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Question Number: 32385

Law 13 - Free Kicks 4/18/2018

RE: Competitive Under 19

RefMike of Lexington, Ohio USA asks...

On FK, if kicking team decided to play quick without stepoff, but defending team purposefully puts a player about a yard or 2 in front of kicker (obviously to delay), but kicking team doesn't ask them to move back with a ceremonial stepoff, is it a YC offense for defending team, or does kicking team accept this risk by playing fast?

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Mike,
it depends!

you know the LOTG demand the opposition move away a MINIMUN of ten yards, although t they can not do it instantaneously they should be making some effort!

The aggrieved team has right to go as quickly as they like however, although that could mean defenders within ten yards those defenders can not attempt to interfere in any way until the ball is IN play!

You stated clearly quote 'defending team purposefully puts a player about a yard or 2 in front of kicker (obviously to delay)' end quote
as a referee since you hold that opinion he best move or accept the consequences.

If the kicker decides to play it off to the side where they appear content to get on with it perhaps a word of warning to the delayful intentioned defender is all that is required.

That does not give the kicker the right to blast he ball at a too close opponent trying to draw the caution. As long as I see the defender moving away we have less reason to pull him up if he attempts to play the ball AFTER it is put in play but he steps into the ball path or makes any movement towards the kicker prior show the yellow card & CAUTION if he interferes with play is a guarantee.


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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Mike
This comes up from time to time and there is no black and white answer.
Many times we see teams try to place a player in front of the ball for delaying reasons. The kicking team may accept that as they want the kick to be ceremonial so it is of no great concern. At times though we see the kicker try to *engineer* a caution by aimlessly kicking the ball at the opponent. That rarely is a caution for me,
Other times we see the kicker try to get on earnestly with play and the opponent deliberately prevents that by stopping the kick. That is certainly a caution and a retake.
The other situation that happens from time to time is that the kicker accepts the position of opponents at the kick and goes with the quick kick. The kicking team must accept the outcome of the kick. Rarely would the kick happen though with an opponent within 2/3 yards as there is likely to be no advantage in playing fast in such circumstances. The only difficulty there is a switched on defender anticipates that by charging towards the ball on an advantageous start. That is a caution and a retake.
So it really is a judgement call for the referee and it can be everything from a retake, a retake and a caution or play continues.

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