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Question Number: 33627

High School 9/6/2019

RE: High School

Brian Meyer of Dayton, OH United States asks...

During a high school game I watched last night, the AR called a PK after a foul in the box. The players lined up, the ball was placed, the kicker and keeper all took their positions -- not quickly, at least 45 seconds or so elapsed. The referee signaled for the kicker to proceed, he made the kick past the outstretched arms of the keeper. The keeper then went to the AR and apparently said he wasn't ready. The AR huddled with the center ref, and they waived off the goal and called for a rekick (which was blocked). Isn't it the ref's responsibility to make sure the kicker and keeper are ready? Does he blow the whistle to signal the kicker may proceed? Never seen this in 20 years of watching soccer.

Answer provided by Referee Joe Manjone

As indicated in high school Rule 9-1-3, a second whistle is required to start play for a penalty kick. Normally, that whistle is not sounded until all players including the goalkeeper are in the proper position. The referee will also make certain that the AR is in proper position, and the AR has made eye contact with the referee indicating that the goalkeeper is also in proper position.

Why a whistle may have been blown to start play and then ruled a correctable error resulting in a re-kick being ordered does seem strange. However, the referee must have had a reason for doing it, and did so before restarting play which is allowed by NFHS Rule 5-2.

If you would have given me the game information, I would have tried to contact the referee to find out what had occurred. I am certain that he/she has a good reason for the correction.

I hope that your team has a successful fall season and will be OHSAA championship game on November 9th.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Brian,
You say the referee signalled for the kicker to proceed but you don't specify what form the signal took. As this is a high school game, NFHS Rules apply. These state that:

''A [...] whistle is required to restart play for the taking of a penalty kick ...''

So if the signal given was not a whistle, it could be that the goalkeeper was complaining on those grounds and the officials decided that a retake was the fairest way to proceed. If the signal was a whistle then I'm surprised that they would call for a retake since as you also point out, it is the job of the referee to make sure the players are ready and the referee should not have whistled (or signalled for that matter) if that were not the case.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Brian,
My esteemed colleagues have provided responses specific to high school - if anybody sees anything similar in a match played under the LOTG, my response will be specific to that rather than high school soccer.
This is a tricky one. The LOTG only state that a signal is required for a PK to commence. Usually this is a whistle, but this particular part of the laws doesn't specify.
There's a supplementary section to the laws which provides additional guidance which states that a whistle must be used to restart play for the PK.
While IFAB have advised us that this is only a recommendation (thus any signal is sufficient), the wording in this supplementary section is confusing as to whether the whistle is required or simply recommended.
This would change things. If it was required, then I think there's a valid argument that the kick needs to be retaken . If only recommended, then assuming some signal was given (such as a verbal signal), the lack of whistle does not justify a retake.
From your question I can think of 2 possibilities. The first is that the keeper made the argument to the AR about the lack of whistle, and the AR convinced the referee that the whistle was required (and the way the Laws and the additional guidelines are worded, this is a reasonable interpretation).
The second possibility is that the restart had nothing to do with the whistle and it may be tied to something else - perhaps an attacking player encroached, or perhaps one of the attackers (possibly, but not necessarily, including the kicker) broke the laws - perhaps the kicker did a stop/start run, maybe somebody shouted to put the keeper off (though this would warrant a caution). Just another possibility.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Brian, hmmm you say the referee signaled for the PK kicker to proceed? What was the signal? In a normal IFAB/FIFA match the fact the referee had signaled would likely be sufficient, be it a verbal 'GO!'or an arm motion. EVEN though the whistle is most definitely recommended. If no whistle was used, given the mechanics of high school protocols might be stricter in this regard than FIFA, perhaps the keeper pointed it out? The officials were in agreement the restart had proceeded incorrectly and thus needed to be retaken? Whether it was for no whistle or as my colleague Ref Wright aptly points out, for something unrelated, encroachment by attackers could also be a reason? It looks like the defending team caught a break.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Brian
All that I can think of is that the kicker proceeded without a whistle for the kick to be taken and that the referee gave another signal such as an arm wave?
Now this is all about mechanics and if the goalkeeper was ready, the kicker was ready and the correct signal given then for me the first kick was good. The goalkeeper cannot say he was not ready particularly when he dives with arms outstretched.
However I expect the goalkeeper through his complaint about maybe the lack of a whistle gamed the rules situation to his advantage and a retake.
There is a requirement for a whistle in NFHS so if there was no whistle then the mechanics were incorrect.
So while the goalkeeper was probably not at a disadvantage, the no whistle protest by the goalkeeper, if that is what happened, had to stand.
If all the mechanics were correct and the correct whistle signal given then the goal should have stood.

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