I understand that law 8 states that starts/restarts at beginnings of periods and after goals should be from forward movement of a ball touched once by the kicking team. My question is about clarification of some technicalities.
If a ball is played directly backwards then it would not be in play and should be retaken unless double touched. 1.) if the receiver stops the ball and then kicks it forward putting it in play, why wouldn’t it be a an IFK from there. Unless because it was not put into play from the center mark. 2.) same scenario except second player kicks directly without stopping.
Similar to an IFK where the ball could be initially kicked, but if not put into play, and a subsequent result (such as goal) would be discounted because the ball wasn’t in play.
USSF answer (December 10, 2008):
The kick-off, like the throw-in, is simply a way to get the game restarted when the ball has left the field. It is, and should be, regarded as a relaxed and less tense way of doing so. We allow trifling infringements of Law 15 in this regard, and we should do the same in the case of the kick-off.
While the procedure you describe, playing the ball backwards, etc., is not what we would allow on a free kick and certainly not what is required by Law 8, it is commonly accepted practice for kick-offs at all levels of soccer. We have seen it allowed even in high-level competitions throughout the world.
What you describe does not meet the requirements of Law 8 for a kick-off. As always, however, the issue is indeed whether the action is a violation (it is), but we must consider whether the violation should/must/needs to be handled by a stoppage and a retake of the restart. Unless the player performing the kick-off incorrectly gains some unfair benefit, we are inclined to consider the violation trifling (on par with a teammate illegally standing just over the midfield line on a kick-off to “receive” the ball). As it occurs at the very highest levels on a routine basis, you might, at most, warn the kicker that what just happened was a technical violation of the Law. However, we would recommend that you consider it trifling and punish it only if the players begin to take even greater advantage of the referee’s kindness.