At a free kick when managing the wall for a ceremonial free kick, should the referee pace off the 10 yds or just determine where the 10 yds are and set the wall there? I had been told that the best way was to just determine where 10 yds is and set the wall there (if players were pushing the issue 10 yds could grow). Had a young ref who went to regionals and was told that he should pace off the 10 yds.

Could not find this addressed in the ussf procedures guide.

USSF answer (October 5, 2009):
We had thought this would have been covered in the entry-level referee course.

There are numerous ways to get the ten yards. Each referee must determine which works best for the particular situation. Here are some of the ways to get the correct minimum distance at a free kick — if the kicking team does not make it quite clear that it wants to take a quick free kick.

1. Learn how far ten yards is — radius of the center circle, radius of the penalty arc — and keep it in your mind, asking the players to move back the distance you have determined is correct.
2. Be the “first brick in the wall,” getting there (without walking it off) and instructing the players to be no nearer than your position to the ball.

Under no circumstances may the referee deliberately require the defending team to retire more than the mandatory minimum distance of ten yards. However, ten yards is where the referee says it is (in his or her judgment).

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