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Question Number: 31956

Law 13 - Free Kicks 10/29/2017

RE: Intermediate Under 14

Phil of Tarzana, CA United States asks...

This question is a follow up to question 31947

I looked for the actual video, but couldn't find it. In the Athletic Bilbao v. FC Barcelona on 10/28/17, Umtiti got booked for time wasting. It started in the 80th minute of play, when Umtiti won a free kick.

There was a defender standing about 4-6 feet away & Umtiti points to him. The defender puts his arms out like 'I'm not doing anything' & backs up about a yard. He's clearly still within 5 yards of Umtiti.

I understand that Barcelona wanted to use up time, but it seems to me that Umtiti had a right to have 10 yards & to ask the ref to move the defender back & even make the kick ceremonial.

I never see any defender, at the professional level, get booked for delaying a restart. Why is that? And why would Umtiti get booked when the defender clearly was within 5 yards?

Thanks in advance,

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Phil
I watched the game live in real time. Umtiti*s reaction might easily have resulted in a red card as he clapped the referee after he produced the yellow card for delaying the restart. Interestingly by the time the kick was taken a significant amount of further time was used up.
At this stage of the game Barcelona were starting to slow down the restarts. Referees know that at this level a player within 5 yards at a free kick is no big deal for Pro players and a team like Barca will get on with play promptly should it want to even with a player beside the ball. Teams like Barca play pass and movement games, possession games and as part of that tactic they like to see the ball being put back into play quickly during the game. Umtiti made a number of silly movements to restart and each time did nothing which at this level stuck out as unusual given their normal style. In my opinionr the closest opponent did not affect the restart. Rakotic made himself available for a pass yet was ignored by Umtiti. When he finally took the free kick after the caution he kicked it 30 yards backwards to the goalkeeper.
As a Pro referee once said * Do not look to the Pro game as a good example of refereeing* This was a case in point. A grassroots player will want as much time and distance as possible at a free kick. A Barca Pro players needs only a few yards.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Phil,
there is a show on the telly called Ridiculousness which as the name indicates is precisely a series of idiotic or strange or unusual or just bizarre behaviour situation and choices. I await the show when the topic is soccer /football players! There are some just awful decisions and choices made that boggle every referees' mind as to why we choose to participate in such foolery!

I personally take a dim view of free kicks being delayed but sadly & likely due to pressure for TV and entertainment purposes these extra type cautions can tend to send off too many players as most will have reckless tackle in there as well. The tolerance level shown to disrupt free kicks one simply can not use the professional matches as a barometer for youth. Shall we say a lot of weak mentoring going on now a days!

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