Video Instruction – Ceremonial Free Kick
Free kicks near the attacking penalty area can lead to, or actually be, a goal scoring opportunity. Referees must be alert to ensure the free kicks are taken fairly while minimally interfering with the taking of the free kick. In the case below, the free kick is taken during overtime resulting in a game winning situation.
If you think this should be a ceremonial free kick, select “no goal” below as your decision. Otherwise, select “goal” below.
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available as you are reviewing this clip. The NISOA Official decision will reference the considerations and help you better understand the decision making process. When you select one of the decision choices below, you will unlock the "Get the NISOA decision" button.
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NISOA Official Decision
Quick Free Kick vs Ceremonial Free Kick
In this video clip, you see an example of a referee involved at the location of the restart. Once the ball is so far way and the teams are clearly waiting for referee intervention, the referee should intervene - a quick restart should be just that - quick. This should be a ceremonial free kick restart. We do not consider this a misapplication of a rule of conduct but rather a matter of referee judgement.
Let's review the considerations and recommendations for a quick free kick vs ceremonial free kick restart.
Quick Free Kick
- The attacking team takes the kick as soon as the ball is properly placed, with no separate signal needed by the referee.
- The attacking team does not ask for (verbally or visually) the minimum distance to be enforced.
A free kick may be taken quickly – without the referee's whistle – provided that:
- no disciplinary sanction is to be taken the free kick is taken quickly after play is stopped (i.e. few seconds…).
- the ball is stationary at the place of the offense the free kick requires no management by the referee.
- the referee has not yet started to control the wall / the opponents to get them back the appropriate distance.
Ceremonial Free Kick
The kick cannot be taken by the attacking team until the referee gives a separate signal – the whistle – under the following circumstances:
- The attacking team requests a ceremonial free kick by asking the referee (verbally or visually) for the minimum distance to be enforced.
- The referee or assistant referee, with the referee's acknowledgment, chooses to enforce the distance for game management purposes.
A referee, in the "danger zone" who motions to defenders to move back is "involved" as is a referee who begins to move to the 10-yard mark for the wall. Similar actions of "involvement" must result in a ceremonial free kick. Referees must be aware of how their actions are perceived as well as their potential affect. The referee’s body language and actions can lead players to think a kick is "ceremonial" in nature. A referee must be aware that actions, aside from the "wait for the whistle" signal, may indicate that the restart is ceremonial, and a "quick" free kick is no longer an option.