Situation: Tournament play, U-11 girls. An IFK is awarded due to the keeper picking up a passback (questionable in the first place as it was a mis-kick in the U-11 age group that went spiraling backwards off a weird bounce, and did not appear deliberate IMHO).

Anyway…as a result, the IFK is about 7 yds out and directly in front of the goal. The CR makes it a ceremonial (of his own accord, but in this age group, ok)and puts the defensive team on the goal line before allowing restart. Meanwhile the kicking team has one player standing with her foot on top of the ball, clearly planning to do a “touch restart” (which is no longer legal of course).

The CR blows the whistle for play, the offensive player does indeed simply touch the ball with the bottom of her foot, and then the second offensive player strikes the ball. The keeper comes up with the ball and saves the goal.

Now, just after the keeper catches the ball the CR blows the whistle.

He correctly asserts that the IFK cannot be restarted with a top touch ubt must instead be “kicked and move”. Therefore – he allows the offensive team a second opportunity at the IFK (one assumes out of thinking that the ball was not put in play). This time they restart correctly, and they score.

Happily this was not a game deciding goal, but it remains on my mind.

The result of allowing the re-take seems wholly outside of the Spirit of the Game, the offense should not receive a second opportunity from 4 yds out because they botched the restart by not obeying the LOTG.

However…the LOTG do say that the ball must be “kicked and move” in order to be in play.

Could one allow that the first player’s light touch did not put the ball in play since it never moved, but that the striking player did then put the ball in play? (becoming the first touch in considering IFK goal scoring) Seems a bit of a stretch and could be unsporting if done intentionally to confuse the defense.

If I were in the CR spot I should hope I would have noticed the obvious intent to do a touch restart and caught this before it developed and became problematic. IMHO the CR blew a second opportunity to avoid this by not whistling hard and immediately when the tap was made. His whistle was late, not coming until the ball was struck and actually in the keeper’s possession…only a second since the kick was so close…but well after the error.

Per the LOTG it seems to me that the CR did what he must by allowing the re-take. At the same time, it seems at odds with the Spirit of the Game. Is this one that could go either way based on the opinion of the CR?

I think if I had made all those errors and got stuck in this spot I would have been inclined to allow the defensive team the possession.

The offense had fair opporunity. If another IFK came up I would have been diligent in informing the team of the correct mode of restart.

Would I be wrong?

In your esteemed opinions…what would be the proper response if one was caught in a situation like this?

USSF answer (October 6, 2009):
In our esteemed opinions, the correct referee action would have been to allow play to continue. Both you and the referee have jumped to the wrong conclusion, confusing putting the ball into play and a situation in which a goal can be scored. The Law requires, as you state, only that a ball is kicked and moved to be in play. That happened. The ball was tapped, which means nothing in a restart, but it was then kicked by a player directly to the goalkeeper. A second touch of the ball — by any player on either team — is required for a goal to be scored, but not for the ball to be in play.

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