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Question Number: 33154

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 3/16/2019

Petr of Prague, Czech Republic Czech Republic asks...


my question is about wasting time situations close to the corner flag. Can opponent leave the field and from there challenge for the ball?

Thank you very much!

Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Petr,
Absolutely! The laws allow players to leave the field as part of normal play, so running around a player to challenge from the other side would be part of that.

It's surprising more players don't think of this - but I guess it's safest just to hold the attacker up and block his run.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Petr,
Yes they can. The law says that it is not an offence for a player to leave the field as part of a playing movement, which this assuredly is. You do occasionally see this and it is never penalised but as ref Wright says, it doesn't happen as often as you might expect.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Petr
There is no issue about a player leaving the field of play to challenge for the ball in the corner area. It is seen as part of a playing motion. Many times I am surprised that players do not do this instead of challenging from the rear only which can end up as a foul. I know that players have been coached to approach opponents from the goal side yet when there is two defenders it makes sense for one to go around the player and challenge from the front side. In my opinion there is less of a chance of the defender fouling in those instances.
In a recent ECL game I saw a defender go around the attacker in this manner to challenge from the front of the opponent which made absolute sense and smarter play. It did work as I recall the ball was played immediately. Even if the attacker moved away infield it achieved the goal of getting the ball available again in open play, out of the corner area.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Petr,
nothing prevents this except a practical decision or tactical choice you as a defender must make! If you are a single defender you do not want to expose the space in-behind you towards your own goal, hence we block that dribbling option or outlet pass.

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