I’ve been looking through the “archive” but I haven’t found the answer to my question yet, so I thought I’d just write.
I realize that this is very trivial, but a U10 coach asked me (in order to properly instruct his players) about proper positioning of players for kick-off. Are they allowed to stand on the line or not?
Law 8 states “all players are in their half of the field”.
Without hesitation I said that you can treat the halfway line during kick-off like you would a throw-in—“has part of each foot either on the touch line or …outside the touch line” or in this case the halfway line.
To make sure of my answer I asked a fellow referee who I feel is very knowledgeable about the laws of the game but his reply was different. He said you need to look at the halfway line like offside—“any part of his head, body or feet is nearer…”, in this case, the halfway line.
I then went to a 3rd source that I felt confident about but ended up with a 3rd opinion. In this case they said “any part of the body, including the hands, over the halfway line would be an infringement.”
So now I’m not sure what the correct response is. What does USSF have to say?
USSF answer (February 13, 2008):
Our first reaction was incredulity that anyone would even ask, but this was tempered by the realization that the location is a point not really covered in the instructional program. Nevertheless, after a moment of reflection, the answer came readily to mind.
Law 1 tells us: “The field of play is marked with lines. These lines belong to the areas of which they are boundaries.” Therefore, if the players stand on the halfway line they are in their own half of the field. If their heads or feet are slightly over the line, it makes no difference.