On an indirect kick is the ball in play when first touched by the player or is it when it moves
and by moves does it have to move at least one rotation?

Ref calls a indirect kick. Places the wall, the kicking team places two player in either side of the ball.
The ref whistles to start , and one of the players touches the top of the ball but does not move it.
The second player then kicks the ball into the net with out any other player touching the ball
is this a goal?

USSF answer (February 2, 2009):
No, the ball does not have to move a rotation. It must simply move from “here” to “there,” as long as it is clear that the ball has been kicked — i. e., forced into the movement from “here” to “there” by a kicking motion — and has moved that undefined distance.

As to your question about the goal, no, it is not a goal.…


On a throw in, the player taking the throw in near the halfway line dose a correct throw but throws at an opponent that is the required distance away or more( 8′). This throw is not a slip or a tactical off the opponent redirect, as the opponent is facing the thrower. This throw was at the player body and not the head. The ball rebounded off the opponent and went out of play back to the thrower.

The thrower was being unsporting at the opinion of the referee and close AR, play stopped Thrower cautioned and play restarted with throw in by the player cautioned (thrower). Question is with the restart.

First we have a player “off the field”, with a stoppage in play,dose this player that commits a misconduct at this time = a restart based on the original stoppage or is the the restart base on the ball being in play, and the ball being an object of striking which = DFK to the opponent at the spot of the contact, or is it a dropped ball as the thrower was off field? My main problem here, is the thrower committing a misconduct or a foul and a misconduct.

USSF answer (November 5, 2008):
If the thrower had released the ball, as it would seem from your question, then the ball was in play and the restart, after the caution for unsporting behavior (or more, if the referee thinks it was done using excessive force), is a direct free kick for the opposing team from the place where the ball struck the opponent. Why? you ask. Because the ball is an extension of the thrower’s arm and the contact with the opponent took place on the field of play.…


I noticed in one of the current issue responses “Putting the ball into play from a kick restart” that the situation is very similar to an indirect free kick restart. While the response was clear that it must be the decision of the referee as to what is a “kick” and what is not, ATR 13.5 makes it clear that “Simply tapping the top of the ball with the foot or stepping on the ball are not sufficient”. It has become commonly accepted for teams to restart from indirect kicks without the appropriate kicking motion. My question is this…should the correct call be to (a) stop play for an improper restart, warn the players about the proper restart procedure (and subsequent caution for delay or persistent infringement if continued) or (b) allow play to continue, ignoring the tap, treating the subsequent kick as the “first touch” and maintain the indirect signal until a true second touch happens, thereby calling back any goal that might be scored directly from the improperly taken restart and continuing play with a goal kick restart?

USSF answer (September 2, 2008):
The Law is clear: “The ball is in play when it is kicked and moves.” We have stated clearly in Advice 13.5 that there must be some “kicking motion” to put a kicked restart into play. The referee is the sole judge of what constitutes a kick.

Another point in your question needs to be cleared up: We would dispute that “It has become commonly accepted for teams to restart from indirect kicks without the appropriate kicking motion.” Some players may do it and some teams may use that as a tactic, but this does not mean that the definition in the Laws of how an indirect free kick (or any other kick restart) should be taken has changed. It is only referees who are reluctant to enforce the Law who have allowed this tactic to become “commonly accepted.” If the kicker fails to follow the Law and it makes a difference, then the referee must uphold the Law. If it didn’t really matter, then let it go (or perhaps give a warning). This is only common sense.…


You blow your whistle for the start of the game (kickoff) and before the attacking team takes the kick, a defender encroaches into the center circle. You blow your whistle again and instruct the attacking team to re-take the kickoff. However, before you do so, the defender uses obscene language and you send him off. Should the defending team play short or not. My reasoning would be that the game officially starts when the ball legally moves forward and the defending team would be allowed to substitute for the player that was sent off.

USSF answer (June 10, 2008):
You are absolutely correct. Because the ball was not put into play properly before the misconduct occurred, the game has not started. As to what happens next, Law 3 tells us: “A player who has been sent off before the kick-off may be replaced only by one of the named substitutes.”…


The 2007 ATR is quite specific that a tap on top of the the ball, stepping on the ball, or dragging of the ball does not count as the first touch for an indirect free kick – the ball must be touched in a kicking motion. So far this season I have refereed mover 50 games and have talked to thirty or more referees. Not one coach, or even one referee has been aware of this ATR. I have taken the tack this season to inform both teams during equipment check that I would be following the ATR and then giving the coach a copy, so that they would know where I was getting my information from. I have had now problems. However, this does require a little “speech” to the players, a luxury one does not always get.

At the recent [local] tournament I had the opportunity to talk to several level 5 referees about this ruling – they were unanimous in telling me that you don’t tell teams about this ruling and you certainly don’t follow it – if you disallowed a goal because the only touches were a tap on top of the ball and a kick that put the ball in the goal you wouldn’t make it off the field in one piece.

I’m now in a quandry – do I follow the ruling – if so, do I tell the teams before the game. Imagine this situation – League tournament finals, score tied, one minute to go, defender makes a high kick – IDFK just outside, or inside, the penalty area. Kicking team lines up four players who run at the ball in turn. The first player jumps over the ball, the second player taps the top of the ball, the third player kicks it, loops it over the wall tough play for the keeper. The keeper, following the ATR, knows that a goal cannot be scored, and not risking touching the ball, backs away from the ball and lets it go untouched into the goal. What’s my call? Do I follow the ATR and signal for a goal kick, following a ruling that NOBODY else in the stadium knows, risking major mayhem, or do I make the easy call – GOAL penalizing the goalie for knowing the rules?

That raises a second question – why isn’t a ruling that makes such a fundamental change in how what can be a critical play is judged, better advertised?

USSF answer (June 3, 2008):
It is not surprising that many State-level referees, no matter which state they come from, do not follow the instructions in the Advice to Referees. We find this to be the case throughout the United States, because so many “senior” referees and assessors seem to know more than the Federation about how games should be refereed.

No matter what your colleagues may tell you about what is in the Advice to Referees, it is the interpretation of the U. S. Soccer Federation and should be followed by all referees, assessors, and instructors. Anyone who troubles to read the introduction will find that the Advice is intended to be read by referees, instructors, assessors, players, coaches, parents, and anyone else wants to know what to expect from the officials in a game.

Section 13.5 of the Advice has been changed for 2008, but only “gently.” It now reads:

The ball is in play (able to be played by an attacker other than the kicker or by an opponent) when it has been kicked and moved. The distance to be moved is minimal and the “kick” need only be a touch of the ball with the foot in a kicking motion. Simply tapping the top of the ball with the foot or stepping on the ball are not sufficient.

When the restart of play is based on the ball being kicked and moved, the referee must ensure that the ball is indeed kicked (touched with the foot in a kicking motion) and moved (caused to go from one place to another). Being “kicked” can include an action in which the ball is dragged by continuous contact with the foot.  The referee must make the final decision on what is and is not “kicked and moved” based on the spirit and flow of the match.

The referee must judge carefully whether any particular kick of the ball and subsequent movement was indeed reasonably taken with the intention of putting the ball into play rather than with the intention merely to position the ball for the restart. If the ball is just being repositioned (even if the foot is used to do this), play has not been restarted. Likewise, referees should not unfairly punish for “failing to respect the required distance” when an opponent was clearly confused by a touch and movement of the ball which was not a restart.

The referee must make the final decision on what is a “kick” and what is “not a kick” based on his or her feeling for the game-what FIFA calls “Fingerspitzengefühl” (literally: “sensing with one’s fingertips”).

The intelligent referee will do at least two things here:
1. Recognize the situation for what it is and deal with it correctly.
2. Not to explain all this to players or coaches or spectators either before the match or at the time of the first indirect free kick (which is the only situation where the distinction is important).

We continue to emphasize to new referees that, for example, the “captains talk” (the coin toss) is not the time to lecture on the Law.…