Rules interpretation

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Rules interpretation

Post by keeper on Tue Oct 29, 2013 12:12 pm

Ok Pilot Nation, need your thoughts on this one, because I'm not sure.

On Sunday, my daughter and I went to the Stanford-OSU women's game. A free kick was awarded to Stanford with Verloo and Ubogagu positioned to take the free kick. The ref blew the whistle to restart play. Verloo then walked up to the ball picked it up with her hands and placed it back on the field. As she was standing up, Ubogagu took the kick. (As an aside, it hit the crossbar, rebounded to a Stanford player, who scored a goal.)

So here is my question -- since the ref blew the whistle to restart play, isn't the ball "in play" and a handball should have been called? Or is the ball only in play after it is kicked? I've seen players handle the ball prior to the whistle blowing, but this may have been the first time I've seen someone handle it after the whistle. I checked the FIFA rules, but there isn't anything specific to this situation. Thoughts? Thx.

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Re: Rules interpretation

Post by UPSoccerFanatic on Tue Oct 29, 2013 12:26 pm

This from the NCAA Rules Manual:

"As soon as the ball is in position to be played, the referee shall give a signal,
which may be a whistle. The ball may be kicked in any direction. The ball shall
be stationary when the kick is taken and is not in play until it has been played
or touched."

Question: What does "touched" mean?

My impression is that Stanford, this year, has been trying to do some deceptive things on restarts intended to trick their opponents.  Presumably, they're trying to do them within the rules.

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Re: Rules interpretation

Post by keeper on Tue Oct 29, 2013 12:53 pm

FIFA had similar information with no definition of "touched."

Deception was my guess as well and it seemed to work somewhat. It looked like the OSU players relaxed a bit. It probably is "within the rules" as a result of ambiguity. It would be interesting to have a ref weigh in.

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Re: Rules interpretation

Post by Geezaldinho on Tue Oct 29, 2013 1:31 pm


This is one of those cases where the NCAA soccer rule book assumes that the sport being played is Football-soccer. The assumption, without actually saying so, is that where the NCAA omits such definition, you default to the FIFA ones. Remember, all our referees are trained by the USSF, which is sanctioned by FIFA.

The FIFA definition for when a ball is in play for free kicks and corner kick is in Law 13:

the ball is in play when it is kicked and moves"
Kickoffs add that the first touch( with the foot) must be into the attacking end, and PK's must be kicked forward( towards goal)

The  NCAA wording of "Played or touched",  assumes a legal touch, ie with the foot. Also, in the NCAA and FIFA lifting the ball with one or two feet is allowed as the first touch.

All kicks must be taken with a ball that is stationary when it is played. If not, that is considered deception and the referee will order a restart, but merely repositioning the ball with hands or feet is not considered deception, unless the repositioning with the foot is done with intent to deceive, in the opinion of the referee. Verloo's repositioning with her hands isn't handling because the ball isn't yet in play. The whistle should have alerted the defending team that the ball could be in play any time.

If you watch an NCAA game, the clock for a "ceremonial restart" stops on the referee signal and begins not on his whistle, but on the kick.

I have seen plays on indirect kicks and corners where one player will make a minuscule touch and casually walk away from the ball and a second player will then dribble or shoot, with the intent that the ball is in play. In the cases I saw, the ref demanded a restart.

As To deceptive restarts, I'll remind folks we scored a goal earlier this year when Frisbie reached down and stopped a ball and immediately kicked forward to Cruz, who assisted on a goal with a cross. That isn't considered deception either.

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Re: Rules interpretation

Post by DoubleDipper on Tue Oct 29, 2013 11:07 pm

No ball picked up here....but plenty of deceptive restarts, including "lifting" the ball a couple of times, and at the very end, something I've never seen before on a PK.

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Re: Rules interpretation

Post by keeper on Wed Oct 30, 2013 7:15 am

Thanks for all of the clarifications. The Trick Free kicks video was fun to watch. Those deceptions I'm used to seeing. And there are a couple that it would be great to see the Pilots attempt.

While it still feels like Stanford took advantage of some ambiguity in the rules, as you indicated, they're not breaking a written rule.

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Re: Rules interpretation

Post by SoreKnees on Wed Oct 30, 2013 8:24 am

Geez has it exactly right (as usual). The ball is in play when it is kicked and moves. Recent clarifications disallow merely stepping on the ball (as used to be common on indirect free kicks) and require a "kicking motion" with the foot.

There are reasons why a player might handle the ball after the whistle that allows the taking of the kick. Perhaps she thought it was not sitting up suitably. Perhaps the inflation valve was pointing directly back at her, which affects the reaction of ball to foot. If the opponents were deceived, it's really their own fault.

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