A yellow card is usually given to free kick candidates when, in order to gain time, they take too much time to shoot.

Usually, especially for defensive free kicks, the candidate is clearly identified because it's the one a few steps from the ball, pretending to think about how he's going to shoot, making gestures to his teammates, etc.

But what if no one is near the ball and the time keeps running? The referee will still need to give someone a yellow card.

  • 1
    "The free kick candidate is clearly identified because it's the one a few steps to the ball" - not always. Sometimes multiple players will crowd round the ball, either to keep their opponents guessing about who'll take the kick and from what angle, or because they genuinely can't agree on who should take it. I've even seen feints where one player will run up and pretend to kick the ball, the wall moves in response, and then the second player hits the ball past them.
    – F1Krazy
    Jan 7, 2020 at 9:47
  • I agree, I'm trying to rephrase my question. I was thinking about defensive free kicks (usually by the goal keeper or a defender), when it is supposed to be be quick, but the team, leading by one goal is trying to spend time and snatch the game.
    – Bebs
    Jan 7, 2020 at 10:30
  • Probably to the captain, that responds for the team. Take a look at this link dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2996184/… Jan 11, 2020 at 15:05

1 Answer 1


I wasn't entirely sure, so I asked in our local community about this question. Most of it got confirmed, but there's a few more things you can do as a referee in such a situation.

  1. Talk to the captain of the team in question and remind them to take the free kick.
  2. You can caution the captain, if they're not listening or still refuse to continue the game.
    • Exception: If the captain is actually willing to continue the game and the team refuses to do so you shouldn't caution the captain.
  3. Give the team an ultimatum (1-2 mins) to take the free kick.
  4. If they're still not playing abandon the game.
  • By "caution", you mean yellow card?
    – Bebs
    Jan 17, 2020 at 12:24
  • Yes, cautioning is just another term for showing a yellow card.
    – dly
    Jan 17, 2020 at 12:29
  • The referee has no authority to caution the captain for the behaviour of their team. Remove point 2 and this answer is perfect. Jan 21, 2020 at 2:36
  • @ReinstateMonica2331977 read point 2 again. I never said they get a card for the behavior of the team. You can caution the captain for refusing to listen to the referee. If they try and the others don't listen you don't have to caution them. This point is perfectly fine and has been confimed by a highly ranked referee and several others. Actually the whole answer has been confirmed by multiple referees.
    – dly
    Jan 21, 2020 at 8:20
  • added an exception to point 2 to be more clear about it
    – dly
    Jan 21, 2020 at 8:27

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