I am currently being told by higher level referees and the referee advisor for our area that I should not issue yellow cards for delaying the restart even though the laws say this is a yellow card offense. I tell the captains of both teams that I will issue a card if a player does not give 10 yards, or an attempt at 10, when i point to the spot for the kick. The players involved are all u-15 and above so they know the law but are being coached to delay the kicks so that their team can get into position. It is hard to enforce this rule when you see the upper division referees as well as the FIFA referees repeatedly telling players to move back and then marching off 10 instead of issuing a card for a player blocking a quick restart. What is the official position on this?
USSF answer (April 19, 2010):
Well, right or wrong and based only on the information you provided, the official position in your area seems to be not to referee in accordance with the Laws of the Game. However, that is not the official position of the U. S. Soccer Federation.
The Federation encourages referees, ARs, and fourth officials to first ask the players to get into position and take the restart correctly. If the players do not respond to this verbal encouragement, then the referee must take action in accordance with the Law. You will find the procedure outlined in the Interpretation of the Laws of the Game and Guidelines for Referees under Law 12:
Delaying the restart of play
Referees must caution players who delay the restart of play by tactics such as:
* taking a free kick from the wrong position with the sole intention of forcing the referee to order a retake
* appearing to take a throw-in but suddenly leaving it to one of his teammates to take
* kicking the ball away or carrying it away with the hands after the referee has stopped play
* excessively delaying the taking of a throw-in or free kick
* delaying leaving the field of play when being substituted
* provoking a confrontation by deliberately touching the ball after the referee has stopped play
Referees who fail to follow this procedure do the game and the players a disservice.