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Question Number: 31540

Law 13 - Free Kicks 5/16/2017

RE: High School


How can 4 Fifa refs botch a simple IDK in the goal area as they just did in the EPL game Arsenal and Sunderland Will there be any punishment from the FA or Fifa?

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI William,
hmm likely from these situations of illegal handling in the 6 yard goal area not arising enough to drive home the procedure at that level of play!

It was difficult to watch, the ludicrous restart for what was a miskick despite the intention to deliberately pass the ball back to his keeper. I have no real issue with awarding the INDFK although I think a corner kick could be a better solution. That said, it was an INTENDED pass gone astray but lets say the call was necessary, it does fit the how the LOTG are written! His match, his decision, his reputation.
The fact that the defender red #7 was standing on the spot of WHERE the restart SHOULD have been was funny enough but the fact the rest of the defenders were not lined up under the crossbar & between the posts at a minimum 10 yards away was again funny to watch. I can only imagine the post game review and how deathly quiet it was for those officials in that inevitable uh oh moment to fully sink in that it it is now encapsulated on video for all to see for perpetuity. I have no idea if the league or FIFA will do anything except have a long talk about INDFK restart procedures inside the 6 yard goal area.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi William
First off it was certainly a deliberate kick to the goalkeeper and as the goalkeeper used his hand then in Law it was a technical offence punished by an indirect free kick. It is in situations like this that I do not like this particular law as the GK had no other choice other than to use his hand to save the ball. The law was never intended to prevent the GK doing what he has to do.
The second part is that this is a very rare offence. I have not had one all season and I only recall one last season. When it happens it tends to be outside the goal area so the IDFK is taken from the location of the offence.
Now the correct position of the restart should have been out on the goal area line almost directly with the post which was the location the Arsenal goalkeeper touched the ball with his hands. All defending players should then be either on the goal line between the posts or ten yards from the ball in all directions outside of the goal. I suspect that the referee will have had to explain his error probably through a lack of knowing which is not a good position for a senior ref to be in at a post match assessment. It probably shows how much more important tacit knowledge is at higher levels. For what it is worth Referee Roger East is not a FIFA badged official although he is at the highest level in the FA referee pyramid. Probably such an error might not help progression or if serious enough result in a demotion. It will have certainly resulted in lost marks in his match assessment. The lead AR could have thought that the referee gave the offence outside the goal area and perhaps did not see the need to get involved. His explanation will also affect his assessment mark.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi William,
My colleagues have already answered the 'Laws of the Game' aspect so let me address the other part of your question. There would be no punishment or action from FIFA, they do not deal with individual mistakes by referees in different countries of the world, when they are not the competition organiser. Their interaction is at the national association level. If a national association were wrongly advising the referees in its country on a particular matter of Law, FIFA would contact the national association to correct that situation. They would not contact the individual referees.

The FA might take some action and in fact referees in the past have been 'demoted' when their performance has fallen below par. On an individual error like this which, although clearly wrong, did not have a decisive impact on the outcome of the match, I would be surprised if they did anything more than just counsel the referee over his error.

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