An interesting question has arisen. After some searching I cannot find a similar situation covered in previous questions.

At a free kick, a defender is lingering within 10 yards of the ball.

The would-be kicker, rather than seeking the intervention of the referee, is irked at the opponent and kicks the ball as hard as possible at him.

Obviously the kicker could be sent off for violent conduct, or the referee could see it as unsporting behavior, depending on the speed and closeness of the kick. But what is the restart? Colleagues agree that it “feels like” this should be a foul. But if so, which foul is it? Kicking? Does the ball become an extension of the foot, similar to thrown objects being an extension of the hand? Or has the referee stopped play solely to administer misconduct, so the restart is indirect?

USSF answer (August 28, 2009):
If throwing the ball is considered an extension of the hand and thus the action is striking, why can’t the ball be considered an extension of the foot and the scenario described would be kicking? We would have no trouble — assuming the referee is thorough in evaluating what happened — giving a direct free kick (or penalty kick) for kicking and a red card for violent conduct.

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