Thursday 8 September 2011

Ceremonial Free Kick Considerations

The following incidents occurred during the MLS match between LA Galaxy and FC Dallas on Saturday 6 August 2011. The match finished 3—1.

Incident One: Ceremonial FK 1

In the 32' the Referee whistles and then, just as the ball is about to be kicked by Galaxy's David Beckham, he runs across the likely path of the ball towards the middle of the pitch. Here are the freeze frames:

It is not a good idea to run across the path of the ball

A goal results from the free kick. Where is the Referee?

Another camera view

Yet another camera view

The Referee appears to be about 30 yards away from where the ball lands (i.e. in the goal area).

Where is the ball likely to go?
Where should the Referee go to get the best view?

Incident Two: Ceremonial FK 2

In the 60', play is moving towards the AR's corner. The Referee remains central. Ultimately, the ball and various players end up in the corner of the pitch nearest the AR. Here are the freeze frames:

Play moves towards the corner flag

At 60:03, the Referee whistles and a foul is awarded to the attacking team LA Galaxy (white)

There is a delay in restart and the AR, by making his presence known, does a good job in preventing a potential pushing and shoving contest which could have got out of control

At 60:14, the Referee finally arrives on the scene
(this is at least 11 seconds after the whistle has been blown for a free kick to LA Galaxy)

At 61:05, the Referee eventually whistles for restart and David Beckham takes the free kick
(this is 51 seconds after the Referee arrived at the scene of the incident, and 62 seconds after first whistling for the free kick)

The setting up of the wall in this MLS match took twice as long as Dowd's Doodle or Dowd's Dawdle that occurred recently in the EPL

Could anything have been done by the match officials to prevent any delay in the restart of play?

For Ceremonial Free Kicks, the Referee's positioning and timing are important considerations. In this MLS match, the Referee's positioning (Incident One) and time to restart the match (Incident Two) appeared rather strange.

The match Referee was Michael Kennedy, an experienced MLS Referee and the current presenter of US Soccer's Referee Week in Review.

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