I know this has been addressed previously but I just can’t seem to locate the answer. I award a free kick and one or more defenders runs over and stands directly in front of the ball about a foot away. I actually hear their coach telling them to do so. (The coach later tells me that he coaches his players to do this so as to make the attacker ask for the 10 yard “cushion.”) It is my understanding of the laws that this is a violation of the letter and spirit of Law 13 and that the player are interfering with the restart of play and could, perhaps should, be cautioned. Notwithstanding what we see in the EPL and MLS, what is the position of USSF on this scenario?
Incidentally, I did caution the player who did this.
Answer (October 24, 2007):
Coaches will do almost anything that aids their team, including teaching the players to cheat in this and other ways. There is only one way to stop it and the Law is quite clear on what should be done. Every player who “fails to respect the required distance when play is restarted with a corner kick, free kick or throw-in” should be cautioned for that offense. That applies to your current situation; however, very often minor transgressions of this requirement can be taken care of by talking to or warning the player, but violations as blatant and cynical as this one call out for an immediate, no-questions-asked caution.