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Graves County Soccer Association

Graves County Soccer Association

Enforcement of 5 Yards for Free Kick

The Indoor Rules require that for all kicks, defending players must immediately retreat 5 yards and not attempt to prevent or delay the team from restarting play.

The team taking the kick DOES NOT have to ask the opponents to retreat 5 yards on a restart, the opponent is required by the laws of the game to retreat automatically.

If the opponent(s) who committed a foul fail to retreat the 5 yards automatically, and thus delay or prevent the restart of the play, the Indoor Rules REQUIRE the referee to caution the player(s) delaying the restart.

Further Clarification of the 5 Yard Issue: Referees recognize that an opponent, after committing a foul, will seek to regain a tactical advantage by preventing the team from restarting play. Referees are taught NOT to interfere with the retaking of a kick by enforcing the 5 yard law if such an action could rob a team of a quick restart. Some teams like to restart very quickly to catch the defense off guard. A referee who interrupts their restart to enforce the 5 yards would thus penalize the team taking the kick.

  • Likewise, although any player on the team taking the restart can request the 5 yards be enforced, most referees are trained to heed the request only from the one or two players setting up to take the restart. Why? Well just imagine a winger 12-14 yards away screaming for 5 yards, but the player taking the kick sees the opportunity for a quick restart to score a goal because the defense and goalie are out of position. The referee, hearing the winger yell for 5 yards, attempts to halt play just as the person takes the kick and scores! Now the referee has to disallow the goal and bring it back to enforce the 5 yards. The kicker is furious, the team is protesting, and suddenly that winger is nowhere to be found or owning up to his requesting 5 yards be enforced. Hence, a smart referee will watch what the player taking the kick is doing, and will take his cues from that player alone.


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