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Question Number: 33455

Law 16 - The Goal Kick 6/18/2019

RE: Rec/Select/HS/Adult Other

Sarah of Fair Oaks Ranch, Texas United States asks...

Under the old Laws, if an Attacking Player did not have time to leave the PA before a quick Goal Kick was taken, he could not be the first person to play the ball when it left the PA. Under the new Laws, it seems that an Attacking Player still in the PA can stand right next to the ball and as soon as it is touched and moved, he can play it - no additional touch is required.
This seems to give an advantage to a player who lingers in the PA rather than retreating as he is supposed to do. If a player is repeatedly slow to exit the PA or intentionally lingers (thereby delaying the restart), I assume it would be appropriate to Caution for Delaying (or have I mis-interpreted the new Law)?

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Sarah ,
No I think you have it about right. All outgoing free kicks no longer have to leave the PA prior to being touched but the opposition is STILL required to be ten yards as well as outside the PA. What I am wanting to see is when an overeager keeper puts the ball down and kicks it into the back of the head of a retreating opponent NOT yet outside the PA and the ball goes into the goal.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Sarah
Attacking players are still required to leave the penalty area for a goal kick and in the case of free kick to be also outside and 10 yards away.
In the situation where a defending player decides to take a quick kick they do so in the full knowledge that the ball is in play when it is kicked and moved. It is akin to the quick free kick. To intercept it is legal yet to prevent it is a caution and a retake.
So in practice one would expect that usually the goalkeeper would not take a kick that runs the high risk of being intercepted.
I suppose that once players get to know the new change that we do not see an extension of the opponent running in front of the ball like what currently happens outfield on a free kick. Time will tell.
As it currently stands the regular goalkick requires opponents to leave the penalty area without delay. The quick kick is at the discretion of the kicker and is in play when it kicks and moves with no restriction on opponents inside or outside the area.
So far from what I have seen it has worked well with no issues so far. No doubt the outliers will soon appear and then it gets interesting.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Sarah,
I think you have correctly understood this new amendment and have recognized some of the potential flaws in it. Just as players who are supposed to retreat 10 yards from a free kick often do not do so and are often not penalised when they remain closer than the law allows (apart from 'ceremonial' free kicks) I suspect that attackers may be able to get away with remaining in the penalty area in a similar fashion, under the pretence that they didn't have time to leave, and not get penalised either. Unless the referee intervenes to make them leave the penalty area (and as mentioned, they rarely do it for free kicks unless they're making them ceremonial) such players would then indeed be free to play the ball as soon as it moves.

As ref McHugh says, so far it doesn't seem to have caused any problems but I suspect that we will see examples of this happening before too very long, once players start to realise they have a chance of winning the ball back in a very dangerous area and getting away with it.

The trouble as I see it (and it seems you've seen the same thing) is that once the referee has decided to let the 'quick goal kick' go ahead despite the presence of the attacker inside the area, the attacker then has free rein.

The law does say that the kick is retaken if the player ''touches or challenges for the ball before it is in play'' but since the ball is in play basically as soon as it is kicked, that would almost never happen as it would mean in effect that the kick is only retaken if they touch or challenge for the ball before it is even taken in the first place.

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