Obstruction - The Forgotten Rule
What has happened to the obstruction rule in football?
The obstruction rule has completely disappeared from the modern game; when was the last time you saw a referee award an indirect free-kick because one player obstructed another player from getting to the ball?
I haven't seen any player punished for obstruction for years.
We've all seen instances of obstruction at Home Park, it happens in every game where an opposition player stands in the way of an Argyle player as the ball runs out of play, moving from side-to-side with his arms held out to ensure the ball is protected. The attacker tries to get around the defender but is illegally held off.
There have even been cases of wrestling matches between two players as the attacker attempts to get to the ball.
The countless games on TV also have incidents of obstruction and yet the referees fail to penalise anyone.
It's frustrating for the paying spectators.
Several years ago the obstruction rule was part of football, it was normal, it was routine, no-one raised an eyebrow when a ref awarded a free-kick so why has it disappeared from the modern game?
The FIFA rule book still has obstruction listed as a reason for a foul.
FIFA Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct clearly states that an indirect free-kick should be given if a player impedes or obstructs an opponent.
The Law goes on to state: 'Impeding the progress of an opponent means moving into the path of the opponent to obstruct, block, slow down or force a change of direction by an opponent when the ball is not within playing distance of either player.
'Shielding a ball is permitted.
'A player who places himself between an opponent and the ball for tactical reasons has not committed an offence as long as the ball is kept within playing distance and the player does not hold off the opponent with his arms or body.'
So why are the ref's not sticking to the rules?
Have a look at Argyle's game against Bristol Rovers on Tuesday and see how many times the obstruction rule is abused.