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Question Number: 32297

Law 13 - Free Kicks 3/12/2018

RE: Rec Adult

Andrew of Wilmington, Nc Usa asks...

I was an AR for an adult league game this weekend. The attacking team was awarded a direct free kick just outside the penalty area. The defense was getting the wall setup. After about 10-15 seconds after the whistle for the foul, the attackers took the free kick and scored (the ref did not now whistle for a restart not indicate they should wait on his whistle, more did attackers ask for 10 yards). I was under the impression that if the free kick is to be retaken quickly, it needs to be taken and not delayed. If there was a delay, the ref should have made it a ceremonial restart. Am I mistaken in my thinking? Thanks for your advice. As a new ref I really appreciate your insights.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Andrew
Technically it only becomes ceremonial when the referee has intervened. So there is nothing in the Laws or advice about a delay requiring a whistle.
What has happened is that many referees when the free kick is not taken quickly step in to make it ceremonial which is more for the referees benefit than for the offended against team. It stops the complaint about no whistle.
I would say that 10-15 seconds is a rather long time and no doubt the referee was involved there in some way. If there is going to be a QFK the referee should not be there and it should be reasonably quickly. How long that time should be is a matter of opinion.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Andrew,
welcome to the ranks of the b&@#%* in black. I hope you have a long and fun career, developing the spidery tingling gut sensations that makes you aware of what's going on, the necessary thick skin, tempered with compassion, edged with good humour, supported by courage, a ready smile and a sense of integrity & respect!

As to your question,
unless YOU as the referee have DIRECTLY intervened then the free kick is well, free to be taken. But lets get a move on, 15 seconds, wasting time is not the same as using time.

Keep in mind if you as referee are monitoring the proceedings. You will see if the opposition are deliberately compressing the space making the free kick impossible or if the attackers are content to let time drag given they are in no hurry. This stalling behaviour is cautionable to a certain extent and a referee should act on principal for those who totally ignore the ten yards or are forcing a delay of the restart

The key point here is your involvement and your non involvement sends a message.

There is a point of discrepancy as to what IS unacceptable referee involvement thus an unfair distraction by the referee. I hold the opinion that if a referee issues a simple verbal warming such as, 'Ten yards gentlemen!' or 'Back off!' or 'Do we have a problem? trying to let play flow without carding those who seem to be slowing thing down it is NOT in my opinion enough involvement that we are going to be ceremonial and require the whistle.

There is a long held stance that a referee should say nothing at all, only react to what the players are doing. I like to be proactive and not find reasons to card but as it suits my character, a referee must be comfortable in their own skin. I hold a very definite pregame speech when I talk to the teams before kick off .I do not carry foam but aside from, I am not perfect but fair and my ARS are untouchable speech I make a very specific announcement that free kicks are free and those who think otherwise are in for a surprise if they are not.

By directly intervening the conditions are:
- you have STATED & SHOWN by your actions for the record we are waiting for the whistle whether or not ten yards was asked for in the beginning by the attacking team.
-if you were to show a card for the initial misconduct o any further misconduct prior to restart, in my opinion, this is the same as being asked for ten yards, you would make the free kick ceremonial.

Upon being asked for the ten yards or acting on your own accord.
You either retrieve the ball or stand in front of the ball
You get eye contact with the kicker
You hold the whistle aloft and point to it stating loudly we are NOT restarting UNTIL I blow this whistle Understand?
You get a confirmation YES or NO be it a head shake or verbal if he understands what you are telling him. If you are a foam guy you mark the spot for the ball and pace the ten yards away to set the line.
ONLY when you are satisfied all is well do you blow the whistle to restart play.
You would hold the attacker who kicks too soon accountable if they go before your whistle or waits way too long after the whistle indicating he is to go.
You do the same AFTER the whistle if the opposition rush in before the kick is taken putting the ball in play.

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