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: 31613

Law 13 - Free Kicks 6/20/2017

RE: Mixed, competitive Adult

Barry Stewart of Chilliwack, BC Canada asks...

With a goal to staying sharp, I had two situations in a recent game and I'd like feedback on my responses:

1.) Green team, offensive direct free kick was awarded, 25 yards from the net. 10 yards was asked for and I paced it out. On the kick, one member of the wall leaped forward about one yard and the ball contacted him. I blew it down and set up for a re-kick.

I imagine it's a timing thing. Movement toward the ball is fine, once the ball has been kicked. My opinion was that the movement was premature.

On the re-kick, the ball actually contacted the same defender but this time he had jumped straight up. Play continued.

2.) Black team, offensive free kick was awarded near the side line, a good 40 yards from the goal line. The defender backed off about 7 yards and stood there. The kicker was satisfied and kicked it right at the defender, who stood in the spot but lifted his leg to knock the ball down. The ball went out of touch for a black throw - but I was prepared to let play continue if it hadn't gone out.

Your advice in both cases? (Thanks, as always!)

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Barry,
as always your opinion of events is crucial your match, your decision, your reputation!

Even when asked by the attacking team for the 10 yards do not let the opposition dictate this request by stalling. Many a team request ten simply because the opposition are not withdrawing as required.

It is considered bad form but in youth matches I often would whistle hard for a free kick and say BLUE free kick 10 yards now to get the opposition aware of their obligation. Something I often included in the pregame ,I am fair but not perfect introduction.

As I am old school I hate this foam BS because the moment it is used the kick becomes ceremonial and if you can not imagine ten yards or visibly see encroachment for what it is without this handy aid in a can mental sharpness is likely not a habit!

A free kick encroachment with a retake but no caution is acceptable but I tend to think showing a yellow card if it is blatant prevents reoccurrences more than just a retake. Do not forget to add time on as well if necessary.

AS long a the players are a minimum 10 yards away they can jump around all they want

(2) I grant you 7 to 8 yards is about the distance players will try to feed you as sufficiently close to ten yards so you will not caution or get too angry . If the kicker was eager to go I could likely accept the result as long as the defender had not moved to intercept PRIOR to the ball being kicked then allowing play to continue is fine in my opinion' . While I might add my 'Black free kick ten yards now!' If I am physically involved in pointing or moving players then we are interfering with the restart through distraction. It is generally taught not to say or do anything that can be inferred as a referee participating prior to the restart to the detriment of either team.

I do tend to be in a teaching mode a referee at the younger levels hopefully with the coaches participation but then I do not referee elite levels at world cup where neutrality replaces civility . Cheers

Read other questions answered by Referee Richard Dawson

View Referee Richard Dawson profile

Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Barry,
In both situations, I would say you have acted in ways that are perfectly acceptable within the laws of the game. In situation 1, I tend to agree with ref Dawson that you might want to consider a yellow card to lay down a stricter marker on what is or is not acceptable behaviour, especially since this was an adult game. But it's not mandatory and is up to your judgement.

Situation no 2 is one that quite often gets brought up, along with the fact that the Laws of the Game seem to have some slightly overlapping, although not really contradictory, instructions about such scenarios. The actual wording is as follows:

''If, when a free kick is taken, an opponent is closer to the ball than the required distance, the kick is retaken unless the advantage can be applied; but if a player takes a free kick quickly and an opponent who is less than 9.15 m (10 yds) from the ball intercepts it, the referee allows play to continue. However, an opponent who deliberately prevents a free kick being taken quickly must be cautioned for delaying the restart of play.''

So in this situation (and again, it's up to you to decide) if you thought that this was a case of a player taking the free kick quickly while the opponent was less that 10 yards away, you may indeed allow play to continue.

Read other questions answered by Referee Peter Grove

View Referee Peter Grove profile

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Barry
On the first one it is up to the referee to judge as to whether there was encroachment forward towards the ball or not. I watch plenty of situations where a kick has been knocked away by the wall and it can be difficult to judge if it is up and forward or up only. There can be a fine line between both. Certainly when it is blatant then there is no doubt that a retake is required.
On the second one it is also a matter of judgement. I personally get involved in such situations by moving the defender back informally from a distance away. Seven yards will look close and he should be encouraged to move whether it is asked for or not. It can be *No 9 move away please* and keep at him until the distance is achieved. The kicker can see that the referee is getting involved so he might delay. If the kicker want to go early with the free kick then he accepts the position of the kickers and play will continue whatever happens except where the opponents moves towards the ball which is then not an interception.
So my advice is to manage free kicks proactively. Get on the case pretty quickly and direct the opponents away from the ball to the required distance except where the kicker decides to go with a quick feee kick.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 31613
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.