If a player puts the ball down for a goal kick and then moves it to the other side of the goal area is it a IDFK or just a warning and a possible caution for delay of the game?
USSF answer (January 26, 2011):
Unfortunately, we cannot lay our hands on a particular document, but the general rule is that If, upon being awarded a goal kick, the defending team blatantly wastes time by placing the ball within the goal area for the restart and then subsequently moves it unnecessarily to another location within the goal area, this act can be deemed as timewasting.
The option of placing the ball anywhere in the goal area was intended to speed up play. Given that guideline and goal, the only factor then is to avoid undue delay or timewasting. If moving the ball after being placed is not permitted, what should the referee do?
As with most questions of this nature, the only correct answer involves how the referee interprets the action and how he or she uses common sense and. If there were a real, worldwide problem in this area, the IFAB would include the answer as a Decision under Law 16. Here is a clear and simple rule: Moving the ball around like that is wasting time, pure and simple. Unless the movement is blatantly outrageous and used in the closing seconds of a tight game by the goalkeeper or other player of the team in the lead, the referee should warn first and, on repetition, caution the guilty player.