An attacking team is awarded a corner kick.
As the attacker approaches to take the kick ,she pushes the corner flag aside to give her ample room to strike the ball.
Should play immediately be stopped while the ball is still in play, give the player a yellow card for unsporting behavior and award a rekick of the corner kick?
USSF answer (May 21, 2009):
The following excerpt from the “Advice to Referees on the Laws of the Game” is applicable here:
1.6 NO PLAYER MODIFICATIONS TO THE FIELD
“Goalkeepers or other players may not make unauthorized marks on the field of play. The player who makes such marks or alterations on the field to gain an unfair advantage may be cautioned for unsporting behavior. Players may return bent or leaning corner flags to the upright position, but they may not bend or lean them away from the upright position to take a corner kick, nor may the corner flag be removed for any reason.
Accordingly, what the player did was, indeed, a violation of the Law. If you decide that the action warrants a caution for misconduct (unsporting behavior), then you would stop play, show the yellow card, and restart with the corner kick (because the misconduct occurred while the ball was not in play). However, you could also be proactive, if possible, by anticipating the player’s action and advising her not to move the flag before she actually commits the infraction. Finally, you could decide that the violation was trifling, allow the corner kick to be taken, and give her a formal warning not to move the flag in the future.