After a direct free kick was awarded, the three members of the defending team lined up about 6 yards from where the ball was placed for the restart (obviously not yielding the required distance). The attacking team elected to take a quick kick rather than ask for the required ten yards. One of the defenders jumped up and to the side and was able to deflect the ball with his chest. In this situation, should the defender be cautioned for failure to yield ten yards and the free kick retaken, or does the attacking team’s decision to take the kick negate any requirement to yield the required distance? If this situation is a violation of the law, as a follow-up question, if the defenders did not move and were struck by the ball, would this also be a violation?

USSF answer (May 6, 2008):
1. Yes and yes. The defender within ten yards clearly interfered with the taking of the free kick. The attackers have the option to restart even though there are defenders within ten yards but that does not absolve these defenders from the duty to not interfere from within ten yards.  And clearly the ball was not misplayed directly to the opponent — he “jumped up and to the side” in order to deflect the ball.

2. No. If the ball had been kicked directly to a defender who happened to be within ten yards at the time there is no infringement, no card, and no stoppage.

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