Football: Ten-yard test for free-kicks

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The Independent Online
A NEW law aimed at penalising unsporting behaviour at free-kicks is being introduced on a trial basis in the first-round of the Auto Windscreens Shield next week.

The knock-out competition for Second and Third Division Nationwide League clubs will be the proving ground on Tuesday and Wednesday. Any player cautioned for showing dissent, failing to retreat 10 yards, encroaching or acting in a manner deemed unsporting after the award of a free-kick will also see the ball moved closer to the defending team's goal.

If that were to take the ball into the penalty area, the kick will not be upgraded to a penalty but remain a direct place kick. The rule can only be enacted once at any free-kick. After that, the referee's only option is to issue further cautions. An indirect free-kick cannot be moved closer to the goal than the six-yard line. The official must show a yellow card before the ball is advanced.

The practice, similar to that used in rugby union, had been used in a similar experiment in the Channel Islands and a local league in the Midlands, but Fifa, football's world governing body, wanted to see the measure utilised in the professional game. The Football League responded by offering its Shield competition.

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