I am having some trouble understanding the difference between these two offenses. screening I believe is when the player has the ball under control without using his hands, arms, legs or body to protect his control of the ball, if an offense has occurred the opponent is awarded a DFK.Impeding the progress, I believe would be when the ball is not under control, the player deliberately prevents the opponent from playing the ball by obstructing the shortest path to the ball, the opponent would be awarded an IFK.
If the opponent is impeded in his progress to the ball by a player using his arm, legs, hands or body (what else can a player impede and opponent with) is the opponent awarded a DFK? Thank You for your time, great web site.
USSF answer (April 10, 2007):
“Screening” is not necessarily an offense, though the word is certainly used that way by various people. To “screen” someone illegally is to block that person’s view. It is most applicable in relation to a player in an offside position “screening” the view of the opposing goalkeeper (or possibly an opposing defender).
You might perhaps mean “shielding,” which is when a player has possession of the ball and does not wish others to take it away. (This is also called “screening.”) When shielding, a player may use the body and arms to protect the ball, but the arms may not be used as tools to push the opponent away. (In other words, the player may not contact the opponent with the arms.) That would be the offense of either pushing or holding, depending on what was done.
Shielding becomes impeding when the player who is shielding the ball does not have possession and cannot establish it.
Here is a definition of impeding from the USSF publication “Advice to Referees on the Laws of the Game”:
12.14 IMPEDING AN OPPONENT
“Impeding the progress of an opponent” means moving on the field so as to obstruct, interfere with, or block the path of an opponent. Impeding can include crossing directly in front of the opponent or running between the opponent and the ball so as to form an obstacle with the aim of delaying progress. There will be many occasions during a game when a player will come between an opponent and the ball, but in the majority of such instances, this is quite natural and fair. It is often possible for a player not playing the ball to be in the path of an opponent and still not be guilty of impeding.The offense of impeding an opponent requires that the ball not be within playing distance and that physical contact between the player and the opponent is normally absent. If physical contact occurs, the referee should, depending on the circumstances, consider instead the possibility that a charging infringement has been committed (direct free kick) or that the opponent has been fairly charged off the ball (indirect free kick, see Advice 12.22). However, nonviolent physical contact may occur while impeding the progress of an opponent if, in the opinion of the referee, this contact was an unavoidable consequence of the impeding (due, for example, to momentum).
12.15 PLAYING DISTANCE
The referee’s judgment of “playing distance” should be based on the player’s ability to play the ball, not upon any arbitrary standard.
The restart for holding or pushing is a direct free kick, taken from the spot of the offense. The restart for impeding is an indirect free kick, taken from the spot of the offense.