7.4 Free pass
a) Place of the free pass
The free pass is taken inside the free pass area (see diagram 3), by a player of the attack zone standing with one foot immediately behind the penalty spot.
b) Conditions to take the free pass
Before the referee can whistle for the free pass to be taken (preparation period)
1 – The taker of the free pass must stand with one foot immediately behind the penalty spot and the other foot anywhere in the lighter shaded area behind the spot, shown in diagram 3 (free pass area).
2 – The other three (3) attacking players, must stand outside the free pass area, and must be at a distance of at least 2.50 m from each other.
3 – The defender players must stand outside the free pass area.
4 – No player is allowed to straddle the post with one foot on one side and one foot on the other. They must choose to stand on one side or the other.
5 – In the immediate vicinity of the free pass area, players are not allowed to place a foot between the legs and the feet of an opponent.
After the referee whistles for the free pass to be taken
6 – The taker of the free pass must throw the ball within no more than four (4) seconds and before the ball has left his hand(s), he must not touch the penalty spot or anywhere in the darker shaded zone shown in diagram 3 (free pass area) with either foot or any part of his body.
7 – Conditions 2, 4 and 5 (above) must be satisfied until the ball is brought into play.
8 – Condition 3 (above) must be satisfied until the taker of the free pass makes a clearly visible movement of the ball, an arm or a leg. It does not matter whether this movement actually leads to a throw or is meant as a feint.
c) When the ball is brought into play
The ball is brought into play, after the referee has blown his whistle for the free pass to be taken, when the taker of the free pass throws the ball and one of the following three things occur:
- a player of the defending team touches the ball;
- another player from the attacker team touches the ball whilst standing with both feet in contact with the floor outside of the free pass area and the ball has clearly travelled through the air for a distance of at least 1 m (measured along the ground);
- the ball has travelled completely outside of the free pass area.
d) How to take a free pass
At the moment the taker of the free pass has, or can take the ball, in his hands the referee shows the 4 seconds signal (see referee signals).
From that moment, there will be a maximum of four (4) seconds preparation period for the players to satisfy the conditions 1 to 5 described above, before he whistles for the free pass to be taken.
He does not have to wait the complete four (4) seconds. If all conditions are satisfied before that time, he shall immediately blow his whistle.
e) Infringements during the taking of a free pass
Since the whistle to signalise the free pass until the ball is brought into play by the taker of the free pass, the referee shall punish any infringements of the rules even when the game is stopped. If so, he should whistle twice quickly in succession, the first time to restart the game and the second time to stop play, and punish the offender.
He should take special attention in stopping any contact fouls whilst players take their positions for a free pass, particularly next to the post and around the free pass area.
Any violation of conditions described in 7.4.b) should be punished by the referee as follow:
- If committed by an attacker, a re-start to the defending team;
- If committed by a defender, a new free pass to the attacker team. Except if the ball is out of the hands of an attacker and is on its way to the korf at the time the whistle is blown to signalise the infringement, then provided the conditions of 5.4 (goals) apply, the goal will count if the ball goes through the korf.
If the defending team makes an infringement for the second time at the same free pass, a penalty should be awarded to the attacker team.
Infringements that may occur during the preparation period
- If any player does not satisfy one or more of the conditions 1 to 5 mentioned above before the end of the four (4) seconds preparation period;
- If players from both teams are inside the free pass area at the end of the four (4) seconds preparation period, then the referee will punish the player who is nearest to the penalty spot.
- If the referee considers players from both teams are at the same incorrect distance at the end of the four (4) seconds preparation period, then the attacking team shall be penalised.
- If a defender is within the 2.50 m distance from the penalty spot and two attackers are within 2.50 m of each other without trying to take advantage of this situation at the end of the four (4) seconds preparation period, then the referee punishes the infringement of the defender.
Infringements that may occur after the referee has whistled for the free pass to be taken
- If any player does not satisfy one or more of the conditions 6 to 8 mentioned above.
The referee must keep a strict hold upon the conditions concerning the set time and distance.
At the same time as raising his arm, the referee may indicate to the players, or tell them, that they need to take their distance.