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: 31789

Law 13 - Free Kicks 9/15/2017

Mike Essig of Fairfax, VA USA asks...

Free Kicks and Ceremonial Restarts:

While refereeing a U12 Girls competitive match, following a foul and the subsequent direct free kick, the defending team dropped about 8 yards and then asked for me to show them where 10 yards was. The attacking team did not look like they were going to quick restart. The kicker looked up at me as to say, 'yes, ref, where is 10 yards?' I told the kicker and defender that the kick was to be taken after my whistle and marched off 10 yards. Was I wrong, should I have waited for the kicker to ask for 10 yards?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Mike
As described no issue as to how it was handled and I am not sure of your concern.
As the kick was not taken quickly then it had become ceremonial once you intervened which makes it then on the whistle. It makes no difference about the request from the defending team. Had the kicking team decided to get on with the restart the kicker would have had to accept the defenders positions provided they did not encroach closer. Once the kicker mentioned 10 yards and the referee ntervenes it then makes it on the referees signal.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Mike, the moment you decided to intervene to CONTROL the distance you need to say plainly WAIT FOR THE WHISTLE! to all concerned.

Generally the attackers have the right o go quickly if they choose yet often they are equally happy to wait to set up and try a crack at goal on a set play .

The defenders have no rights except to withdraw & not be distracted by your intervention if you allow the restart to go forward with NO whistle!

Youth level refereeing is at times a teaching platform as much as it is a competitive game so the please do not interfere with tactical decisions by an overbearing referee, should we decide, to help guide them along can be well received or create issues.

You assumed by the body language of the kicker there was no desire for the attacking team to continue so you made a judgement call and taught ALL the ten yard distance. A nice break for the defenders perhaps, I see nothing horribly upsetting at such a decision.
We are asked to stay out of the mix whenever possible but at the youth level I think a bit more hands on is not the worst thing!

Read other questions answered by Referee Richard Dawson

View Referee Richard Dawson profile

Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Mike,
No, you should not wait for the attackers to ask for ten yards before enforcing it (if necessary). In fact there seems to be something of an 'urban myth' that the attacking team must ''ask for the ten'' whereas it is actually incumbent on the defenders to respect the required distance, whether requested or not.

The unfortunate fact is however that in the majority of cases, the defenders do not immediately retire the required distance and so the referee then has the duty to intervene to enforce the law (assuming the attackers are not going for a quick free kick). Let me just reiterate that the team taking the free kick does not have to request this - indeed the Laws do not explicitly give them the right to do so, although there is no particular problem if they do ask for it. Referees can also ask them if they want the distance enforced.

I see nothing wrong with the way you handled this.

Read other questions answered by Referee Peter Grove

View Referee Peter Grove profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 31789
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.