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: 31967

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 10/31/2017

RE: Rec Adult

Rich of London, London United Kingdom asks...

Hi, thanks for your help with this.

A player on Team A is moving towards the ball, but has his path impeded by a stationary member of Team B. Is it foul by the player on Team B?

To add some context; the player on Team B is aware that the player from Team B is making efforts to get to the ball, they are looking in their direction and decide not to move. Essentially they are employing the 'screen' or 'set a pick' tactic from basketball to nullify the Team A player.

When I look at the rules it seems to suggest that obstruction only occurs when the Team B player actively moves to obstruct the Team A player.

I'd be very grateful for your thoughts and also if you are able to guide me to the relevant rule that governs this scenario.

Many thanks


Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Rich
One on the tenets of the game is that players are entitled to their position on the field of play. In other words they are not obliged to move out of the way of opponents. However neither can they move into an opponents path to obstruct, block, slow down or force a change of direction when the ball is not within playing distance of either player. If there is no contact it is impeding which has an IDFK restart and with contact it is holding which has a direct free kick restart.
Now some teams use this tactic of setting players in certain positions at set plays. So there is nothing wrong with a player standing without moving which makes an opponent move around the player. Once there is movement to impede then it is an offence.
An example would be placing a forward in front of the goalkeeper at a corner kick. The GK may have to move around the static player to get to the ball and as long as there is no movement to impede their is no offence.
We also see it with say four attackers stood close together at a corner kick with only two moving and the other two just standing there. No offence in standing there yet once their is movement to impede the opponents it is an offence.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

Impeding means I can't move to get into your way. It doesn't mean that if I'm already there, I must move out of your way.

Granted if you use a herd of players to form a blockade (for example, 5 players surrounding the goalkeeper at a corner kick) that isn't legal. But that's the exception, not the general case.

Read other questions answered by Referee Gary Voshol

View Referee Gary Voshol profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 31967
Read other Q & A regarding Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct

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.