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Question Number: 31841

Law 13 - Free Kicks 9/29/2017

RE: competive Adult

Gary of nashua, nh usa asks...

What would be the restart if, after blowing my whistle for a ceremonial dfk restart to be taken, the kicking team grabs and tries to reposition the ball....?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Gary
The restart does not change and the best advise is to do nothing other than the referee should step in to restart everything again after the new reset. Sometimes the ball moves /rolls perhaps into a small depression and the kicker is concerned about that. Sometimes it is gamesmanship to get the opponents to switch off and we are not really too concerned (once we step in to reset it) with the exception of deliberate delaying of the restart of play in which case it is a caution for the player that repositions the ball. If the player is trying to steal yards then the referee can take a dim view of that action with a card also.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Gary,
you might have noticed the FOAM spray cans elite officials now use to mark BALL position for the restart and wall position for the defenders. It was because each time the referee turned his back to do one or the other either the ball was rolled to a new position to counter the wall position or the wall encroached upon the ball.

The blade of grass restart is one we like to adhere to once the restart location is a scoring proposition we are pretty flexible for just getting play rolling again.
In cases where you are ceremonial we likely have a shot at the goal so placement WILL be a factor, that said, a bit of wind a divot hole a wet patch could affect the kicker. To put off the opposition a bed down fool around repositioning using the hands to relax their poise a second is a possibility but it is better than using their feet to sole roll it back as that could create a false start and encroachment issues. It is a stretch to see it as cautionable delaying their own restart but not without precedent . Leave the ball alone lets get on with it!

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Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

How far are they trying to move it, and why?

If it's significantly out of place, stop them and make them move the ball back to the correct position.

If it looks like they're trying some gamesmanship to confound the other team, stop them and make them wait for the whistle again.

If they're just moving the ball an inch or two to get it away from that annoying clump of grass or divot, and it only takes them a second or two - what does it hurt? No intervention needed.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Gary,
If the ball is out of play at a free kick, nothing that happens can change the restart - it is still a free kick to the team you originally awarded it to.

If the ball was moved significantly far away from its original position the referee should call a halt to proceedings and get them to reposition it - if it's only an inch or two it could be overlooked.

There are a couple of scenarios where you might consider cautioning a player: if you judge that the player's actions constitute unsporting behaviour or delaying the restart. In terms of USB I am reminded of an incident where PSG's David Luiz scooped up the foam the referee had sprayed on the pitch to mark the position of the kick and put the foam in a different position to gain an unfair competitive advantage. Unfortunately for anyone who believes in respecting the Laws of the Game, the referee did not spot what amounts to an act of cheating and Luiz got away with it.

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