I am having trouble reconciling a seemingly contradictory interpretation of the laws of the game. Law 8 states that on a kick off, the ball is in play when it is kicked and moves forward.
Therefore, if the ball is kicked backward, the ball has not been put into play, and therefore the kick is retaken. Law 14 contains the same verbiage, “the ball is in play when it is kicked and moves forward.” Law 14 also states that if the kicker infringes on the laws of the game and the ball does not enter the goal, then award an indirect free kick for the opposing team. Obviously, if the ball is kicked backwards, it would not enter the goal. I noticed in “Advice to Referees” (2009/2010) version, section 14.12, it states that kicking the ball backward would result in an indirect free kick for the defending team at the penalty mark. If the wording, “The ball is in play when it is kicked and moves forward” were removed from the law, then this seeming contradiction would appear to go away. Any insight would be appreciated.
USSF answer (August 10, 2010):
You would seem to be arguing apples and applesauce. We see no dichotomy or contradiction here, as the kick-off and the penalty kick are two separate and discrete types of restarting the game.
• the ball is in play when it is kicked and moves forward
In the event of any other infringement of the kick-off procedure:
• the kick-off is retaken
• After the players have taken positions in accordance with this Law, the referee signals for the penalty kick to be taken
• The player taking the penalty kick must kick the ball forward
• He must not play the ball again until it has touched another player
• The ball is in play when it is kicked and moves forward
the player taking the penalty kick infringes the Laws of the Game:
• the referee allows the kick to be taken
• if the ball enters the goal, the kick is retaken
• if the ball does not enter the goal, the referee stops play and the match is restarted with an indirect free kick to the defending team, from the place where the infringement occurred
Advice 14.12 (2010/2011 edition):
14.12 KICKER BACK HEELS THE BALL
If, after the referee has whistled for the penalty kick to be taken, the identified kicker back heels or kicks the ball backwards to a teammate who kicks it into the goal, the International Board has determined that this particular violation of Law 14 is to be regarded as failure to follow the procedures outlined in Law 14. In this situation (whether the ball is subsequently kicked into the goal or not), the restart is an indirect free kick for the opponents at the penalty mark.
In other words, the IFAB has declared that, kicking the ball backward shall be considered a violation of Law 14 and treated as simply one among all other violations of Law 14. In short, logic in this case cannot provide the correct answer, only a rote knowledge of the Laws of the Game as propounded and explained by the International Board.