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Question Number: 34859

Law 13 - Free Kicks 2/4/2023

RE: rec Adult

Sal of Chicago, il usa asks...

Ona ceremonial free kick and after the referee has clearly indicated a whistle restart, the kicker kicks the ball wide while the referee was still setting up the wall distance. two questions:
1) Restart with the original free kick or goal kick
2) warn the kicker to wait for the whistle or caution him?

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Sal,
for the purposes of fair play and match control.

Play on, goal kick works well at grassroots!
With a verbal warning to the kicker if that free kick scored, the goal would NOT count and a CAUTION show the yellow card and if it was a second caution a red card send off you so you best listen to my instructions next time or face unpleasant consequences.

That is a practical application of common sense as the miss itself and disregard or lack of respect for the referee was not an intentional action but more of an over eager non listener.

What the LOTG require is a caution, show the yellow card then retake the free kick no matter the result of the kick because it was PAINFULLY OBVIOUS that you CLEARLY indicated a whistle and there was NO doubt the kicker who did the obtuse deed & EVERYBODY else on both teams including spectators, coaches, parents and managers were aware, thus no one is dismayed at the result of a decision to retake even if the defending team will be angry should the retake score.
However, if the referee could effectively sell the free kick was in fact signaled, in some obscure way, just ignore and do what we likely do at the grassroots award the goal kick and get on with it.

On the taking of ceremonial whistled in restarts
Be proactive
Firm body language & indicate with EYE contact , verbal instruction WAIT
Whistle held aloft and pointed to with other hand FOR THIS that CLEARLY indicates we are NOT going to restart until you the referee are ready and as such will CLEARLY whistle to begin.
Hand the ball to the kicker if you decided to keep it until then (always on a PK)
Mark designate the kick location if necessary the disappearing foam sigh
Position the wall.
Once everyone is in place
Move away
Blow Whistle to restart

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Sal
Thanks for the question
There is no correct answer here yet the advice is to stop play and restart with the original kick. It is at the referee's discretion as to whether a caution is required and a referee would have to consider why it happened and if it was a blatant attempt at unsporting behaviour or ignoring clear instruction from the referee or miscommunication.

In Law unlike a penalty kick where a whistle is required Law 13 makes no reference to restarting a game with a whistle at a free kick just that the ball is placed in the correct location and it is at rest. The ball is in play when it is kicked and moved.
The advice which is not law is that a whistle should be used when a free kick becomes ceremonial yet not stated in Law 13. However it has come to be the accepted understanding that a whistle has to be used hence why it was s the most common outcome.
I recall in our National Cup final in 2013 the referee allowed a goal to stand after a ceremonial free kick where the whistle was not used. The wall was in place, the goalkeeper was ready and just before the whistle an attacker flicked the ball over the wall to a team mate who scored. A quick peep would have prevented the furore that the decision caused with one player sent off for protesting the "no whistle" restart. The defending team believed that a whistle was required yet that is not the case in law.

So the advice is to prevent difficulties for the game such as that shown in the video.
A referee would be entitled to go with a goal kick yet it opens up a whole can of worms in that if it happens again and say a goal is scored which may be disallowed which can show that the referee has not been consistent if the kick is retaken.

Good mechanics will prevent this and a referee should clearly instruct the players at the ball that the kick should not be taken until the whistle has sounded. Prevention is always better than cure.

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