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Question Number: 33429

Law 17 - The Corner Kick 6/9/2019

RE: Youth to adult, comp and rec.

Barry Stewart of Chilliwack, BC Canada asks...

New laws:

In watching a men's international and women's World Cup action this weekend, it seems to me the refs were using whistle restarts on basic free kicks, even in the midfield. Also, strangely, on corner kicks. Men: USA vs Equador and women: France vs Oz.

There was no stoppage for an injury or a 'chat.' Rather than let players get on with it, the refs in both games used a whistle to allow the kicks.

I didn't watch the whole game in either case, to be able to say it was every single time.

Has there been a change in this regard? Ridiculous, if there has been...

Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Barry,
There has been no change in the law regarding the referee's use of the whistle for free kicks and corner kicks. I agree with ref McHugh that it is not a good idea to use the whistle unnecessarily but the laws don't actually prohibit referees from using the whistle in these circumstances, they just say that it isn't needed. The IFAB has not authorised any experiments along these lines according to any documents that I've seen and I think this is just an example of some referees choosing to use the whistle more than is necessary.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Barry,
micro management of the game is unfortunately where technology & the political pressure to appease everyone concerned has pushed us into a less free flowing system. I suppose the VAR to get decisions correct and the desire to keep all 11 players on the field to hold the interest of the fans is important but it is blatantly obvious the actions taken are at odds with the directives written claiming to allow the game to flow without interference. Yet we often see the display of trying micro manage too many obvious situations. Just bloody get on with it and punish those that seek to play unfair.

I agree 100% with my colleague Ref McHugh. Players are well aware of what they should or should not do. No one truly grasps the basic premise of free kicks is they are to be FREELY taken. Being proactive in heading off disputes maybe a good thing but so is accepting consequences & taking responsibility for your actions.

I will say this there is GENERALLY less pressure on officials in a friendly to try something less than the directives from above . It is why you see certain very good officials, suddenly go south, moving from good results within their national leagues & in preliminary stages but seem to have issues on the step up to WC or higher levels, because, although we use the phrase & say in the opinion of the referee, they mean do it my way or else!

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Barry
No change in the Law in this regard and in fact the use of the whistle is only part of the advice in the Law book.
Sometimes IFAB / FIFA uses friendly games to carry out experiments although we have no knowledge of that here. I read that the goal kick / free kick in the penalty area change had been part of experiments so it was decided to change the Law on those restarts. I am sure had I been watching such games I would be wondering what was going on!
Maybe something similar here? Perhaps it is just a coincidence that on two different continents that two different referees signal for corner kick restarts?
Also a pet peeve of mine is the constant stopping of corner kicks to *speak* to players. That needs a whistle restart so it becomes somewhat of a regular occurrence as it happens on very many corner kicks in high level games. I can see the point on certain aggressive behaviours yet delaying the restart to tell players not to foul is overkill in my opinion. We do not do it at other times so why does the referee have to tell players not to offend or desist from offending at corner kicks? It just so happens it is in an advice in referee instruction books which then means that referees have to show they are doing it as per the advice!
I have in the past had a chat with colleagues who use the whistle for corner kicks and I reminded them of the LotG advice. The advice is sound as I asked / advised them
1. What happens when the referee does not signal.
2. When the referee has to signal for an offence the whistle impact can be much less
3. Overuse of the whistle in general lessens the impact.
The current advice is as follows
** The whistle is NOT needed to:
# stop play for a clear goal kick, corner kick, throw-in or goal
# restart play from most free kicks, and a goal kick, corner kick, throw-in or dropped ball
A whistle which is used too frequently/unnecessarily will have less impact when it is needed.**

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