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I was recently playing football in a recreational league, when a teammate was fouled. The referee awarded us a direct free kick, and seeing that the opponents were choosing to argue with the referee instead of defending, I took the opportunity to take the free kick quickly.

I placed the ball in the correct position, and as I went to take it, an opponent moved and stood directly in front of the ball, making no effort to get back. I kicked the ball anyway, hoping it would go through his legs. Instead, the ball became caught between us and since it was in play, I began kicking at it trying to get it out.

The referee began yelling, asking me what I was doing, and then told me to wait for the whistle. At this point, all of their defenders were allowed to get back into position, marking all of our attackers and forming a wall in front of the ball. The referee then told me he didn't have to allow a retake, but he was "doing me a favour".

Was this handled correctly by the referee? As a supplementary question, if the referee is refusing to enforce the required distance correctly, what strategies can I use to avoid opponents preventing me from taking a quick free kick?

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If it was a direct free kick (near the goal), the referee may lock the ball. He should ask the attacking team, if they want to take it quick or slow. If they want it slow and ask the referee for the correct distance between wall and ball, the ball is available with a whistle again. Though, the ball is usually only locked if the attacking team asks for the right distance between ball and wall. See this link. This is why most defending teams set a player direct in front of the ball, so the attacking team has to ask the referee for the distance.

So, if an opponent blocks a ball from a locked free kick on purpose and is closer than 9.15m to the ball, the opponent should get a yellow card and the kick is repeated.

Unfortunately, the communication between players and referees, in amateur leagues, often is very poor and the referee does not manage to show/say the players what he has decided and planed to do next.

You might find this interesting:

referee signals

about FIFA Law 13: free kicks

See here:

"If a player decides to take a free kick quickly and an opponent who is less than 9.15 m (10 yds) from the ball intercepts it, the referee must allow play to continue.

If a player decides to take a free kick quickly and an opponent who is near the ball deliberately prevents him taking the kick, the referee must caution the player for delaying the restart of play.

If, when a free kick is taken by the defending team from inside its own penalty area, one or more opponents remain inside the penalty area because the defender decides to take the kick quickly and the opponents did not have time to leave the penalty area, the referee must allow play to continue."

  • "Though, the ball is usually only locked if the defending team asks for." Is there a reference in the Laws of the Game stating that the defence may ask for a free kick to be on the whistle? – Reinstate Monica 2331977 Dec 3 '14 at 8:23
  • Oh sorry, my fault. I was not precise, I think. See my update. – Phab Dec 3 '14 at 8:40
  • "As an opponent you could block a quick free kick by standing in front of the ball. The game continiues as normal (because the free kick taker didn't ask the referee for the correct distance). But if you'll move to block the ball, you should get a yellow card and the free kick is repeated (and locked)." Are you saying that opponents are not required to make an effort to move until the referee asks them to? – Reinstate Monica 2331977 Dec 3 '14 at 8:45
  • ...to make no effort to activly block the ball inside the 9.15m – Phab Dec 3 '14 at 8:53
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    It sounds to me like the differentiation here is that in a 'quick' free kick (ie, you move to take it right away) the referee shouldn't penalize someone for not getting out of the zone (because they didn't have time), but if they "make a move" to make the free kick more difficult prior to you kicking it (ie, move towards the ball) that should be cautioned. – Joe Dec 3 '14 at 19:48

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