 10 yards doesn't automatically make the kick ceremonial.

But the ref does have to be sure that she isn't unfairly distracting the defenders from the anticipated restart. It's a fine line that the ref cannot cross.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Phil,

I've heard other referees saying the same thing - but for me, this is no different to proactive refereeing at any part in the game - telling players to keep their hands down, to back away, even telling a player where the throw-in is to be taken from. Talking to players helps prevent a situation arising. I see no reason for this to automatically turn a restart into a ceremonial. one. Quickly telling a player to back away from a free kick happens all the time in the middle of the field without it being ceremonial.

The referee, however, needs to be aware how he's doing this though. Standing in front of the ball and telling the defenders to move back will certainly look like it's now ceremonial - and if you're walking the defenders back, you've made it ceremonial.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Phil
Many teams have caught on to the ceremonial restart and ask if the restart is on the whistle. Simply asking a player to back up or saying 10 yards is not sufficient interference by the referee to make a free kick ceremonial. It when the referee starts getting in the way of players in front of the ball and distracting players by moving them that makes the use of a whistle to restart necessary.
I also think that referees should look at the mechanics here and if there is no urgency or indication that the kicking team want to get on with play quickly that the referee should then take control of the restart in the goal scoring area. I'm not a big fan of this approach but it does work in match control in that the kicking team don't complain when it's on the whistle and clearly the defending team can't complain either.
The question does not then arise

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