Soccer Referee Resources
Ask a Question
Recent Questions

RSS FEED Subscribe Now!

Q&A Quick Search
The Field of Play
The Ball
The Players
The Players Equipment
The Referee
The Other Match Officials
The Duration of the Match
The Start and Restart of Play
The Ball In and Out of Play
Fouls and Misconduct
Free Kicks
Penalty kick
Throw In
Goal Kick
Corner Kick

Common Sense
Kicks - Penalty Mark
The Technical Area
The Fourth Official
Attitude and Control
League Specific
High School

Common Acronyms
Meet The Ref
Contact AskTheRef
Help Wanted
About AskTheRef
Panel Login

Question Number: 29641

Law 13 - Free Kicks 8/30/2015

RE: Rec/ Select Adult

Josh Patterson of Chicago, IL United States asks...


What is the proper way to restart play after a defender has been issued a cautioned for bringing down an opponent outside the 18? Team A did not request 10 yards, but while the referees were still explaining the call, team A restarted play and scored a game ending goal while team B was being addressed by the referees. No whistle was blown to restart play- is that required after a caution and (in this case) an IDK (league specific) was issued?

Thank you in advance

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Josh,

IF this was a normal free kick without cards the referee should NOT get involved in what either team is doing!
If the attackers want to go he should let them, if the attackers REQUEST 10 yards he should then signal we NOW restart with a whistle to both teams. Given this was a cardable situation the referee has created an unnecessary mess!

The situation is unfortunate in that although the principle of a FREE kick is the FREE part, a referee is NOT to interfere with either team, unless the attackers request ten yards, or the defenders have infringed in such a way the kick is to be ceremonial. In my opinion if a referee is stopping play to caution and SHOW a yellow card he can not FAIRLY allow the free kick to occur if he is addressing the defending team or players involved. The additional guidance within the LOTG tells us that whistle is to be used restart play after it has been stopped due to:
the issue of a yellow or red card for misconduct

I am uncertain

(1) as to how or if the referee instructed the teams to wait for a whistle?
The referee who does this at the start saves a lot of grief and in actuality, is following the LOTG standard whistle protocols that state a carding event requires a whistle! The referee could actually caution the attacking kicker for going ahead and restarting without the whistle as a form of dissent, USB or delaying the restart gesture

(2) So the referee did not rescinded the goal and awarded an INDFK to the defenders??
If the referee was unhappy at the attacking team failing to adhere to his instructions to wait or even if he realizes his actions directly affected the fairness of the restart because he forgot to tell the team to wait while holding the defending team's attention , then he should restart with the original DFK after possibly cautioning the kicker.

(3) If the referee allows the goal there is little the defenders can do but complain as the results of a match and whether a goal is legally scored is at his sole discretion. Terrible mechanics in my opinion to allow the goal if embroiled in a discussion with the defenders while showing a card . Yet I am not adverse in non cardable free kicks to a simple, 'TEN YARDS NOW!' now command to warn off impeding delaying restart or failing to respect ten yards by encroaching defenders , To be blunt, I very much DISLIKE the FIFA choice to go with foam! It has created a FALSE mindset that ten yards is not a responsibility of the defenders to KNOW it is the minimum they MUST in law comply with and withdraw to allow a free kick to be taken but one of the referee's official duties.


Read other questions answered by Referee Richard Dawson

View Referee Richard Dawson profile

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Josh
The referee awarded a direct free kick here for the foul. As he also decided to caution the offender for unsporting behaviour the game should have restarted on the whistle given that he engaged an opponent in discussion.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Answer provided by Referee Dennis Wickham

When a card is shown, a whistle is always required before play can restart. If the kicking team kicks the ball before the whistle, the kick must be retaken.

The referee has a difficult choice when play is stopped for a foul that is cautionable and the kicking team might want a quick free kick. If the referee allows the quick free kick, the referee cannot later go back and caution the player. So, most referees will decide that the need to show the card for game management is more important than a quick kick.

Read other questions answered by Referee Dennis Wickham

View Referee Dennis Wickham profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 29641
Read other Q & A regarding Law 13 - Free Kicks

Soccer Referee Extras

Did you Ask the Ref? Find your answer here.

Enter Question Number

If you received a response regarding a submitted question enter your question number above to find the answer

Offside Question?

Offside Explained by Chuck Fleischer & Richard Dawson, Former & Current Editor of AskTheRef

This web site and the answers to these questions are not sanctioned by or affiliated with any governing body of soccer. The opinions expressed on this site should not be considered official interpretations of the Laws of the Game and are merely opinions of AskTheRef and our panel members. If you need an official ruling you should contact your state or local representative through your club or league. On AskTheRef your questions are answered by a panel of licensed referees. See Meet The Ref for details about our panel members.