I was watching a U-11 girls match last weekend. The red team was about to take a corner kick, one player (player 1) from the red team retrieved the ball and set it on the corner arc. As she was doing so the coach of the red team began to yell “NO I don’t want you to take the kick have (player 2) take it” Player one then apparently touched the ball with her foot and went into position while player 2 ran over and began to dribble the ball. The referee blew the whistle and indicated a IFK to the other team. The red coach began to scream at the referee that player one had touched the ball, and it was obvious that this was a designed strategy. The referee then changed his call and allowed the red team to retake the corner kick.

While the players certainly could have done this on their own, is the coach permitted to engage in intentional deception by his instructions as to who will take the kick? Would a caution to the coach have been proper?

USSF answer (September 2, 2009):
Under the Laws of the Game, no team official may be cautioned or shown any cards. However, the (unauthorized) rules of some competitions may allow this. You would have to check the rules of the competition to see if this is allowed. The IFAB, the body that makes the Laws of the Game, does not permit it. Nor does FIFA, the body that administers the game and publishes the Laws, nor the U. S. Soccer Federation. Leaving aside any (unauthorized) rules of competition, if, in the opinion of the referee, the coach interferes with the game, that act becomes irresponsible behavior and the coach should be expelled (not sent off and not shown the card, but expelled) from the field and its surroundings. We should note that most instructions from coaches are simply noise and can generally be disregarded. However, if the behavior of the coach clearly distracts and misleads the opponents, or is loud, sudden, or abusive to anyone (his/her team’s players, the opponents, or the officials), that is the time to deal with the action.

The tactic in your scenario might be legitimate if the players had come up with it themselves. The critical issue to be resolved is whether the first player merely touched the ball (no kick, no movementĀ of the ball) or actually “kicked” it so as to put it into play. If it was simply a touch, then the second player is the one who put the ball into play and then played it a second time — this is a second touch violation, whistle, indirect free kick to the opposing team where the second touch occurred. If there was at least some perceptible movement to the ball as a result of the first player’s contact, then what followed was entirely lawful.

As to the restart, if the referee stopped play for what he thought was a second touch violation but was then advised by the assistant referee that the first contact did indeed result in “kick and moves,” then the restart must be a dropped ball.

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