ONE question to be asked when the Laws of football are changed, is does what happens always meet the expectations of the lawmakers.

Take the changes made some years ago to the taking of a free-kick.

One of the consequences of the change was illustrated in the Watford-Wolves match last weekend.

Most followers of the game are, I think. aware that at free-kicks, the Law requires opponents to be not closer to the ball than 10 yards.

If an opponent is closer than the required distance, when the kick is taken, the law says the kick should be retaken unless the advantage can be applied, BUT if a player takes a free-kick quickly and an opponent who is less than 10 yards from the ball intercepts it, the referee allows play to continue.

When this last part of the Law was introduced some years ago, most referees envisaged that this meant if players were retreating the required distance but hadn’t reached it before the kick was taken, then they could continue after intercepting the ball.

What actually happens of course, is that players make no attempt to move 10 yards away, staying instead closer to the ball, hoping to intercept it.

At the Watford match against Wolves there was another slightly different example of this behaviour.

A free-kick was awarded to Watford, close to the half-way line.

The kicker passed the ball to a team mate, who was standing a few yards to his right.

Unknown to him, however, an opponent had crept up behind them and intercepted the ball in between the kicker and his teammate.

He ran downfield with it and almost scored.

Had he scored I’m sure the referee would have allowed it to stand.

The opponent had not made any attempt to retreat the required distance, in fact the opposite, he had deliberately entered the 10 yards required.

The question is therefore, should the referee have made the kick be retaken or is that the type of action anticipated by the law makers.