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Question Number: 32590

Law 13 - Free Kicks 7/13/2018

Sal Maniaci of SCS, MI United States asks...

On a free kick, does the ball have to come out the 18 yard line before it is touched.


Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Sal,
you are 100% correct my friend on any OUTGOING defending free kick from inside the defenders' own PA the ball must completely clear the PA boundary lines to be in active play. This includes Goal Kick INDFKs and DFKs taken anywhere inside the PA including the goal area. .A 2nd touch of the ball inside the PA by either attacker or defender results in a retake. A possible caution if it was tactical or timewasting.

An attacking free kick if a DFK will be a PK and an INDFK can not occur closer than the 6 yard goal area. The Ball does not need to clear the PA and can be immediately played once touched by the 1st kicker

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Sal
On all kicked restarts by the defending team inside the penalty area the ball must exit the area for it to be in play. If the ball does not exit or it is touched by any player inside the penalty area before it leaves the kick is retaken.
Many in the game think that this law only applies to goal kicks. Not so. I have had many players tell me over the years that it was not a goal kick so why did I bring it back for a retake when the ball was touched inside the PA!
There was such an incident in the WC game between England and Croatia late in the game. England was awarded an IDFK for offside inside the penalty area. Pickford the England goalkeeper passsed the ball to a team mate who was close to the GK inside the penalty area and the defender played the ball before it left the area. The AR flagged and the CR correctly ordered a retake of the IDFK.
In the scheme of things it was insignificant as Croatia had retreated away and ignored any challenge for the ball. Interestingly the retake was taken by Pickford from the wrong place outside the penalty area and the referee allowed play to continue. The referee though had to ensure that Law13 was enforced correctly.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Sal,
If you're talking about a free kick to a team inside their own penalty area then yes, the ball has to come out of that area before it can legally be touched by another player.

The law says that, ''for a free kick to the defending team in their penalty area [...] the ball is in play when it is kicked directly out of the penalty area''

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