Entries related to IFAB Circulars
April 11, 2013
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NOTE: The kneeling answer was also in earlier editions of the Q&A, which is no longer published, having been replaced by “Interpretation of the Laws of the Game and Guidelines for Referees ” Simply because this fact no longer appears in the Laws of the Game does not mean that it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!”
February 10, 2013
A defender throws in the ball to a team mate who intentionally heads the ball to the keeper who catches it. Is this allowed or is the team trying to circumvent both the letter and the spirit of Law 12 which would result in an IDFK where the defender headed the ball to the goalkeeper?
Answer (February 10. 2013):
Let’s start off with an excerpt from the USSF publication “Advice to Referees on the Laws of the Game” (2011/2012):
12.21 BALL THROWN TO THE GOALKEEPER
A goalkeeper infringes Law 12 by touching the ball with the hands after receiving it directly from a throw-in taken by a teammate. The goalkeeper is considered to have received the ball directly by playing it in any way (for example, by dribbling the ball with the feet) before touching it with the hands. Referees should take care not to consider as trickery any sequence of play that offers a fair chance for opponents to challenge for the ball before it is handled by the goalkeeper from a throw-in.
NOTE: The goalkeeper may always handle the ball inside his/her own penalty area unless he/she:
• Takes more than 6 seconds while controlling the ball with his/her hands before releasing it from possession
• Regains hand control prior to a touch by another player
• Touches ball with the hands after it comes directly from a throw-in or deliberate kick to the ‘keeper by a teammate
The restart for any of these infringements is an indirect free kick*.
Things have changed since 1992, when FIFA issued Circular 488 on July 24. The sense of the circular was encapsulated in an article in “Fair Play,” a no-longer published USSF referee magazine, in 1998. The article as quoted here has been modified by its author to reflect the change in the way the Laws are numbered (now Arabic numbers rather than Roman numerals) and the replacement in the Laws of “ungentlemanly conduct” by “unsporting behavior.”
What about players who seek to get around the Letter of the Law? In response to numerous queries from around the world, FIFA issued its Circular Number 488 on July 24, 1992. Circular 488 will not appear in the Laws of the Game, but must be known and understood by every referee. Because it directly affects the way in which the referee will treat time wasting, it is worthwhile to quote the Circular at length:
Subject to the terms of Law 12, a player may pass the ball to his own goalkeeper using his head or chest or knee, etc. If, however, in the opinion of the referee, a player uses a deliberate trick in order to circumvent the amendment to Law 12, the player will be guilty of unsporting behavior and will be punished accordingly in terms of Law 12; that is to say, the player will be cautioned and an indirect free-kick will be awarded to the opposing team from the place where the player committed the offense.
Examples of such tricks would include: a player who deliberately flicks the ball with his feet up onto his head in order to head the ball to his goalkeeper; or, a player who kneels down and deliberately pushes the ball to the goalkeeper with his knee, etc.
In such circumstances, it is irrelevant whether the goalkeeper subsequently touches the ball with his hands or not. The offense is committed by the player in attempting to circumvent both the text and the spirit of Law 12, and the referee must only be convinced that this was the player’s motive.
It is obvious from the text of Circular 488 that players who use trickery in an attempt to get around the conditions of the amendment to Law 12 must be dealt with immediately and firmly. The initiator of the trickery must be cautioned for unsporting behavior and the match properly restarted. If the ball was already in play, an indirect free-kick from the spot where the initiator touched—not merely “kicked”—the ball is appropriate. If the ball was out of play, the restart for a violation depends upon how the circumvention began. If the action began from a free-kick or goal-kick that was properly taken, the restart will again be an indirect free-kick from the spot where the initiator of the trickery played it, regardless of whether he took the kick or was further along in the sequence of play. If the goal-kick or free-kick was not properly taken, then the restart must be that goal-kick or free-kick. This could lead to a situation where the offending team has a player cautioned (or sent off for a second cautionable offense), but still retains the ball on the restart.
The Law was rewritten in 1997 to reduce the number of options available to players for wasting time. Playing the ball to one’s goalkeeper was traditionally used as a way of “consuming” time. By the time the Law was rewritten, the practice had become synonymous with time wasting. Normal interplay of the ball among teammates is not a matter of concern to any referee; however, the referee must be concerned with obvious deliberate attempts to circumvent the requirements of the Law. In this case the player using the deliberate trick to circumvent the Law is committing unsporting behavior, for which he must be cautioned and shown the yellow card.
One clue to the correctness of the player’s action is whether it is a natural part of play or is clearly artificial and intended only to circumvent the Law. In such cases, the action is considered misconduct whether it ultimately is touched by the goalkeeper or not.
This would also apply to a ball kicked by a player to a teammate, who then heads the ball to the ‘keeper. In most cases this would be considered to be a part of normal play.
On July 23, 2002, we stated:
If a goal-kick, taken by the goalkeeper, goes to a teammate outside the penalty area, who heads the ball back to the goalie, this does not infringe the requirements of Law 12. The referee must recognize the difference between situations during dynamic play, when opponents are constantly exerting pressure, and events developing from static situations, such as free-kicks, when the opposing team must be at least ten yards from the ball. The referee must always consider the distance between members of opposing teams as well as members of the same team before making the call.
And finally a direct answer to your question:
First, the situation involving a throw-in directly to a goalkeeper by a teammate of the goalkeeper is not an example of the so-called “pass back” to the goalkeeper, it is an entirely separate indirect free kick foul which is listed in Law 12. The only things they have in common is that the action starts with a teammate, followed by the ball going directly to the hands of the goalkeeper, and that it is one of several indirect free kick violations by a goalkeeper designed by the Laws of the Game to discourage instances when, because the ball is being held by the goalkeeper, opponents cannot legally challenge for control.
Second, the “trickery” issue is misconduct, not a foul, and is therefore governed by a different set of requirements (in fact, the misconduct itself is being committed by the teammate, not the goalkeeper, and the goalkeeper does not even need to touch the ball in order for the misconduct to be committed).
Third, as a foul, the “pass back” or the “throw back” offenses are rare; as misconduct, “trickery” is even more uncommon. Whereas the foul only requires the referee to see where the ball came from (kick from a teammate, throw-in by a teammate), the trickery offense requires evaluating what is going on around the play in question and why (in the opinion of the referee) the play was performed this way.
“Ttrickery” should not be considered if the opponents had a fair chance to challenge for the ball. If the referee decides they did not and that is why this sequence was performed, then “trickery” should be considered.
January 22, 2013
This question opened an intense debate on a referee discussion forum (http://www.bigsoccer.com/community/threads/where-did-this-cool-site-come-from-and-why-did-noone-tell-me.1981356/):
“A shot taken on goal is blocked by a defending player inside his own team’s penalty area. The defending player then starts to dribble the ball while having full control of it. Before the defender dribbled the ball out of the penalty area, the goalkeeper picked up the ball dribbled by the defender (his teammate). The Referee should stop the play and award an Indirect Free Kick to the opposing team.”
Some (including with reference to contact with high level referees) have argued that a dribbling player has not deliberately kicked the ball to the keeper within the meaning of ATR 12.20 (sepcifically Note (a)). Others have argued that Note (a) does not define deliberately kicked to the keeper, and that by the ATR definitions a dribbling player has kicked the ball (because the player has used the foot) and the kick is deliberate (because the player has control of the ball), such that the triangle and the violation are complete (though there could be possibility that the offense was trifling depending on other surrounding facts).
Would you care to share your interpretation?
Answer (January 22, 2013):
And the referees who cited info from the high-level referees are correct: there is no infringement of the Laws here.
Those who argue for saying the ball deliberately kicked is “not defined” are sophists (those who use a specious argument to deceive someone, in this case, themselves) and are full of hokum (a polite word for something apparently impressive or legitimate but actually nonsense). Pay no attention to those people behind the screen.
January 11, 2013
The limitation on scoring directly from a drop ball. Can you clarify the meaning of directly in this situation. Thanks.
My confusion arises because in other free kicks (corner, IFK, DFK, GK, PK) the kicker is not able to play the ball twice. e.g. they must kick it, and they cannot dribble the ball (e.g. kick or play it twice in a row without an intervention from another player).
However, in the drop ball, a player can in fact take possesion of the ball (usually by foot since the ball must touch the ground to in play), dribble some distance, and kick the ball, without the intervention of another player without comitting a violation of the laws.
Hence, I’m trying to understand what “directly” means in the new Law 8 (Start and Restart) text for drop balls. The new law says, “If the ball enters the goal: * if a dropped ball is kicked directly into the opponents’ goal, goal kick is awarded” (Similar for own goal with a corner kick.
Is “directly” in this case ONLY the first touch or play of the ball, or is directly meant to include all initial play by a player, until the ball has been touched or play by any other player?
Thanks for clarifying the situation for me. I am a referee and a coach. Recently, as a coach, this situation nearly happened to one of my players. In her case she missed the shot wide, so the ball did not enter the goal. However, had she made the shot (off a pull back move at the drop, two quick dribbes to open space in the penalty area, and a shot with no touch from any other player), I realized that I was unsure if the goal would have counted or not had she made the shot.
As a referee, and realized I should come to understand the correct call in this case should I come to see it again. This is a new law change, and I haven’t seen any guidance in this situation.
Answer (January 8, 2013):
This year’s Law 8 on the dropped ball:
If the ball enters the goal:
• if a dropped ball is kicked directly into the opponents’ goal, a goal kick is awarded
• if a dropped ball is kicked directly into the team’s own goal, a corner kick is awarded to the opposing team
Yes, it is indeed a change in the Law, likely not noted by many people. It is an unusual change and is probably more confusing to referees, coaches, and players than necessary. Thank you for asking, and we are pleased to present the reason, straight from the International Football Association Board, as published for the IFAB by FIFA. And yes, it applies only to the first touch after the ball is in play.
FIFA Circular 1302, 31 May 2012: Amendments to the Laws of the Game — 2012/2013:
There have been a number of occasions where goals have been scored from “uncontested” dropped balls. This has put a great deal of pressure on the referee as he has to allow the goal to stand. We then have the unseemly situation where the opposition allows the team to score from the kick-off without any players trying to stop them in order to rebalance the game.
Just for the clarification of others, the dropped ball is NOT a free kick.
March 22, 2012
I am 58 years old, still play twice a week and have refereed and coached at all levels thru high school and never even considered this issue before this past weekend.
What is the intent of Law 11 specifically that there is no off sides on a goal kick?
The situation – Team A takes a goal kick and Team A player(s) are 10 yds closer to Team B’s goal prior to the kick than the last Team B defenders who are at midfield when the ball is kicked. If Law 11 is taken literally in this instance, that there is no off sides for Goal kicks, it seems contradictory to the other off sides criteria to allow the Team A player to be on side. I understand and agree completely with throw-ins and corner kicks.
Or is the intent that Team B players cannot be off sides when they are just outside the Team A penalty area when Team A goal keeper takes the goal kick and Team A defenders are closer to mid field than Team B player(s). Which makes sense since the Team B player(s) are no closer to the goal than the ball when it is put into play.
USSF answer (March 22, 2012):
The Laws of the Game are not made by FIFA, but by the IFAB (International Football Association Board), of which FIFA is a member.
The IFAB has long held that the game needs more scoring. Referees are encouraged to give every chance to the attacking team, particularly whenever there is any doubt. This rule applies to offside and to possible fouls and misconduct. Indeed, the IFAB so much wants the attacking game to be encouraged that it has excluded players from being called offside DIRECTLY from a goal kick for over 130 years. Goal kicks became exempt from offside in 1866 – long before FIFA existed. The intent was possibly to keep the defending team honest. Who are we to argue?
June 27, 2011
I recently noticed while watching an MLS match that the referee used a can of white spray paint to mark off ten yards after awarding a free kick. I had noticed the paint can on referees’ uniforms all season, but only after seeing it in use did I realize what it was. Is this a new practice? And is this something that can be utilized by officials in lower level matches?
USSF answer (June 27, 2011):
The International F. A. Board decided at its meeting in March 2011 to allow the use of the vanishing spray paint as a continuing experiment in CONMEBOL (South America), where the proposal originated
April 11, 2011
“An attacker in an offside position whose gestures or movements, in the opinion of the officiating team, cause an opponent to challenge for the ball has interfered with an opponent and should be ruled offside whether the attacker touches the ball or not.”
Just what gesture does a attacking player have to do? I have never seen this explained anywhere. No examples. Does the attacker really need to gesture or move?
Generally, in all the soccer I watch, if a pass is made to an attacker they do not need to do any special to get a defender to run over to them. This seems to say that if an attacker does not gesture or move there is no offside offense.
What if the only reason the offside attacker did not receive the ball is if the defender make a deflection or cleared the ball out of bounds as a defensive play on the attacker (who did not gesture or move)?
Does the defender really have to guess whether they should clear a ball based on the gesture or movement of the attacker?
Should the attacking team benefit by receiving a throw or corner from a play made against an offside attacker?
Is the referee right? No flag?
USSF answer (April 11, 2011):
Your introductory paragraph is taken from a position paper issued by U. S. Soccer on August 24, 2005, explaining a Circular issued by the International Football Association Board, the body that makes the rules we play by, the Laws of the Game. (No, it is not FIFA that does this, although FIFA is a powerful member of the IFAB.)
However, that document does not provide the full information you need. A later memorandum of March 25, 2009, should fill the gap:
Subject: Offside – Interfering with Play
Date: March 25, 2009
The first goal scored in the new MLS season (New York Red Bulls at Seattle Sounders, March 19, see accompanying clip) was the subject of controversy based on the argument that a teammate of the scorer was in an offside position at the time and had become involved in active play by interfering with play. The goal was from Sounder #17 (Montero) against the Red Bull goalkeeper #1 (Cepero) and the Sounder forward alleged to have been offside was #23 (Nyassi).
The following facts are not in dispute:
• Nyassi was in an offside position.
• Nyassi did not become involved in active play by gaining an advantage (historically, this is only an issue if the ball has rebounded from the crossbar, a goalpost, or a defender, which it did not in this case).
• Nyassi did not interfere with an opponent. He did not get in the way of a defender, make any movement or gesture which deceived or distracted an opponent, and, most importantly, did not block the goalkeeper’s line of sight (the attack came in from the goalkeeper’s left whereas the attacker ran from the goalkeeper’s right and was at least several yards away from the goalkeeper when the shot on goal was made).
• Nyassi did not interfere with play (no contact with the ball).
The assistant referee was well placed, in line with the second to last defender, to confirm these essential elements in deciding for an offside violation. Accordingly, there was no offside violation and the goal was valid.
• The debate has been vigorous over the last several years regarding the way in which an attacker in an offside position can be involved in active play. The definition provided by the International Board regarding “gaining an advantage” is clear and based on concrete observable facts. The definition of “interfering with an opponent” involves various judgments but is generally clear in its application since the primary issue here is whether the interference results from blocking paths and/or lines of sight.
This memorandum confirms that “interfering with play” cannot be decided unless the attacker in an offside position makes contact with the ball.
In brief, blocking the line of sight or an opponent’s path while in an offside position comes under the heading of “interfering with an opponent” but the third element (distract/deceive) does take movement – i.e., merely standing there, in a particular place, is not enough (unless that “there” blocks sight/path), the attacker must do something, but that “something” has to be “in the opinion of the referee.”