Entries related to Law 18 – Common Sense

Question:
Goal is scored in the closing seconds of the game. Referee sets up with a restart and blows the whistle for the match ending. As a referee exits the field the losing coach complains that that goal was scored after time had run out. The referee confers with this ARs and decide that he did play more than the allotted time.

Question is once a referee signals the end of the game, can he change facts.

Answer (March 30, 2014)
No, the referee cannot change the facts of the Game or his decisions once the game has been terminated (declared over). Law 5 is quite clear on this matter. Under Decisions of the Referee, the Law states:
The referee may only change a decision on realising that it is incorrect or, at his discretion, on the advice of an assistant referee or the fourth official, provided that he has not restarted play or terminated the match.

CALLING OFFSIDE

March 22, 2014

Question:
Not to reopen a can of worms but I had one question with regard to an offsides infraction.

Strictly interpreting law 11, it seems possible that an attacking player can be in an offsides position on the opponents half of the field, and an offsides infraction can occur if he/she receives a pass (across the halfway line) from a teammate. I’ve never seen this penalty called and been told by several coaches that it is not a violation.

How should referees interpret this situation?

Answer (March 22, 2014):
Coaches are not the best source for information about offside or any other infringements of the Laws. Yes, a player who is in an offside position at the moment the ball is played by his/her teammate and then receives that ball is indeed considered to be offside. It makes no difference if the teammate who played the ball to the player in the offside position was in his/her own half or in the opponents’ half of the field. It also makes no difference if the player in the offside position returns from the offside position to his/her own half to receive the ball. It’s still offside. The indirect free kick is given at the place here the player was when the teammate played the ball.

HEADGEAR IN HAND A FOUL?

March 10, 2014

Question:
In a recent match I had, a female player had her head gear off and in her hands while playing the ball and challenged by an opponent. I stopped the game and gave an indirect free kick to the opposing team for stopping the game, but did not give a caution.

Was I correct in the decision or did I misapply the laws? I could not find an answer in the law book or in advice to referees.

My question is, is it permissible for players to play with items in their hands such as head gear, water bottles, shin guards, cleats / boots, or an miscellaneous items while in possession of the ball and being challenged by an opponent? If not, what is the punishment and restart?

Answer March 8, 2014):
If the player did not use her headgear (not yet legal for anyone other than the goalkeeper) to play the ball or to ward off the opponent, then no offense has been committed. However, the referee should ensure that she replaces or legally disposes of the headgear as quickly as possible. If no offense has been committed, play is not stopped. If the player (other than the goalkeeper within her own penalty area) uses the headgear to play the ball, it is deliberate handling. If she uses the headgear to play the opponent, it is either holding or pushing. Deal with such infringements in accordance with the Laws.

NOTE: My sincere apology to the person who asked this question: I forgot to post it. The best part is that it is relted to the one I anssered this morning, q.v.
Question:
Team A wins a corner on the bench side. I’m positioned at the intersection of near side penalty arc and penalty area (solo ref).

Team A player goes to retrieve the ball. While Team A player retrieves the ball, his teammate exits the field from the near side goal line, jogs around the goal, then re-enters the field from the far side goal-line. I made eye contact with the attacker and let him back on play. Team A then took the corner kick and play resumed as normal.

It seemed as if the attacker did not want to go through the congested goal area. Could this be considered “trickery”?

Should I have cautioned the attacker for leaving the field without permission? And if I was going for a State 5/6 level, would this be an automatic fail in itself?

Answer (September 3, 2013):
A good question and one answered within the Laws themselves. This answer will be considered “wrong” by many purists, but it is founded in fact. What you describe is surely an unusual play, and the correctness of the decision to allow play to restart hinges entirely on the matter of congestion and the referee’s interpretation of the word “accidental.” If the area was indeed so congested as to present a barrier to the player’s becoming involved in the upcoming play, then what he did was fine — and no assessor can say otherwise. See “Interpretation of the Laws of the Game and Guidelines for Referees” (in the back of the Law book):
If a player accidentally crosses one of the boundary lines of the field of play, he is not deemed to have committed an infringement. Going off the field of play may be considered to be part of a playing movement .

This matter was also covered to some extent in the old Advice to Referees on the Laws of the Game (2012/2013), though this concerns the ball being in play, rather than a stoppage in play:
3.9 LEAVING THE FIELD IN THE COURSE OF PLAY
Players are normally expected to remain on the field while the ball is in play, leaving only to retrieve a ball or when ordered off by the referee. If a player accidentally passes over one of the boundary lines of the field of play or if a player in possession of or contesting for the ball passes over the touch line or the goal line without the ball to beat an opponent, he or she is not considered to have left the field of play without the permission of the referee. This player does not need the referee’s permission to return to the field.

Categories: Law 18 - Common Sense

Question:
Team A wins a corner on the bench side. I’m positioned at the intersection of near side penalty arc and penalty area (solo ref).

Team A player goes to retrieve the ball. While Team A player retrieves the ball, his teammate exits the field from the near side goal line, jogs around the goal, the re-enters the field from the far side goal-line. I made eye contact with the attacker and let him back on play. Team A then took the corner kick and play resumed as normal.

It seemed as if the attacker did not want to go through the congested goal area. Could this be considered “trickery”?

Should I have cautioned the attacker for leaving the field without permission? And if I was going for a State 5/6 level, would this be an automatic fail in itself?

Answer (September 3, 2013):
A good question and one answered within the Laws themselves. This answer will be considered “wrong” by many purists, but it is founded in fact. What you describe is surely an unusual play, and the correctness of the decision to allow play to restart hinges entirely on the matter of congestion and the referee’s interpretation of the word “accidental.” If the area was indeed so congested as to present a barrier to the player’s becoming involved in the upcoming play, then what he did was fine — and no assessor can say otherwise. See “Interpretation of the Laws of the Game and Guidelines for Referees” (in the back of the Law book):

If a player accidentally crosses one of the boundary lines of the field of play, he is not deemed to have committed an infringement. Going off the field of play may be considered to be part of a playing movement.

This matter was also covered to some extent in the old Advice to Referees on the Laws of the Game (2012/2013), though this concerns the ball being in play, rather than a stoppage in play:

3.9 LEAVING THE FIELD IN THE COURSE OF PLAY
Players are normally expected to remain on the field while the ball is in play, leaving only to retrieve a ball or when ordered off by the referee. If a player accidentally passes over one of the boundary lines of the field of play or if a player in possession of or contesting for the ball passes over the touch line or the goal line without the ball to beat an opponent, he or she is not considered to have left the field of play without the permission of the referee. This player does not need the referee’s permission to return to the field.

Categories: Law 18 - Common Sense

Question:
What is legal verbal deception? While a forward was breaking to goal 30 yards out unchallenged, a defending midfielder called, “Here. Back to me.”, and the attacker stopped and passed the ball back to the opponent. Checking with our SDI and USSF I am told this is legal deception today: the attacker is totally responsible for his actions. Evidently this is not ATR 12.28.1 UNSPORTING BEHAVIOR “If a member of the defending team verbally distracts an opponent during play or at a restart”; this addresses shouting or startling the attacker. But how about verbal deception by an attacker – which is not mentioned in ATR 12.28.1? Is attacker verbal deception okay? Is it unsporting for an attacker to call for the ball from a defender, and successfully receive it?

Answer (August 22, 2013):
Interestingly enough, there is a dichotomy here: The team with the ball is allowed to use deceptive methods and language to further its play, but the defending team does not have that benefit. Your SDI is clearly wrong. I do not know with whom you spoke at USSF, but if anyone there said the defender’s tactic is legal, he or she was clearly overindulging in the use of forbidden substances.

Since at least 2000, the Federation has stated numerous times that such tactics by the defending team or interjections of false instructions by coaches are anathema, i.e., forbidden under pain of punishment for misconduct. The correct action for the referee is to stop play (unless the advantage can be applied), caution the player for unsporting behavior (or eject the coach for any such irresponsible behavior) and restart with an indirect free kick from the place where the ball was when the misconduct occurred (see Law 13 – Position of free kick; ). If the evildoer was the coach or other team official, the restart is a dropped ball at the place where the ball was located when play was stopped, unless play was stopped inside the goal area, in which case the referee drops the ball on the goal area line parallel to the goal line at the point nearest to where the ball was located when play was stopped.

While appearing relatively innocuous, using the words “mine” or “Here, to me” can be a deceitful way of calling for the ball. If a player cannot see the player who calls “mine,” there is always the possibility that the calling player is an opponent, seeking to gain an advantage over the player who cannot see him. If there is any opponent nearby, players should say “keeper’s ball” or “Jerry’s ball” or something more specific, just to avoid such problems.

The offense, if there is any, can be determined only in the opinion of the referee. Any player trying to cheat in this way should be penalized. The offense is unsporting behavior, punishable by a caution/yellow card and an indirect free kick for the other team (see above). The player who makes an innocent mistake of calling ‘mine’ can be corrected without cards.

For your (and your SDI’s) further education, here is an update of a paper I wrote in 2002 that was published in the former USSF referee newsmagazine, Fair Play.

Affecting Play (updated August 16, 2013)
Jim Allen
USSF National Instructor Staff (Ret.)

Using “devious” means to affect the way play runs can be perfectly legal. The referee must recognize and differentiate between the “right” and “wrong” ways of affecting play, so that he or she does not interfere with the players’ right to use legitimate feints or ruses in their game.

The desire to score a goal and win the game often produces tactical maneuvers, ploys, and feints designed to deceive the opponent. These can occur either while the ball is in play or at restarts. Those tactics used in restarts are just as acceptable as they would be in the normal course of play, provided there is no action that qualifies as unsporting behavior or any other form of misconduct. The team with the ball is allowed more latitude than its opponents because this is accepted practice throughout the world, and referees must respect that latitude when managing the game.

Play can be affected in three ways and each will probably occur in any normal game. In descending order of acceptability under the Laws of the Game, they are: influence, gamesmanship, and misconduct.

To “influence” means to affect or alter the way the opponents play by indirect or intangible means. “Gamesmanship” is the art or practice of winning a game through acts of doubtful propriety, such as distracting an opponent without technically violating the Laws of the Game. However, the referee must be very careful, for while the act may be within the Letter of the Law, it may well fall outside the Spirit of the Law. “Misconduct” is blatant cheating or intentional wrongdoing through a deliberate violation of the Laws of the Game.
Many referees confuse perfectly legitimate methods of affecting play through influence with certain aspects of gamesmanship and misconduct.

Influence can cause problems for some referees at restarts. The ball is in play on free kicks and corner kicks as soon as it has been kicked and moves, and on kick-offs and penalty kicks as soon as it is kicked and moves forward. The key for most referees seems to be the requirement that the ball must “move.” The IFAB has directed that referees interpret this requirement liberally, so that only minimal movement is necessary. This minimal movement was defined in the past as the kicker possibly merely touching the ball with the foot. That has changed. All referees must observe carefully the placing of the ball for the kick and distinguish between moving the ball with the foot to put it in the proper location and actually kicking the ball to restart the game. The ball must be kicked and move a perceptible distance. Please note: Feinting at a penalty kick may be considered by the referee to be unsporting behavior, but verbal or physical feinting by the kicking team at free kicks or in dynamic play is not. (See below.)

Influencing play is perfectly acceptable. The International Football Association Board (IFAB) and the F⁄d⁄ration Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) have consistently ruled in favor of the use of guile by the attacking team to influence play and against the use of timewasting tactics and deceitful acts by the defending team. The IFAB and FIFA are so concerned over the failure of referees to deal with timewasting tactics that for some years they published annual reminders that referees must deal with time wasting in all its forms. The IFAB has also consistently ruled that the practice of forming a defensive wall or any other interference by the defending team at free kicks is counter to the Spirit of the Game, and has issued two associated rulings that the kicking team may influence (through the use of feinting tactics) and confuse the opponents when taking free kicks. The IFAB reinforced its renunciation of defensive tactics by allowing the referee to caution any opposing players who do not maintain the required distance at free kicks as a result of the feinting tactics, which can include members of the kicking team jumping over the ball to confuse and deceive the opponents legally. (See the Questions and Answers on the Laws of the Game, November 1990, Law XIII, Q&A 7 and 8; still recognized as part of the Laws.) The related practice of touching the ball at a free kick or corner kick just enough to put it in play and then attempting to confuse the opponents by telling a teammate to come and take the kick is also accepted practice.

Gamesmanship, by its very name, suggests that the player is bending the rules of the game to his benefit. However, while he is not breaking the letter of the laws that cover play, he may be violating the Spirit of the Laws. Indeed, acts of gamesmanship in soccer can range from being entirely within the letter of the Law to quite illegal. Examples of legal gamesmanship include a team constantly kicking the ball out of play or a player constantly placing himself in an offside position deliberately, looking for the ball from his teammates so that the referee must blow the whistle and stop and restart the game. These acts are not against the Letter of the Laws, and players who commit them cannot be cautioned for unsporting behavior and shown the yellow card. Referees can take steps against most aspects of this legal time wasting only by adding time. Remember that only the referee knows how much time has been lost, and he or she is empowered by Law 7 to add as much time as necessary to ensure equality. Acts of illegal gamesmanship fall under misconduct (see below). Examples: a player deliberately taking the ball for a throw-in or free kick to the wrong spot, expecting the referee to redirect him; a coach whose team is leading in the game coming onto the field to “attend” to a downed player; simulating a foul or feigning an injury.

Misconduct is a deliberate and illegal act aimed at preventing the opposing team from accomplishing its goals. Misconduct can be split into two categories of offenses: those which merit a caution (including the illegal forms of time wasting) and those which merit a sending-off. While the attacking team may use verbal feints to confuse the defensive wall or may “call” for the ball without actually wanting it, simply to deceive their opponents, the other team may not use verbal feints to misdirect its opponents and then steal the ball from them; e.g., a defender calling out an opponent’s name to entice him into passing the ball to him. Full details on the categories of misconduct and their punishment can be found in “Interpretation of the Laws of the Game and Guidelines for Referee” in the back of the Laws of the Game.

Look at these methods of affecting play as escalating in severity from the legal act of influencing to gamesmanship, which can range from legal to illegal, to misconduct, which is entirely illegal. Each of these methods will be used by players in any normal game of soccer to gain an advantage for their team. Referees must know the difference between them, so that they can deal with what should be punished and not interfere in an act that is not truly an infringement of the Laws. Thorough knowledge of the Laws of the Game, the Interpretation of the Laws of the Game and Guidelines for Referee, and position papers and memoranda from the National Referee Development Program can help the referee make the correct decision in every case.

Categories: Law 18 - Common Sense

WHAT IS A CHARGE?

June 12, 2013

Question:
Could you go in a little more detail about the ATR’s explanation of a Charge? I’m still having a tough time understanding the language it is trying to imply.

Answer (June 12. 2013):
Not sure why there is a problem, but let us go beyond the Advice to Referees and bring in what is (or should be) taught in the entry-level refereeing courses.

A legal or fair charge is defined this way:
A fair charge is shoulder-to-shoulder, elbows (on the contact side) against the body, with each player having at least one foot on the ground and both attempting to gain control of the ball. The amount of force allowed is relative to the age and experience of the players, but should never be excessive. This is as detErmined by the referee on the game, not some book definition, adjusted as necessary for the age and experience of the players and what has happened or is happening in this particular game on this particular day at this particular moment. It all boils down to what is best for the referee’s management and the players’ full enjoyment of the game.

Although often overlooked by spectators, it is important to remember that a player’s natural endowments (speed, strength, height, heft, etc.) may be superior to that of the opponent who is competing with that player for the ball. As a completely natural result, the opponent may not only be bested in the challenge but may in fact wind up on the groundÑwith no foul having been committed. The mere fact that a player fails in a challenge and falls or is knocked down is what the game is all about (and why coaches must choose carefully in determining which player marks which opponent). For their part, referees must not handicap players by saddling them with artificial responsibilities to be easy on an opponent simply because they are better physically endowed in some way.

Fair charges include actions which do not strictly meet the “shoulder-to-shoulder” requirement when this is not possible because of disparities in height or body type (a common occurrence in youth matches in the early teenage range where growth spurts differ greatly on an individual level within the age group). Additionally, a fair charge can be directed toward the back of the shoulder if the opponent is shielding the ball, provided it is not done dangerously and never to the spinal area.

The arms may not be used at all, other than for balance, which does not include pushing off or holding the opponent.

To be a fair charge must not be careless, reckless, or use excessive force. These definitions from the Advice may be helpful:
“Careless” indicates that the player has not exercised due caution in making a play.
“Reckless” means that the player has made unnatural movements designed to intimidate an opponent or to gain an unfair advantage.
“Involving excessive force” means that the player has far exceeded the use of force necessary to make a fair play for the ball and has placed the opponent in considerable danger of bodily harm.

If the foul was careless, simply a miscalculation of strength or a stretch of judgment by the player who committed it, then it is a normal foul, requiring only a direct free kick (and possibly a stern talking-to). If the foul was reckless, clearly outside the norm for fair play, then the referee must award the direct free kick and also caution the player for unsporting behavior, showing the yellow card. If the foul involved the use of excessive force, totally beyond the bounds of normal play, then the referee must send off the player for serious foul play or violent conduct, show the red card, and award the direct free kick to the opposing team.

The referee (and the players, their coaches and parents, as well as the other spectators) must remember that the occurrence of contact between players does not necessarily mean that a foul was committed. Contact occurs and it is accepted and welcomed, as long as it is accomplished legally — and that includes most accidental contact.

There is no other sort of charge than a “shoulder charge”; no hips, no hands, no holds or pushes. Each player must have at least one foot on the ground and both players must be attempting to gain/retain control of the ball. The arms may not be used at all, other than for balance, which does not include pushing off or holding the opponent.

“Momentum” should not be a factor in the referee’s judgment of a charge. Beyond the definition given above, there are only two criteria for judging the charge: (1) Was it fair or unfair? (2) If unfair, was the charge (a) careless, (b) reckless, or (c) using excessive force? After these two questions have been asked and answered, the referee makes a decision.

If the charging player’s momentum is too great, it is likely that the player is using excessive force; however, please remember that a player can be knocked over by a fair charge and the charging player should not be punished for that. If the charge is either reckless or done with excessive force, the player must be either cautioned for unsporting behavior or sent off for serious foul play.

Categories: Law 18 - Common Sense

Question:
Is it legal for a player to take a throw-in from his knees? Where is this specified in the FIFA Laws of the Game?

Answer (April 11, 2013):
It is not included in the Laws of the Game. Outside the Laws of the Game, we are aware of only one document that FIFA has issued for the IFAB (the people who write the Laws) that covers this situation. It is in Law 15, Q&A 7, of the 2006 edition of Questions and Answers:

LAW 15 (THE THROW-IN)
7. Is a player allowed to take a throw-in kneeling or sitting down?

No. A throw-in is only permitted if the correct procedures in the Laws of the Game are followed.

From the USSF Advice to Referees:

Players are not allowed to take throw-ins while kneeling or sitting down. Squatting is a form of sitting and is therefore not allowed, but players are permitted to take “flip” or “acrobatic” throw-ins, provided the procedures outlined in Law 15 are followed. “Standing” is the normal and traditional posture at any restart; anything other than standing is not permitted. The “acrobatic” or “flip” throw-in is allowed because the thrower actually makes the throw from a standing position.

NOTE: The kneeling answer was also in earlier editions of the Q&A, which is no longer published, having been replaced by “Interpretation of the Laws of the Game and Guidelines for Referees ” Simply because this fact no longer appears in the Laws of the Game does not mean that it is not valid. Many items not written in the Laws are widely known to be valid. The most famous omission is that the player who has been sent off during the game may not be replaced. Why these omissions? Because “everyone knows that!”

Categories: Law 18 - Common Sense

Question: Sounds stupid but…

Me and my friends were having a debate in the pub about the offside rule. I was a neutral in this debate but would be interested to know what an official referee would do:

If a player is laying injured in an offside position while play is continuing, and a shot that was going in anyway is deflected off his leg or head unintentionally, is it offside? If the player wasn’t there and the shot was going in anyway, surely as the player had no intent the goal should stand?

Answer November 28, 2012):
But his presence DID have an effect on play — “deflected off his leg or head unintentionally” — means by definition that he interfered with play.

We need to remember that it is only a supposition that the shot was going to go in anyway. There is, unfortunately, no way of proving that, without the deflection, the keeper might or would have made the save. In all events, Law 11 does not require or even presume that the attacker in the offside position must INTENTIONALLY become involved in active play; he only needs to BE involved in active play. If he had been standing up in an offside position and a shot from a teammate had bounced off his back into the goal, wouldn’t this be offside position? Suppose the player on the ground were dead and the ball deflected off him into the goal — it’s still an offside violation (though, to be fair, we should probably have stopped play before all this due to the “serious injury”).

This was illustrated in the 2008-2009 Laws of the Game on p. 101, illustration 1 (last time it is shown, but the principle still applies): “An attacker in an offside position (A), not interfering with an opponent, touches the ball.” And the ruling on the same page says “The assistant referee must raise the flag when the player touches the ball.”

Question:
this question is about youth Ull-19
i am a fast learning referee who has learned alot in his two years of reffing,but there is one thing that bothers me the most.

i always fail to recognize a foul so here are some questions and please be clear/detailed what do the laws of the game mean when they say (under direct free kick fouls): jumps at an opponent, charges an opponent and what does impeding the progress of an opponent mean? Are there any other fouls that might not be mentioned in the laws?

Answer (November 15, 2012):
Both the “jumping at:” and “charging” fouls are punished with a direct free kick if they are done carelessly, recklessly (also a caution/yellow card), or with the use of excessive force (also a sending-off/red card). Together with “charging” and “impeding the progress of an opponent,” they are not described at any length in the Laws of the Game by the International Football Association Board (the people who write the Laws) because, as with many other things in soccer, “everyone knows that.”

1. Jumps at
Here is an article I wrote in 2006 for “Referee” magazine.
What is “Jumping At an Opponent”?
By Jim Allen

It is a general principle underlying the Law that players are not permitted to “play” the opponent rather than the ball. That is enshrined in the concept of “jumping at an opponent.” “Jumping at” means precisely that: launching one’s body toward the opponent. It can be from a standing or “flying” position. It can be done in two ways: (1) to intimidate or (2) in a feigned (really meant to distract or intimidate the opponent) or genuine but unsuccessful attempt to gain the ball. It is most often seen under the pretext of heading the ball, but may also be seen when a player launches himself through the air, feet first, to “tackle” away the ball.
Example. A8 is running upfield with the ball. Defender B3 jumps at A8 to startle him, causing A8 to flinch and lose possession.
What to do? B3 has committed the foul of jumping at an opponent if he does it in a manner considered by the referee to be careless, reckless or using excessive force. If the foul was careless, the result would be a direct free kick (or penalty kick if committed within B’s penalty area) for team A. If the foul was reckless, the result would be a caution/yellow card to B3 for unsporting behavior and a direct free kick (or penalty kick) for team A. If the foul involved excessive force, the result would be a send-off/red card for B3 and a direct free kick (or penalty kick) for team A.
Normally contact is not required, as specified by the word “at” in the name of the foul. However, another form of “jumping at” an opponent is the two-footed tackle, which by definition has to be a jump — launching one’s body toward that of the opponent. If that two-footed tackle is for the ball, it is likely fair, but if the jumping player lands on the ball just as the opponent’s foot is kicking it, the referee should consider the tackle dangerous and punish it with an indirect free kick. If contact is made with the opponent, give a direct free kick. If it is reckless, caution it. If it is done with excessive force, send the player off.
Faking. Another form of “jumping at” is to make the foul appear to have been committed by the opponent when the player with the ball has actually committed it. That sort of foul is common in youth soccer, where some players jump into an opponent and, while doing so, turn their back. Since that essentially makes them an unguided missile, it highlights the danger of jumping at an opponent with the back turned. Direct free kick for the opponent’s team.
Where to punish? At the spot where the opponent was affected by the jump. If a player starts his jump outside the penalty area but completes it inside, the referee must give the direct free kick (or penalty kick, if applicable) inside the penalty area.
There are two things to remember about “jumping at” an opponent. First, contact is not required for the foul. The foul is in the intimidation or distraction of the opponent by the jump. Second, this is one of those fouls where the “rule of thumb” about “playing the player rather than the ball” is particularly apt as a shorthand way of viewing the offense — the foul is almost certain when the offending player is looking at the opponent rather than the ball.

“Jumping at” has nothing to do with the foul of charging. “Jumping at” implies carelessness on the part of the player, while charging can be done fairly. If a charge misses, it cannot be a foul at all, but the way in which it is committed could be considered to be unsporting behavior.

2.Charges an opponent
The act of charging an opponent can be performed without it being called as a foul. Although the fair charge is commonly defined as “shoulder to shoulder” and without the use of arms or elbows, this is not a requirement and, at certain age levels where heights may vary greatly, may not even be possible. Furthermore, under many circumstances, a charge may often result in the player against whom it is placed falling to the ground (a consequence, as before, of players differing in weight or strength). The Law does require that the charge be directed toward the area of the shoulder and not toward the center of the opponent’s back (the spinal area): in such a case, the referee should recognize that such a charge is at minimum reckless and potentially even violent.

3. Impeding the progress of an opponent

Impeding the progress of an opponent means that a player moves into the path of an opponent to block that opponent’s ability to play the ball, but does not play the ball himself. That is an indirect free kick foul. As to the foul of charging that you emphasized, this is exactly what I told you it was. It is not described in the Law because, as with many other things in soccer, “everyone knows that.”

Categories: Law 18 - Common Sense

JUMPING BY THE WALL

July 23, 2012

Question: Acceptable behavior on a free kick?

How much movement are the players in a defensive wall allowed leading up to a free kick. Where does it cross the line from acceptable to misconduct?

It seems players are allowed to jump up and down, but what about waving arms or other physical behavior apart from simply jumping up and down with arms at sides?

Answer (July 23, 2012):
Prior to 1997, the Law required that if “any of the players dance about or gesticulate in a way calculated to distract their opponents” at a free kick they should be cautioned and shown the yellow card for unsporting behavior (then called “ungentlemanly conduct).” This is no longer true. Jumping by members of the wall is common practice throughout the world. The referee should allow this activity unless it goes to extremes. Examples of extremes would be members of the wall jumping forward and back — and thus failing to respect the required distance from the ball — or doing handstands or other acts designed to bring the game into disrepute.

Question:
A couple of months ago, I was watching the UEFA U-17 Championship final, and it went to kicks from the penalty mark. It seemed like every single player was trying to place the ball at the very edge of the mark in order to have the ball a few inches closer to the goal. And every single time, the referee intervened. He made every player reposition the ball, and it seemed he wasn’t satisfied until the ball was at the center of the mark. To me, the referee was wrong.

Law 14 says the ball must be placed on the mark. And Law 1 says that the lines are a part of areas which they define. I know the penalty mark isn’t a line, but doesn’t the same principle apply to it? Just as a ball that is touching the imaginary plane above the touchline or goal line is in play, shouldn’t a ball that is touching the imaginary cylinder above the penalty mark be considered on the penalty mark?

Answer (July 22, 2012):
In order to ensure uniformity in penalty kicks and kicks from the penalty mark, the IFAB established the penalty mark in the form of a circle 9 inches in diameter; not a box or a simple line. The Law specifies that the ball “must be placed on the penalty mark” and “the ball is properly placed on the penalty mark,” not elsewhere.