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Question Number: 31672

Law 13 - Free Kicks 8/3/2017

RE: recreational Adult

ronald dodds of Battle Mountain, nevada usa asks...

positioning of defenders for fouls in goal box.US women vs. Brazil - defenders were at a 45degree angle from the front post. In a Tottenham game they were square to the front post. What is right?

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Ronald,
Not 100% sure of what you are asking but if it is an INDFK being taken within ten yards of the goal the only spot the defenders are legally permitted to stand is inside the goal along the goal line , under the crossbar between the posts

If the restart point is at angle to the goal the wall may well bend out away from the goal line but the referee must ensure the players are ten yards away from the restart point.

If the INDFK is inside the goal area the INDFK is ALWAYs taken straight back to the edge of the 6 yard goal area line that parallels the actual goal line.

If for example the INDFK occurred on the outer edge extremity say at the corner of the goal area the direct distance to the near post itself is almost 8 and 1/2 yards as the goal is 8 yards across the distance to the far post is over 15 yards so the wall could leave the goal line at about 2 yards away from the near post at an angle and be the required ten yards away.

Whereas if the INDFK was taken say mid point 6 yards away it is only about 7 yards to each post . Any INDFK out in front of the goal along the goal area line up to just out side the posts about 5 yards either side of the midpoint it is less or no more than= t0 than ten yards from the restart point.

In all truthfulness I see far too much movement early and no were near the ridged enforcement required to ensure the defenders are not encroaching ahead of the free kick. The defenders must be 10 yards away in ALL directions and if not ONLY on the goal line between the posts and under the cross bar period! Also some restart locations that occur on the 6 yard goal area line perpendicular but not at least 6 yards out from the goal line itself to be incorrectly placed.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Ronald
All defending players must be either on the goal line between the posts OR else 10 yards from the ball. In the US v Brazil game the players should have been moved back to the goal line and as a result those at the angle not on the goal line were not 10 yards. At best those not on the goal line were 8 yards from the ball.
The correct legal positioning was to make a line with the vanishing spray at 10 yards and intersecting the goal line at probably an obtuse angle of 135 degree some two yards from the front post.
Now it is never easy for a referee with such an unusual restart to get the defenders properly positioned. There were two defending players on or close to the six yard line that I estimate could not have been more than 6 yards from the ball. While they did not get immediately involved in play they were certainly preventing a ball being played squarely to open up the angle and also present on the follow up.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Ronald,
Law 13 says that at any free kick, ''all opponents must remain at least 9.15 m (10 yds) from the ball, unless they are on their own goal line between the goalposts''

It also specifies that ''indirect free kicks to the attacking team for an offence inside the opponents' goal area are taken from the nearest point on the goal area line which runs parallel to the goal line''

So for an offence committed inside a defending team's own goal area, the ball should be on the goal area line that is parallel to the goal line and depending on the exact position of the kick, some opponents could be on the goal line and some (those positioned where the goal line is more than ten yards from the ball) can be in front of the line.

This means that for an IFK on the corner of the goal area the first few defenders would have to be on the goal line while those further away from the post could be slightly in front of the line. I can't see where a wall starting at the post and then coming out at 45 degrees to the line, would meet the requirements of the law.

For the Tottenham game you refer to, if it's the one I'm thinking of, it was a case where the referee got the position of the IFK wrong and positioned the ball on the goal area line that is at 90 to the goal line and having positioned the ball wrongly, then allowed the wall to be perpendicular to the goal line, which is also wrong.

Unfortunately I have seen a number of instances recently where referees have made the same mistake as the one in the Tottenham game. This is probably because IFK offences inside the goal area are relatively rare but still, at the level where these mistakes have occurred, it really shouldn't happen.

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