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Wednesday, 9 August, 2000, 10:43 GMT 11:43 UK
Is the ten-yard rule a good or bad idea?
Ten-yard rule
Unruly players be warned. Abuse the referee and you will be forced to retreat. The ten-yard rule has finally arrived, but will it really improve conduct?

Referees are obliged to issue a caution and move the free-kick ten yards closer to goal if players step over the mark.

The ruling is in its infancy and Fifa need more evidence before making it an international law.

The FA have agreed to apply it into the FA Premiership, Nationwide League and Worthington Cup, plus all FA Cup games from the first round proper. The rule is also in operation north of the border in the Scottish CIS Insurance Cup.

But could streetwise defences try and stop the likes of Beckham from taking free-kicks just outside the penalty area by having the kick moved ten yards towards the centre of goal, thus diminishing the angles and cramming the goal full of bodies?

Will the rule benefit the game?

Being a rugby league fan I think the idea is essential. I have noticed over the years that players have learnt to respect the decisions of the refs more in the knowledge that otherwise they will be punished. Manchester United should take note - intimidation will not be allowed anymore.
Keiron Dalton, England

If the attacking side start complaining to the referee, will he be able to move the free-kick back ten yards?
Peter Holt, UK

Let's see how the referees use it first. Some of them are power-crazed enough as it is!
  Simon Breakwell, United Kingdom

About time. I have played rugby union for many years and any player who gives away 10 yards is instantly very unpopular within his team. They don't often do it again. I hate to think what rugby would be like if we could argue with the ref as they do in football, I expect it'd be very bloody!
Brian, England

It's a very good idea in principal, but let's see how the referees use it first. Some of them are power-crazed enough as it is!
Simon Breakwell, United Kingdom

I think this could provoke cheating and unfair play. I say this because players always move the ball closer than the goal anyway, behind the refs back. This should be called the 15-yard rule because that's how much closer the ball is going to be. Also, what is going to happen if the free-kick is on the edge of the 18-yard box, players misbehave and the ball has to be moved forward 10-yards? This will mean the free kick is 8-yards from the goal so can the opposition then make a wall to defend this? If they do surely they are breaking the original 10-yards back rule, or is a indirect free-kick in the box? I am very confused with all these rule changes and I think they should leave the beautiful game alone.
Anthony, England

It's about time footballers are taken down a peg or two. Take it from me as a referee at local level, the sooner the message filters down and we get the rule to cover all levels the better. I gave up Saturday football refereeing because of the sheer level of abuse I got for even the most obvious and blatant of fouls. Anything which gives the ref a right to protect himself from the old verbals must be implemented as quickly as possible.
Ian , UK

I think they should leave the beautiful game alone
  Anthony, England

Is the point of the ten-yard rule to stop people interrupting the flow of the game, penalise 'ungentlemanly conduct' or protect the referee? In the first instance, the ten-yard rule makes reasonable sense, the play goes up ten-yards and any more chat and you're in the book. 'Ungentlemanly conduct' and protection of the referee have always been in the hands of one person - the referee himself. The best of the class referee with empathy for and enjoyment of the game. But even the most officious of referees should be afforded the support of managers, the FA, the international bodies and their own association if, in the face of the gross outbursts we have seen recently, they do what the laws of the game expect them to do - card them. Hockey is a game in which players have long been aware of the perils of being carded (though yellow is a sinbin) as it is an indiscipline that lets the team down. Drumming this into these 'professionals' would do referees, the game and the spectators a world of good.
Neil Appleton, UK

Anything that helps bring discipline to the game will make it better to watch and, ultimately, better to play. What about five minutes in the sin bin?
Dave Kelly, England

The ten-yard rule is a double-edged sword. While it should cut down on the arguments and dissent, it will have a negative side, that of causing more controversy if a referee uses it and a goal is scored (game-winning goals especially). There are no markings on the field to help the ref mark ten-yards and this is another problem. If this rule does as it is expected then I feel that this can be nothing but a good thing for soccer and the referees who make the game possible.
Kyle Harding, USA

A great introduction which has been proven in a number of sports, especially successful in very close and tense games which would be dominated by time-wasting and arguing. No one will want to be labelled as the player who gave away the winning free-kick.
Mick, Egypt

No one will want to be labelled as the player who gave away the winning free-kick.
  Mick, Egypt

Yet another rule that is down to the interpretation of the referee. How many times have we seen officials trying to 'balance' and 'influence' the outcomes of games, particularly when they know they have made major mistakes earlier in the game. For every 'positive' rule change there are negative counter-actions. Just look at the golden goal. The fear of losing is always the greater emotion.
Trev, UK

Tom Brockett, England

My only criticism is that the ball is moved forward and a booking is made. This will make referees think twice about using it. It would make more sense to adopt rugby's 10-metre rule.
John, UK

It is a great idea in theory as it is extremely effective in rugby, however, the intelligence of an average footballer is slightly less than that of a rugby player.
Paul Edwards, United Kingdom

Great idea but where will we find a referee with the courage to push Roy Keane and Co. back 10 yards when there isn't one who will give a penalty at Old Trafford. Perhaps we could add an extra provision, if any managers whinge after a game then 30 yards could be added to the oppositions kick-off in the next game. They must condone this bullying or it wouldn't keep happening. It really is pathetic to watch a gang of spoilt brat millionaires screaming at another human being because they don't agree with his decision. The Italian bald-headed ref with the scary eyes has the right idea, smile to start with, stare and then scream straight back at them...and send them off.
Mick Whittle, England

It is a stupid rule and will be abused
  Tom Brockett, England

I think it's a good idea and if moving the ball 10 yards puts it in the area then it should be a penalty. Once players have suffered that indignity, managers would instruct them to accept the referees decision (right and wrong) and get on with the game. However, I agree that we need professional referees and a 4th referee looking at replays for penalties etc. Yes it will slow the game a little - but at least decisions affecting the outcome of games will be seen to be less arbitrary.
Dave Ratcliffe, UK

The 10 yard rule, if enforced properly, will improve the game. The referees must however have the bottle to enforce it. The game would also benefit from closer co-operation between officials. During a football match the assistant referees seem only to be there to raise their flag for offside or throw ins. They should take a more proactive role like touch judges in rugby. When a touch judge sees an infringement he will come on to the pitch and bring it to the attention of the referee. This practice is what football needs.
Ian Rose, England

I fully agree with the implementation of this rule, as it would promote greater respect for referees. On another point, defences should not have the option of using the rule as a strategy for making free kicks more difficult. If the ball is less than ten yards away from goal and players misbehave then, quite simply, a penalty should be awarded.
Pete Smailes, UK Living in USA

Because there is so much at stake in football, loutish behaviour will inevitably persist. Whilst I believe something needs to be done to control the behaviour of players on the pitch this new rule needs to be used correctly and consistently by referees. One rule for everyone not an exception for the Manchester United's of this world. Perhaps we should also remember that football is a professional game worth millions. How many companies would allow amateurs to run their organisations? None - but football allows amateurs to referee!
Alison Pitman, England

Refs should carry a tape measure
  Rory, UK

Great idea! Having been a football referee and a rugby player I have wanted the introduction of this rule for many years. If it is aplied in the same way as rugby union it should work well.
Gordon, UK

Possibly a better idea would be to continue to move the wall back further if players were guilty of the offence. This seems to be a better idea than a rule that may prove impossible to put into sensible practice.
Seany, UK

And refs should carry a tape measure, or gadget (like estate agents use) that measures 10 yards accurately.
Rory, UK

Anybody that cannot see the benefit of this rule is clearly misguided and only wishes to preserve the traditional game which unfortunately, much loved as it was, has now become outdated due to the over-inflated egos and personalities of certain footballers. If a player argues at free kick being awarded against him, then as the rules now state, he should be booked and the kick moved forward 10 yards. If he continues to argue, off he goes. It may take time for everyone to realise the benefits of this rule, but it does work in Rugby. The players know they cannot argue with the Referee, and that is the way it should be in football too. Manchester United beware, your Referee intimidation has come to end.
Steve Bold, UK

I think it's a good idea providing that the refrees would equally apply this rule to every player!
  Mahmut, Turkey

After playing hockey with this rule for a few years, and witnessing the respect that players start to have for referees, yes it is a good idea. The referees decision should be final and this rule stops those self important players from constantly complaining. Why not take another lead from hockey and introduce a sin bin - rather than just the yellow and red cards?
Jon, U.K.

A good initiative. To stop defences purposely try and stop the likes of Beckham from taking free-kicks just outside the penalty area by having the kick moved ten yards towards the centre of goal, thus diminishing the angles and cramming the goal full of bodies? The defence must move back a further 10 yards but the free-kicker can elect to take it from the original position. Thus the defence are now 20 yards from the kick.
Ken, England

What's the problem? The rule has been there for as long as I can remember in both soccer and rugby. The only difference is that in rugby the rule is applied. What about giving a further ten yards for backchatting the ref too? That would be controversial wouldn't it?
Les Tuckwell, South Wales

It's a fantastic rule. With all the moaning and intimidation the Man Utd players give to the referee, they'll play matches inside their own penalty box. We must protect referees from this kind of abuse.
Richie Woods, Liverpool

The rule has worked well in Rugby. Professionals will soon learn a lesson once it costs them a goal.
  Dale Taylor, England
The only way this could work to acheive the desired result is not to force the move 10 yards closer to the goal, but to allow the team taking the free kick to move the ball up to ten yards in any direction they prefer. Now that would help!
Hany Mustapha, UK

The soon-to-be-introduced ten-yard-rule is totally unnecessary and has been created to take the place of what should just be a decision at the referee's discretion. Hopefully the referees will show restraint with it and will only apply it in the most extreme circumstances.
Gavin Shenanigan, UK

The 10 yard rule works extremely successfully in Rugby Union and there is no reason why it should't be just as successful in football. As for disrupting the flow of the game - if anything it might encourage players to take advantage of the confusion and take more quick free kicks - speeding up the game in the long term.
Jay Neill, UK

This rule should reaffirm the ref's position and make players aware that they must set an example to todays youngsters
Roger Booth, England

The only thing this rule will do is play into to the hands of the likes of Shearer and Keane who will intimidate and con referees into giving them decisions which will result in controversy after controversy. The very people this is supposed to stop will end up benefiting from it.
Paul Mac, UK

Glad to see that the referees have something to protect themselves from the 'righteous' players who never consider themselves to be wrong.
Hal Richards, U.K.

It is something that should have been in soccer 30 years ago. It will soon stop loutish behaviour. Managers are going to be furious if someone causes a goal because the player caused trouble and the defence had to go back further. Soon we should see a faster less frustrating game, played by athletes and not spoilt, rude, prima donnas.It will certainly have a significantly beneficial effect on youngsters who will see their heroes getting on with the game rather than acting as hooligans.
Bob Gardiner,

Hopefully this rule will create a level of respect/fear of the referee. Too many players in football try to influence the referee with intimidating language and gestures. You don't see the same in rugby where any bad behaviour can cost you from 3-7 points.
Malcolm, UK

I think it is a good idea, but we are in danger of introducing too many fiddly little rules which just stop the flow of the game. Also, since Man Utd. players are the worst culprits in this country, they will find a way to antagonise refs into letting them get away with it so I don't see the point really!! Or did Alex Ferguson come up with this idea in the first place???
Sean Smart, England

No.Another area where referees can make crucial mistakes and alter outcomes.
Jim C., Australia

Ever heard the expression, 'Too many rules spoil the broth'?
Will Manson, UK

About time. Hopefully this will stop the thugs ruining the game.
Rob Fox, UK

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