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Question Number: 32299

Law 13 - Free Kicks 3/12/2018

RE: Competitive Adult

Matt Lawrence of Dallas, TX United States asks...

This question is a follow up to question 22898

Regarding wall placement in a goal scoring opportunity... if the rules state that the wall must be 10 yards away, and the estimation of the referee is more like 12 yards, why is the defense not entitled to ask for a pace off if the offense is allowed to ask for their ten? 12 yards and 10 yards is a pretty big difference in favor of the offense. Shouldnt fair and just go both ways?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Matt
Most referees use a pacing method to determine the 10 yards. My 10 paces equate to exactly 10 yards. I have also over many years of looking at 10 yards know if a wall is 10 yards or not.
I also find that teams ensure that the 10 yards are in place by questioning anything that looks *different*

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Matt,
if you READ the LOTG note that is ACTUALLY states the wall must be at LEAST ten yards there is absolutely NOTHING preventing it to be more except for the dissent likely to occur! lol The only exclusion is that within the PA a free kick can have the wall as close as 6 yards away.

Until the ball is in play all opponents must remain:
at least 9.15 m (10 yds.) from the ball, unless they are on their own goal line
between the goalposts
outside the penalty area for free kicks inside the opponents' penalty area

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Matt,
Here is a list of what the team that has just committed an illegal act, in contravention of the Laws of the Game is entitled to. Nothing, zero, nada, zilch - I think you get the picture. What they do have is the obligation to retire as quickly as possible, to at least the minimum distance required by the law.

As ref Dawson says, the distance mentioned in the law is a minimum - once again there is no requirement that the wall be placed at exactly ten yards away. Having said that, I have rarely seen a situation where a referee has deliberately enforced a distance much in excess of ten yards - and certainly not by the margin you suggest.

In fact I would say it's almost invariably the case that the team that was already in the wrong, tries to breach the law again by not retiring the required distance and that certainly in the case of free kicks within shooting distance, the referee usually has to intervene to force them back.

Also, when you talk about being fair, when you have one team that has committed an offence and another team that has done nothing wrong, I think that what is fair is for the referee to ensure that the attacking opportunity is restored to the team that was offended against, as expeditiously as possible.

As you can probably tell, I feel quite strongly about this issue and I have to say that for me, you are looking at it from quite the wrong perspective.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Matt,
The referee here has made a decision that a particular mark on the field in 10 yards from the ball. Arguing with the referee over this point is dissent - no different to arguing about any other decision.

No team has the 'right' to force the referee to second guess themselves. Also, I guarantee that the referee has a lot more experience measuring out 10 yards than you do!

What defenders usually try to argue is 10 yards is often 6-8 yards. 10 yards is longer than many people think. Perhaps you should trust that the person who has measured out 10 yards probably hundreds of times has a pretty good idea of it.

I've taught myself to effectively estimate it visually instead of stepping it out. I've stopped doing that because it caused so many arguments, even though that makes no sense. What does stepping it out prove? I can make my steps as small or as large as I like. I've always thought the defender's obsession with the referee stepping it out was a bit weird!

As another example, when the ball is near pitch markings I often use those markings. For instance, if the ball is 2 yards out from the edge of the Penalty Arc, then the wall is 2 yards in front of the Penalty Mark. This reiterates my earlier observation of defenders often not realising just how far 10 yards is - because every time without fail the defenders argue about the distance, yet it's marked out with pitch markings!

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