Abusive Language and Other Football Rules That Are Always Ignored
This week, Mike Riley, the general manager of the Professional Game Match Officials, admitted that Premier League players are regularly allowed to get away with swearing at the referee.
He told The Daily Mail:
There are very few reds for foul and abusive language because it depends on the way it is said.
If a player turns round after a decision saying, “**** off, ref” then it’s different from someone standing in front of you, staring, saying, “**** off."
In light of the fact that foul and abusive language is routinely ignored, here are some other rules that usually go unpunished in the modern game...
Keeping the Wall 10 Yards from a Free Kick
Whether it's a team of plumbers scrapping it out on Hackney Marshes on a Sunday morning or a troupe of millionaires in the World Cup Final, the rules regarding free kicks are always flaunted.
How many times have you seen a free-kick taker roll the ball forward a yard or two when the referee's back is turned? Even more common is the tendency for a wall to creep forward until they are actually around seven or eight yards from the ball. Everyone in the stadium knows it is happening, but little is done about it.
MLS has attempted to curb this issue with the introduction of vanishing spray to mark out free kicks, but even this resolution has its issues.
The 'Six-Second Rule'
According to Law 12 of the FIFA Rules, "a goalkeeper is not permitted to keep control of the ball in his hands for more than six seconds.”
This rule, introduced in the '90s, is intended to speed up the game and discourage time-wasting from the keeper. It is punishable by an indirect free kick. However, it is rarely put into effect and often preceded by a verbal warning from the referee.
The rule came under scrutiny in North America last year when Canada's goalkeeper Erin McLeod was called up for it at the 2012 Olympics while her side was leading the USA 3-2, causing a turn of events that eventually led to a U.S. victory.
Players Encroaching the Area During a Penalty
Warning: Video contains NSFW language
During a penalty kick, only the goalkeeper, the penalty taker and the referee are allowed in the area before the ball is kicked. More often than not, however, players and both teams will start charging into the area as the taker starts his run-up.
This underused rule was actually adhered to in December 2009, when Frank Lampard was ordered to take a spot kick in front of goading West Ham fans three times. The former Hammers star showed nerves of steel to put all three away, but some players still encroached on the third time of asking.
Goalkeepers Coming off Their Line for a Penalty
Skip to 4:38 in the video
The linesman stands just a few feet away from the goalkeeper when a penalty is taken, so he or she should easily be able to see whether the shot stopper stays on the line.
Time and time again, the keeper will come several feet from his line while the penalty taker makes his run-up and nothing is done. In the 2003 Champions League final, Milan's Brazilian goalie Dida took several paces off his line in the shootout, potentially costing Juve the trophy.
Previously, a goalkeeper was not allowed to move at all until a penalty was taken, but they were permitted to travel sideways along their line when a new rule was introduced in the '90s.
Taking Throw-Ins in the Correct Place
Here's a rule that is policed at some levels of the game but not others.
In the top flight or international fixtures, you will often see players taking a throw-in up to five yards from where the ball left the field. Very rarely is a player called back to the original spot, which is usually where they actually began their run-up.
However, in a Sunday league game, if you attempt to gain even a few inches on a throw-in, you will be shouted down to within an inch of your life by the referee and every single opponent.
Foul throws are rife in the professional game, but they are rarely called up for poor technique.
Both feet must be behind the line, both feet must be on the ground, the ball must start behind the head and be released above the head. During the next game you watch, study the throw-ins and see how many of them actually fall within the rules.
Leave your suggestions for forgotten rules below and follow Ryan Bailey on Twitter