I am really confused by a call that was made on this game, and was hoping maybe you could shed some light on it for me. About 12 minutes into the game, Chicago was awarded a corner kick. Prior to the kick being taken a Chivas player body slammed a Chicago player inside the penalty box (the defender swung the offensive player around by the neck and then picked him up with both hands and laid him on the ground). The referee did not call a foul, and the AR called the corner kick back for a re-kick. Did I miss something? Shouldn’t that have been at least a yellow card to the Chivas player, if not a red since the ball was not yet in play? And shouldn’t there have been a PK for Chicago?
USSF answer (June 1, 2009):
Careful evaluation of the corner will show that the contact occurred before the corner kick was taken. Hence, given the fact that the ball was not in play, you must restart with the original corner kick.
Nowhere in the law does it state that a yellow card or red card needs to be issued because the ball is not in play. As you are aware, I’m sure, there is lots of holding taking place during corner kicks. Referees have been instructed to take a proactive role in dealing with this holding. This is the case in this situation.
The referee team takes a proactive role by stopping the play and retaking the kick. The referee’s whistle is a bit delayed because he is attempting to judge whether the offended team would benefit by allowing play to continue instead of retaking the corner kick. The assistant referee does help the referee by telling him that the ball was not in play at the time of the hold. As a result, the referee makes the correct decision to retake the corner kick.
In terms of misconduct, the referee decided that the holding was merely “careless” and not “reckless” and, thus, that is was not unsporting behavior. Consequently, he did not issue a caution to the defender. The referee could have been stronger in dealing with the holding defender by having a word with him and this may have assisted in proactively sending a message to prevent further holding. If you watch the entire game, you will see that the referee stopped the game on several other occasions prior to a corner kick being taken due to holding and jostling in the penalty area.