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Question Number: 35138

Law 13 - Free Kicks 10/3/2023

RE: Amateur Adult

George of Sacratomato, CA US asks...

Is the coach of the team taking a free kick allowed to ask for 10? Which law addresses this scenario?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi George
The simple way to deal with this is for the kicker to ask for the 10 yards and that can be done with a pre organised instruction to the kicker to ask for it. The question then does not arise.

Some referees may not see the coach’s intervention as tactical instructions yet rather something else directed at the referee.

I think it is much easier to advise the player who is taking the kick to look for it. * Joe wait for the 10 yards*. That should be a signal for the player to politely ask for the yards.

I also think that many referees will probably insist on the 10 yards enforcement anyway and on the whistle when the kick is not taken quickly certainly in an attacking kick situation. Once the referee has taken control of a free kick in an goal scoring situation it should be on the whistle which means 10 yards will be enforced.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi George
the coach can ask for what he wishes, not saying the referee must or will listen lol
At youth levels we are teaching the kids. Some interplay between ref and coach as to procedures, rules & set ups is not necessarily a game changing alteration or unfair intervention.

Free kicks, optimum word free, the LOTG allows them to occur quickly. If a player on the field choses to go, as the coach is screaming for ten, if it was done correctly and with no opposition interference, we play on! As my colleague Ref McHugh inferred dissent is a mind cluttering conundrum, best use radio silence techniques!

Technically as referees we are not to interfere on the tactical dreams of what the teams do at free kicks. The moment we alter this, it sends off celebratory vibes as a ceremonial whistled kick where the defending team will claim they were disadvantaged somehow.

If the player stops his run up and awaits my decision, assuming I will do as the coach asks, then we are waiting for the whistle as I recognize the point of the matter has in effect been made. I could ask the Player what do you want to do, but somethings are self evident. That is just common sense. Or Law 18

Generally the player taking the kick is asking but a proactive referee could be firm on the hustling of opposition to leave the area by occasionally cautioning those obtuse players who like to delay the proceedings or infringe on the yardage. When I am compelled to stop play for a poor challenge resulting in a foul, after the whistle sounds I point directly to the restart spot using a defining statement! Blue ball, on the ground, Ten yards now red! Move it gentlemen or ladies as the case maybe.!

If asked for ten or if cards need to be used or a talk given I POINT to the whistle, eye contact the kicker state "We go ONLY on the whistle!" and get an affirmative response. I then ensure the ball is set where it needs to be, with a leave it right there command, as I do not use foam that often. I then set wall and take a position to deal with the ceremonial free kick. Nothing happens until I blow the whistle to restart.

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