Remember when free-kicks were moved 10 meters forward because of an objection

Soccer is a pretty simple game.

Even if you have never watched the sport in your life, you can sit in front of the TV and understand the aim of the game pretty quickly.

The team that scores the most goals in the opposing net wins the game.

Okay, there are numerous laws that players and teams must follow throughout the 90 minutes, but you don’t need to know the intricacies of each rule to enjoy the beautiful game.

These days, however, even the most ardent soccer fans sometimes slip through the rules.

With the introduction of technology and a desire to see the sport constantly evolving, the suits at FIFA and UEFA seem keen to introduce new laws – or tweak existing ones – each season.

For example, semi-automatic offside will be used at the World Cup this year.

However, introducing new rules in theory is very different from their actual implementation at the highest level of the game.

The FA’s attempt to stop dissent against officials

A prime example of this was before the 2001/02 season when the FA tried to contain disagreements with its referees. They came up with the novel idea of ​​moving a free kick forward 10 meters if the opponent protests the official.

Disagreements in the Premier League spiraled out of control when referee Andy D’Urso was confronted by angry Manchester United players led by Roy Keane after a penalty against Middlesbrough. The FA believed this would solve the problem.

It was used exclusively in English football for four years and it appeared to reduce the number of abuse officials. We’ve dug up a few times where the new rule has been put into practice. It would turn a free kick considered too wide to score directly into a dangerous situation for the defending team.


Sunderland’s tactics to stop David Beckham’s free-kick

However, it didn’t take long for players to spot a loophole. And the defending side soon found a way to use the rule to their advantage.

“Players are smart and quickly realized that the new rule could sometimes be used to their advantage,” said Jeff Winter, who was one of the top referees in the Premier League at the time.

He remembers a game between Manchester United and Sunderland at Old Trafford. David Beckham – one of the best set pieces in football history – set up a free kick from 26 yards. It was the perfect spot for him.

Sunderland had a plan…

“A Sunderland player intentionally broke away from the wall before the free-kick was taken because he knew the referee would take him to the edge of the box [the rule stipulated that the edge of the area was the limit of any advancement] and Beckham would have less room to get the ball up and down the wall. He didn’t score. Other teams had a similar problem. It would have been better if the referee had given the teams the option to accept the promotion or not.”

Elite Sh*thousery from Sunderland.

Interestingly, it was a tactic Sunderland had tried a few seasons earlier and Beckham punished it by smashing the free-kick past the wall and into the back net.

Another problem was that referees could only move the ball forward if they also cautioned the offending player.

“This was tantamount to a double penalty and there were times when it seemed excessive that the umpires didn’t apply either,” added Winter.

What happened to the 10 yard dissident rule?

On social media, many football fans are wondering if the rule is still in effect.

Free kicks moved 10 yards forward for dissent
Free kicks moved 10 yards forward for dissent
Free kicks moved 10 yards forward for dissent
Free kicks moved 10 yards forward for dissent
Free kicks moved 10 yards forward for dissent

FIFA scrapped the plans

After four years of the rule, FIFA dropped the process and told the Premier League they would not be implementing the rule across the board.

“We were just told that it wouldn’t happen next season,” Winter recalls. “It was disappointing not to receive a real explanation or the opportunity to provide feedback on areas for improvement.”

This view was shared by then Premier League chief referee Keith Hackett.

“It’s a disappointing decision because while the law hasn’t been applied much, it has had an impact on player behavior,” Hackett said.

“The referees here have found that it acts as a deterrent.

“The problem, as I understand it, is that the countries that are not familiar with the concept have not been able to understand the process.”

RIP the 10-yard contradiction rule…

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