Here is the situation. Red team is attacking and makes a long pass, Blue defender runs toward the ball and calls out “Mine” and then clears the ball up field. The Center blows the whistle and awards an indirect free kick to the Red attacking team. This type of play happens again during the game where the Blue defender calls out that he has the ball, “I got it.” The Center again awards an indirect free kick to the attacking team. After the game the Blue coach questioned the calls and was told, “The defender was using trickery which impeded the progress of the Red players playing the ball”. Is there some new rule that I am unaware of or some old rule that I don’t understand the interpretation of?

Answer (August 30, 2007):
No, the defender is not using “trickery,” “trickery” cannot be used to impede opponents, and there has been no change to the rules. Your referee has apparently misinterpreted the Laws — or someone misunderstood what he or she said.

(1) If a player is the only one near the ball and shouts “mine,” there is no infringement of the Law. It is only when a defending player actually deceives the attacking team that he or she would be punished with a caution for unsporting behavior and the attacking team would be awarded an indirect free kick from the place of the infringement.

(2) Players may only be impeded when an opponent prevents them from playing the ball by placing his/her body between them and the ball and the opponent is not within playing distance of the ball.

(3) The rule for shouting “mine” by defenders has always been there. However, attacking players are allowed to use this same sort of guile without being punished.

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