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Question Number: 32367

Law 13 - Free Kicks 4/13/2018

RE: Competitive Under 15

Elkin Vanegas of Revere, Massachusetts USA asks...

In a game,of 'Copa Sudamericana' I did watch a game, and in a 'direct free kick', 3 yards, outside the 18 yards, the kicker, moves the ball with his foot to his right for about one yard (it makes that the wall, does not bother him to pass the ball just besides the last man(that covers that post) in the wall, then. the same player, kick the ball and scored the goal, the referee, validate the goal, is there any changes?, I believe he is not supposed to touch the ball twice(move the ball to one side and then Kick the ball),I believe it is permitted for a team mate to move the ball to another team mate and not for the same kicker.

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Elkin,
A restart is NOT always a blade of grass restart but when the free kick is within a scoring range generally the location should not be trifled with . It is in fact the very REASON the officials now carry foam cans to mark the locations . Given how the speciality free kick takers can swerve and dip the ball even a few inches can be the difference so a foot is big deal.

I dislike players keeping their foot on the ball rolling it around. I prefer they place the ball then step away to await the whistle if we are ceremonial in nature or to then kick it if a quick kick is on the table.

Now to reposition the ball using the foot is in my opinion a very poor idea as it could represent the idea the ball IS possibly in play.
If it was seen to be a tap, then a the kick that follows could be perceived as a double touch it becomes an INDFK for the opposition.

That said in any situation the referee as the sole arbitrator of neutral justice his decision as a fact of play decides if the action was acceptable to him or not! His Decision His Match His Reputation!


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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Elkin
Some players have a habit of positioning the ball for restarts with the foot. I recall Ryan Giggs of Manchester United always used his foot to move the ball into position at a restart and never used his hands. Here is the player taking a corner
Now clearly a player cannot play a ball twice at a restart yet there is nothing wrong with using a foot to position the ball and then taking the kick. As Referee Dawson points out the only difficulty is the possibility of opponents thinking that the ball is in play with the foot action. The important part for me is that after positioning the ball with the foot is at rest and that it is understood that there is no possibility of a double touch or playing a moving ball or that there is an unsporting element to the movement to disadvantage the opponents. If it is a ceremonial free kick no kick can take place until the referee gives a signal for that to happen which means no movement of the ball after the whistle without the referees express permission.
In the video if the corner kick was an ordinary free kick there would be nothing technically wrong with the way the kick was taken.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Elkin,
When a wall has been formed and the referee is managing the restart/enforcing the required distance, the law says that a whistle is needed to indicate when the kick is to be taken. So any movement of the ball before the whistle would not count as a 'double touch' offence. After the whistle sounds however, the player taking the kick is not allowed extra touches.

Having said that and although a small readjustment of the ball before the whistle is probably OK, once the referee has indicated where the kick is to be taken from (using 'vanishing spray' if this is authorised for use) the ball should not be moved a significant distance, in my opinion at least.

There have been a couple of incidents where players have moved the spray foam and the ball in an apparent attempt to put the ball in a position that would make it easier for the kicker to get the ball around or over the wall - for me this is unsporting behaviour and should not be allowed.

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