Rules

Many of us wants to play soccer(football) but they don't know about the dos and don'ts/rules and regulations of this sport. Knowing the rules and then play is far more important then to just play without knowing any of the rules of a sport. A Soccer match is full of excitement and action plus lot of physical and mental hard work/performance. To know about the rules and regulations is most important as it leads you to play sensibly and carefully without doing any mischievous act and avoiding yourself and others from injuries. Here we are going to define the basic game principles, rules and regulations which are applicable in soccer game as well as to be kept in mind by every soccer player to follow during a match. 

We discuss how a game starts and how it ends and what are its norms and basic methods which should be kept in mind to play soccer. We are now going to start it from the beginning. Hope to guide you completely and correctly to play this game.

Before Beginning

Before the game is started the Referees do a number of things:
  • They check the field, the lines, and the nets.
  • They also collect games sheets if required, and get a game ball from the home team.
  • The Referee may ask to check the player’s equipment (especially in tournaments and cup games).
a. When checking equipment they will look at the players soccer shoes (check the studs), look for shin pads, and jewelry.

b. They will also ensure shirts are tucked in and sleeves are down.
  • After completing these tasks they will call for captains and with the captain’s present toss a coin to decide which team takes the kick-off to start the match.
Looser of the toss gets first ball (Kick-off.)

Winner of the toss gets to pick side of the field to defend first.

Kick-off

  • From the Center of the field.
  • Start of game, Start of second half.
  • After a Goal is scored.
  • Start each half of extra time in games that are tied and require a winner (under competion rules.)

Start of Game Coin Toss

  • Looser of toss get first ball,
  • Winner gets to pick side

Player taking kick-off can only touch ball once until touched by another player (see Two-Touch Rule.)


You MUST wait for the Referee to give a signal (usually blows their whistle) before the players proceed with the kick.

The ball is in play when it is kicked and moves forward.

A goal may be scored directly from the kick-off (local rules and indoor rules may not allow this.)

A goal is scored when the whole of the ball passes over the goal line, between the goalposts and under the crossbar, provided that no infringement of the Laws of the Game has been committed previously by the team scoring the goal.

After a team scores a goal, the kick-off is taken by the other team.

Referee signals a goal by (usually blow their whistle) pointing to the center of the field.

Assistant (lines person) runs towards center line.


Goal Kick

A Goal Kick is awarded when the whole ball goes over the end line, kicked, or touched by an attacking team player.

Ball is placed anywhere in the goal area (6 yard box) including on the lines (the goal area in indoor and mini.)

Defending team player must kick the ball out of the penalty area (18 yard box) before anyone else touches it.

Ball is in play only when it is outside the penalty area (big box) and in the field of play.

Referee signals a goal kick by pointing to the goal area with his hand out.

Assistant points their flag at the goal area.

Player taking goal kick can only touch ball once until touched by another player.


A Goal kick can be taken by any player, not just the goalkeeper.

If either team touches the ball before it leaves the penalty area the kick must be retaken, and if the ball is not kicked well enough to leave the area, the kick must be retaken.

You DO NOT have to wait for the Referee to tell you to take the kick.

If the Referee wants you to wait, they may tell you, but they will usually hold up their hand like a STOP sign until they are ready and then give a signal (may blow their whistle.)

Corner Kick
A Corner kick is awarded when the whole ball goes over the end line, kicked, or touched by a defending team player.

Kick is from the side where the ball went out.

Ball can be placed anywhere in the corner arc including on the lines.

Ball is in play when it is touched.

A goal can be scored from a corner kick.

Referee signals a corner kick by pointing to the corner where the kick must be taken from.

Assistant points their flag at the corner flag closest to them.

Player taking corner kick can only touch ball once until touched by another player(see Two- Touch Rule.)


You DO NOT have to wait for the Referee to tell you to take the kick.

If the Referee wants you to wait, they may tell you but, they will hold up their hand like a STOP sign until ready and then gives a signal (may blow their whistle.)

Throw-In / Kick In (indoor and some leagues and younger ages)
A throw-in is awarded when the whole ball goes over the side line, on the ground or in the air.

Throw-in goes to the team whose player did not touch the ball.

Referee signals the throw-in by pointing in the direction of the throw.

Assistant signals a throw-in by raising their flag and then pointing it in the direction of the throw.

Ball goes to team attacking in direction Referee is pointing (assistants flag is pointing)


Throw-In procedure
  • Part of both feet on the ground.
  • Feet on or behind the line.
  • Ball starts behind the head.
  • Uses both hands
  • Thrower is facing the field of play in direction of throw.
On a throw-in dragging the toes of one foot (or both feet) is considered legal.

There is no rule about throwing the ball down into the ground.
  • I realize most inexperienced officials will call this a foul throw, but it isn’t, so don’t call this.
If a player taking a throw-in makes a foul throw. The restart is a throw-in to the opposing team.

If an opponent unfairly distracts or impedes the thrower they are cautioned for unsporting
behavior and shown a yellow card.

The restart would then have to be an indirect free kick to the other team, so don’t do this.

Player taking throw-in can only touch ball once until touched by another player

The restart would then have to be an indirect free kick to the other team, so don’t do this.

For a kick in the ball must be on the side line and stationary before the kick is taken.
  • In most leagues a kick in is an indirect kick.
You DO NOT have to wait for the Referee to tell you to take the throw or kick.

If the Referee wants you to wait, they may tell you, but they will usually hold up their hand like a STOP sign until they are ready and then give a signal (may blow their whistle.)

Offside

It is NOT an offence in itself to be in an offside position,

A player is in an offside position when:

  • there is only one opponent player between them and the goal when the ball was kicked / played,
  • they are ahead of the ball and there is only one opponent player between them and the goal,
  • they are ahead of the ball and there are no opponent players between them and the goal.
Player in an offside position is only penalized if, at the moment the ball touches or is played by one of his team, he is, in the opinion of the Referee, involved in active play by:

  • interfering with play
  • interfering with an opponent
  • gaining an advantage by being in that position.
Referee signals offside by giving a signal (usually blows their whistle) and awarding an indirect free kick to the defending team at the offside player’s position.

Lines person signals offside by putting their flag up and then pointing to the area of the field where the offside occurred.

A player CANNOT be offside if they receive the ball directly from:

Throw-in
Goal Kick
Corner kick.

A player CANNOT be offside in their own half of the field.

Free Kicks

Free kicks are either Direct or Indirect.

There are many soccer rules around what causes a direct or indirect kick.

  • In general, a direct kick comes from a contact foul or hand ball.
  • Everything else is indirect.
Some youth leagues will not allow any direct kicks, or not until a certain age.

Ball must be stationary.

Player taking free kick can only touch ball once until touched by another player (see Two- Touch Rule.)

You DO NOT have to wait for the Referee to tell you to take the kick.

All opponents MUST be 10 yards away (10 feet indoor, mini, and some leagues.)

If the player wants to take a quick kick they may do so after informing the Referee, or they can wait for the kick to be set up.

If the Referee wants you to wait, they may tell you but, they will hold up their hand like a STOP sign until ready and then gives a signal (may blow their whistle.)

Direct Free Kick

A goal can be scored directly from a direct free kick but only on the opponent’s goal

Indirect Free Kick

A goal CANNOT be scored directly from an indirect free kick
A goal can only be scored from an indirect free kick if the ball is touched by ANY other player before it enters the goal.
Referee signals an Indirect Free Kick by holding their arm straight up above their head (like the letter I).

Drop Ball

A dropped ball is a way of restarting the match after a temporary stoppage while the ball is in play, due to an injury or other event where a foul has not occurred.

The Referee drops the ball at the place where it was located when play was stopped.

Play restarts when the ball touches the ground.

A player from each team attempts to kick the ball after it touches the ground.

The ball is dropped again:

- if it is touched by a player before it makes contact with the ground
- if the ball leaves the field of play after it makes contact with the ground, without a player touching it

In many cases the Referee will apply “Gentleman’s Rule” and let the team who had possession get possession back. They will have a player from the other team kick the ball to a specific player on the team that had possession.

Penalty Kick

A penalty kick is awarded if a direct free kick-offence occurs against the attacking team inside the penalty area.

A Goal may be scored directly from a penalty kick.

Ball must be placed on the penalty mark.

Ball is in play when it is touched and moves forward.

The ball must be kicked forward.

The player taking the penalty kick must be identified to all players by the Referee or his assistant.

The defending goalkeeper must remain on their goal line, facing the kicker, between the goalposts until the ball has been kicked.

Player taking penalty kick can only touch the ball once until it is touched by another player (see Two-Touch Rule.) even if it rebounds off the post or crossbar

Player taking the kick MUST wait for the Referee to give a signal (usually blows their whistle) before they proceed with the kick.

The defending goalkeeper MUST remains on his goal line, facing the kicker, between the goalposts until the ball has been kicked, they may move along the line but not forward.

All other players must remain outside the goal area and penalty arc, behind the ball, and in the field of play until the ball is kicked.

Two-touch Rule

A player cannot touch the ball twice in a row when putting the ball in play. You will see this called many times in youth soccer. It applies everywhere. You will see it frequently on kickoffs, corner kicks, or direct and indirect kicks. If a player barely hits the ball and decides to take another swipe at it, that is a two-touch violation.

This also applies to a throw-in. A player cannot throw the ball in and then kick it.

The only exception to this rule is on a drop ball restart.

A two-touch violation results in an indirect free kick being awarded to opposing team.

Important Things to Remember

1. Remember to be on time. “Early is better.”

2. Shirts MUST be tucked in - not just the front, or the side, or the back, - all of it.

3. Sleeves must be rolled down.

4. Shoe laces must / should be tied - mostly for safety reasons. Not necessarily for the player but for the other players like little Suzie who gets a flying shoe in the head.

5. Players MUST have and wear shin pads. Shin pads MUST be worn inside the socks, and must be completely covered by socks. Socks are available for less than $10 so get another pair, and keep them on hand.

6. Goalie MUST wear a different coloured shirt from the other players, other team, other team’s goalie, and the Referees.

7. As one of the Referees I know says. NO JEWELRY!!, NO JEWELRY!!, NO JEWELRY!! – NOT on the arms, legs, head, neck, ears, eyes, nose, mouth, or under the shirt to be safe. Take it off. The hole is not going to close in an hour.
  • (Medical alert bracelets / necklaces are permitted but should be taped.)
8. Do NOT leave or enter the field of play without the Referee’s permission – it is a Cautionable (Yellow Card) offence.
  • Does not apply to indoor games where substitution on the fly is allowed.
9. Coach / team captain must tell the Referee if they change goalies.
  • If a player changes position with the goal keeper, without the Referee’s permission, both players are cautioned and shown yellow cards at the next stoppage of play.
  • The restart would be the restart that would have occurred when play was originally stopped.
10. Substitutions: - Tell the Referee.
  • Players must come on to field at half.
  • Before coming on,WAIT for player to leave the field first.
  • If a substitute enters the field of play without the Referee’s permission the player is cautioned and shown yellow card.
  • Indirect free kick is awarded to other team where ball was when play is stopped.
11. Normally the home team supplies the ball, and the ball must be inflated and in good condition.

12. Hand ball is hand to ball (deliberately handing or playing the ball with hand or arm) NOT ball to hand (ball kicked or hit against hand or arm.)

13. Remember it is a Cautionable offence to interfere (moving, jumping, charging) with a goal keeper who is trying to release (kick or throw) the ball.
  • This also applies to a player trying to take a throw-in.
14. If players remove their jersey (shirts) when celebrating a goal they will be cautioned for unsporting behaviour

15. LINES – The lines of the field (touch line, goal line, and penalty area lines) all extend vertically to infinity.
  • Therefore, a ball that crosses the line in the air has crossed the line.
  • If a goal keeper is positioned inside the penalty box lines and catches or grab a ball outside the line they have committed a handling the ball foul.
16. Goal Keepers – when you have the ball in your hand you only have six ( 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 ) seconds to hold it, then you must either kick or throw it back into play.

17. Goal Keeper – if you have the ball in your hands, and you put it down on the ground – remember two things:

  • YOU CANNOT PICK IT UP AGAIN.
  • The ball is live and an attacking player can run in and kick it.
  • This is very important for indoor games.

18. The Technical Area is a box around the player’s bench. It is not normally marked except in professional games, but is generally accepted to be 1 metre on both sides of the bench and no closer than 1 metre to the side line.

  • What this really means is coaches and players must stay back from the side lines and coaches cannot roam along the side of the field.
  • Do NOT cross the center line and don’t walk down to the end of the field.
  • Also No one is allowed behind the goals.
  • These rules are generally quite lax for younger age players.

19.  In some Indoor leagues all kicks are indirect (exception may be a corner kick).
  • The Referee should first be signaling the play (throw or kick.)
  • Then the Referee should signal that the kick is indirect by raising their arm straight up (like the letter I.)

20. A NOTE TO REFEREES when signaling a kick or throw please signal correctly – don’t be lazy – raise your arms and hold the signal so everyone can see it.
  • REMEMBER on an indirect free kick to keep you arm raised until another player touches the ball or it leaves the field of play.
Types of Fouls and Offences

Caution able Offences.

A player is cautioned and shown the yellow card if they commit any of the following seven offences:

1. is guilty of unsporting behavior
2. shows dissent by word or action
3. persistently infringes the Laws of the Game
4. delays the restart of play
5. fails to respect the required distance when play is restarted with a corner kick or free kick
6. enters or re-enters the field of play without the Referee’s permission
7. deliberately leaves the field of play without the Referee’s permission

Sending-Off Offences

A player is sent off and shown the red card if they commit any of the following seven offences:

1. is guilty of serious foul play
2. is guilty of violent conduct
3. spits at an opponent or any other person
4. denies the opposing team a goal or an obvious goal-scoring opportunity by deliberately handling the ball (this does not apply to a goalkeeper within his     own penalty area)
5. denies an obvious goal-scoring opportunity to an opponent moving towards the player’s goal by an offence punishable by a free kick or a penalty kick
6. uses offensive or insulting or abusive language and/or gestures
7. receives a second caution in the same match

Direct and Indirect Kicks