This one has been asked in one form or another before, once by me, so please forgive the redundancy, but …
The rules allow players to stand where they wish for the most part (10 yards, etc not withstanding) and when it comes to a corner kick it is not uncommon to see an attacker attempt to disrupt a keepers concentration or ability to see or play a ball prior the the kick when everyone is jostling for position. I also know that keepers get no special consideration with regard to contact unless they are in control of the ball with thier hands.
That said, what can a keeper or coach do in a situation where the CR seems indifferent to hard body contact and what would seem to most observers to be an attacker impeding the keeper pre-kick. I know that if the CR determines that the keeper was interfered with once the ball is in play they can waive off the kick or possible score, and give the defense a free kick, but that does not address the issue all that well.
This seems to be a coached tactic and is used quite a bit at the U11 through U14/15 ages. It seems unfair to the keeper and puts them in a risky situation trying to keep their stance and make a play when being “guarded” almost like in a basketball game. Should/can the keeper or coach ask the CR from relief from this while the jostling is occurring?
USSF answer (September 29, 2009):
First let us repeat the answer we gave you back on May 14, 2008:
If the referee sees the situation developing, there are two choices: wait until the ball has been kicked to see what happens or step in proactively.
1. If the referee waits until the ball has been kicked to see what happens, there are two possibilities. If the player who is posting on the goalkeeper is attempting to play the ball, his tactics are legitimate. On the other hand, if the player is clearly attempting to interfere with the goalkeeper’s ability to play the ball, the tactics are not legitimate and the referee should call the player for impeding the goalkeeper and award an indirect free kick to the goalkeeper’s team from the point of the foul — bearing in mind the special circumstances applying to infringements within the goal area.
Unless this tactic is repeated, there is no need to caution the impeding player.
As to countermeasures taken by the goalkeeper against the marking player, they should be punished only if the opposing player is clearly attempting to play the ball and not playing the goalkeeper. The referee must exercise common sense.
2. If the referee decides to be proactive, he or she may stop play before the kick takes place and step in immediately and prevent a foul or even misconduct from occurring by having a word with the prospective perpetrator, whether it is the marking player or the goalkeeper. This keeps the ball with the team that won the corner kick (or other restart) and should defuse a potential escalation of the action into misconduct.
To that we might add that there is nothing we can do to MAKE the referee recognize what is going on and act against it. A polite — let us stress — P O L I T E — request to the referee at a stoppage in play might — let us stress M I G H T — work, but experience has shown us that the referees who do not recognize this tactic are often those who miss many other things in a game and are also those who will be the first to take disciplinary action against the person who asks or comments, whether it is truly deserved or not.