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Question Number: 30713

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 9/4/2016

RE: Competive Adult

Walter DiCarlo of stoneham , massachusetts USA asks...

2016/2017 law changes.

Law 12, section 12.16 Fouls off the field of play.

I also looked at related 13.3 + 14.1 sections.
The confusion is ,if a player leaves the field of play as part of play and commits an offence against another player,play is restarted nearest to where the offence occurred.If a direct free offences a penalty kick is awarded if this is within the offender's penalty area.So if i am reading it correctly ,if a player steps off the field ,commits a direct free kick offence directly across his penalty area then the opposition is awarded with a penalty kick?Please advise ,best regards.

Walter DiCarlo

Answer provided by Referee Ben Mueller

Yes, that is correct. 'Nearest point' Thus if the foul happens over the goal line and the nearest point is in the penalty area, PK..granted it was a DFK foul.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Walter
Nearest point is the key. So if the foul is off the field of play behind the touchline inside the penalty area lines then the restart is a penalty kick. I believe the best way to determine this is to mentally extend the penalty area lines behind the touchline line.
An example would be where a defender and attacker slide off behind the goal line in a challenge for the ball. The defender sees the attacker recovering to play the ball and he fouls him off the FOP. In the past that was a dropped ball restart. Under the new laws it is a penalty kick as the offence happened off the FOP the restart is now brought on to the FOP at the nearest point to the foul which so happens to be inside the penalty area in this case. That now makes the foul a penalty kick restart.
The law makers IFAB tells us that ** if two players leave the field as part of normal action and one fouls the other off the field, a free kick should be awarded. No one would understand if the referee gave a RC/YC and then restarted with a dropped ball (or IDFK). The FK is awarded on the touchline/goal line nearest to where the foul occurred; if this is on the goal line in the offender’s penalty area a penalty is awarded.**
I watched in the last two WCs referees awarding DFKs for fouls that appeared to me to be clearly off the FOP. They were fouls with little complaint about the decisions. This law change makes the referees decision now technically correct.

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