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Question Number: 31438

Law 13 - Free Kicks 4/7/2017

RE: Adult

Dejan of Belgrade, Serbia asks...

Hello! My question is: during the preparation for free kick or indirect kick in goal scoring position, when a play is stopped and about to start, can a player from attacking team stand in front of the goalie and deliberately obstruct his view of the ball and play? He is not touching him, not in offside, just blocking line of sight a foot away from the goalkeeper? Is it a foul or not and what a referee should do if he spots that kind of situation? Thank you in advance for your answer!

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Dejan
A somewhat similar question was asked recently at # 31390 re offside.
The summary is that it not an offence to be in an offside position. If the player in that position interferes with an opponent then it is an offence punished by an IDFK. That can only happen though once the ball is in play so any antics before that is up to the referee decide whether to intervene or not. The video shown in the previous example shows the referee not getting involved.
If offside is not a consideration then line of sight is not an issue. Most teams though use offside as a way of ensuring that the goalkeeper is not impeded or affected by opponents so potential offside will move the player . When that is not possible such as at a corner some teams place an opponent in front of the goalkeeper to restrict line of sight etc. Once the player does nothing but stand still there is no offence. The referee though will keep a close eye on players that engage in such action as many times the players rarely stands still or does not engage in some pushing or pulling each other.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Dejan,
It is not against the LOTG to stand in front of a keeper, however it is not impossible to look at it as an act of USB particularity if he shadows the keepers movements before the ball is struck, creating friction. If he was stationary at he restart and the keeper shoves him then the keeper could be at fault yet if he moves to impede the keeper then it is an INDFK out . The referee could warn the player to desist and perhaps show a yellow card & caution him if he must prior to the restart or award an INDFK out after the restart IF impeding or an offside had occurred.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Dejan,
If as you say, the player is not in an offside position then the issue of blocking the line of sight of an opponent is not really a matter of concern. So the question becomes, is it is OK for a player to stand in front of the keeper. Again, if your description is correct and the player is a foot away from the keeper, not touching him in any way, then that would be permissible.

What the referee needs to watch out for in these situations though, is any kind of pushing or holding. If the keeper's view is blocked, they are likely to try to get into a position where they can see the ball which will typically lead to some form of pushing or jostling between the players. Once any kind of pushing or holding occurs, the referee should intervene and the actual steps to follow are fairly clearly laid out in the Laws of the Game document, in the 'Other Advice' section, as follows:

''Referees are reminded to make an early intervention and to deal firmly with holding offences, especially inside the penalty area at corner kicks and free kicks. To deal with these situations:
the referee must warn any player holding an opponent before the ball is in play
caution the player if the holding continues before the ball is in play
award a direct free kick or penalty kick and caution the player if it happens once the ball is in play''

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

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