advice to referees - Massachusetts State Referee Committee

advice to referees - Massachusetts State Referee Committee
USSOCCER.COM
ADVICE TO
REFEREES
Advice to Referees
2012
United States Soccer Federation, Inc.
1801 S. Prairie Avenue
Chicago, IL 60616
Telephone: 312/808-1300
Fax: 312/808-1301
http: ussoccer.com
© 2012 United States Soccer Federation, Inc.
All rights reserved.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Advice to Referees
Law 1 - The Field of Play
Law 2 - The Ball
Law 3 - The Number of Players
Law 4 - The Players’ Equipment
Law 5 - The Referee
Law 6 - The Assistant Referee and Fourth Official
Law 7 - The Duration of the Match
Law 8 - The Start and Restart of Play
Law 9 - The Ball In and Out of Play
Law 10 - The Method of Scoring
Law 11 - Offside
Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct
Part A. Fouls
Part B. Misconduct
Part C. Serious Foul Play and Violent Conduct
Part D. Denying an Obvious Goalscoring Opportunity
Law 13 - Free Kicks
Law 14 - The Penalty Kick
Law 15 - The Throw-In
Law 16 - The Goal Kick
Law 17 - The Corner Kick
Law 18 - Common Sense
Section 19 - Miscellaneous Matters
Index
While every effort will be made to keep this Advice up to date through new editions, changes in the
Law or in interpretations by the IFAB and FIFA may result in an item becoming inaccurate or outdated.
When this occurs, USSF will specify the relevant section of the Advice and will post the necessary
changes on the referee web page, so that referees can mark their copy appropriately until a new edition
can be published.
Advice to Referees presents official USSF interpretations of the Laws of the Game. Affiliated leagues,
associations, competitions, and officials must implement them to the fullest extent possible.
Participants in affiliated matches must not impose personal, unsupported, or unofficial interpretations of
any provisions of the Laws of the Game. If a point is not made in this Advice, look first to the relevant
Law or Laws of the Game for the answer.
“Substituted players” are players who have been substituted, who are not permitted to return to the field
in strict accordance with Law 3, and who nevertheless remain with their team in the bench or technical
area. Whenever in this Advice the term “substitute” is used, it will include substituted players.
In most cases in the Laws of the Game, the words "touch," "play," and "make contact with" are
synonymous. This is not true in the case of deliberate handling, where the touch, play, or contact with
the ball by the offending player must be planned and deliberate.
Throughout the Advice an asterisk (*) is used for dropped balls:
• Law 8 - The Start and Restart of Play, Dropped Ball, Procedure
and for free kicks:
• (See Law 13 – Position of Free Kick)
Law 1 - The Field of Play
1.1 DIMENSIONS
The length of the field must always exceed the width. The dimensions of the field of play may vary to
enable players of different levels of skill and physical attributes to play the game. The size of the field
of play and the width between the goal posts and height of the crossbar from the ground may be
modified for matches between players of under 16 years of age, for women, for players over 35, and for
players with disabilities, provided USSF approves the modifications.
1.2 SAFETY
Referees should arrive in plenty of time to inspect the field, goals, flags and markings for accuracy and
safety. No part of the field surface or the goals and flagposts may be dangerous to the players. If the
field conditions are dangerous or unsuitable for play, the referee must refuse to officiate the game and,
unless there is a possibility that the problem can be corrected, should leave immediately after
announcing his decision to both sides. Unresolved problems with the field that do not involve safety
should be reported to the competition authority, even if the game is played.
1.3 GOALS
The goals must be securely anchored to the ground. For safety reasons, if the goals are not securely
anchored to the ground, the match shall not be played. In the event that the posts of portable goals are
not the same dimension as the goal line, the plane of the back edge of the post must be aligned with the
plane of the outer edge of the goal line.
1.4 FLAGPOSTS
The compulsory corner flagposts and the optional halfway flagposts should be no less than 5 feet high;
anything shorter is dangerous to the players. If used, the optional halfway flagposts must be at least
1m/1 yard outside the touch line.
1.5 FIELD MARKINGS
The markings of the field should not be dangerous, must not protrude above the surface or be placed in
ruts or hollows, and should be easily visible. The goal line should be the same width as the depth of the
goal posts and the crossbar.
The lines belong to the areas of which they are the boundaries. The area beyond the goal line and
crossbar and inside the goal net (if one is provided) is not part of the field of play. The area enclosed by
the penalty arc is not part of the penalty area. The ball touching any part of a boundary line, either on
the ground or breaking the vertical plane of that line, is within the area bounded by the line
The optional line drawn outside the field of play, 10 yards from the corner arc and at right angles to the
goal line, may not touch the goal line. The line allows the officials to judge that defenders keep the
proper distance at the taking of the corner kick.
If a photographer's line is provided, it must be marked behind the goal lines in accordance with the
rules of the competition.
If the lines are not marked properly, the referee should try to have proper markings put down by the
home team before starting the game, time permitting.
1.6 NO PLAYER MODIFICATIONS TO THE FIELD
Goalkeepers or other players may not make unauthorized marks on the field of play. The player who
makes such marks or alterations on the field to gain an unfair advantage may be cautioned for
unsporting behavior. Players may return bent or leaning corner flags to the upright position, but they
may not bend or lean them away from the upright position to take a corner kick, nor may the corner flag
be removed for any reason. (However, a corner flag which cannot be repositioned upright in a stable
manner and which would interfere with the normal taking of a corner kick, may be temporarily held
upright until the corner kick is completed.)
1.7 SUPERSTRUCTURE ON GOALS
It is not uncommon on public fields for the soccer goals to include structures attached to and above the
crossbar (particularly where the goal is being used for other sports). If the ball strikes any part of such
a structure, apart from or in addition to striking a goal post or crossbar, the ball is considered to have
left the field even if, as a result of the contact, the ball remains on the field. The restart (goal kick or
corner kick) is based on Laws 16 or 17.
1.8 DEALING WITH APPURTENANCES TO THE FIELD AND OUTSIDE AGENTS
(a) Required appurtenances
These are the goals, corner flags, and flagposts required by Law 1. Contact between these
appurtenances and the ball or players is a normal part of play and requires no special consideration in
determining the restart. In accordance with the Law, the restart is based on which team last played the
ball. The referee and any assistant referee on the field are also considered to be part of the field of play.
(b) Non-regulation appurtenances (see 1.7)
These include superfluous items attached to the goal frame (such as the uprights on combination
soccer/football goals) and not generally subject to movement. If the ball contacts these items, it is
deemed to be automatically out of play and the restart is in accordance with the Law, based on which
team last played the ball.
(c) Pre-existing conditions
These are things on or above the field which are not described in Law 1 but are deemed safe and not
generally subject to movement. These include trees overhanging the field, wires running above the
field, and covers on sprinkling or draining systems. They do not affect one team more adversely than
the other and are considered to be a part of the field. If the ball leaves the field after contact with any
item considered under the local ground rules of the field to be a pre-existing condition, the restart is in
accordance with the Law, based on which team last played the ball. (Check with the competition for
any local ground rules.)
Note: The difference between non-regulation appurtenances and pre-existing conditions is that, if the
ball makes contact with something like uprights or crossbar superstructure, it is ruled out of play even
if the contact results in the ball remaining on the field. Where there is a pre-existing condition (such as
an overhanging tree limb), the ball remains in play even if there is contact, as long as the ball itself
remains on the field. Referees must be fully aware of and enforce any rules of the competition authority
or field owner regarding non-regulation appurtenances.
(d) Outside agent
Tradition and common usage are very strong in soccer. Nowhere is this more true than in the definition
of "outside agent." An "outside agent" (under any portion of the Laws of the Game) is anything that
enters the field without the permission of the referee and plays or misdirects the ball or otherwise
interferes with the game. This means that outside agents can be dogs or coaches or spectators or players
who have been sent off. (Substitutes, whether called upon to play or not, are not considered outside
agents.) Interference by any outside agent will result in the referee declaring a stoppage of play,
restarting with a dropped ball where the ball was when play was stopped*. See Advice 3.17-3.20, 10.7
and 14.7 for further guidance on dealing with outside interference. If the interference is by a substitute
who has entered the field of play without the permission of the referee, the restart is an indirect free
kick where the ball was when play was stopped*. The kick is taken after the substitute is cautioned,
removed from the field of play, and shown the yellow card.
Referees should note all deviations from Law 1 during the pregame inspection of the field, include them
specifically in their pregame conference and, where advisable, inform the teams as to how they will be
handled in accordance with this guidance.
Law 2 - The Ball
Law 2 does not require balls to be of a particular color or material. The referee may replace the original
ball with one of a different color if this makes the ball more visible. (If the home team is unable to
provide game balls that are acceptable to the referee, the visiting team may be asked to supply the game
balls.) The home team should supply the game ball, with several other suitable balls in reserve. At the
higher levels of the game, leagues and competitions are urged to provide up to six balls around the field
of play (together with persons whose responsibility it is to hand another ball to the players). When
more than one game ball is provided for a match, the referee must inspect all balls to be used to ensure
they meet the requirements of Law 2. If ball persons are available, the referee or fourth official should
meet with them before the commencement of the match to brief them on their duties. Ball persons must
serve both teams equally. Referees, assistant referees, and fourth officials must also ensure that extra
balls do not enter the field.
If the ball bursts or becomes defective during the course of the match the match is stopped. The match
is restarted by dropping the replacement ball at the place where the original ball became defective,
unless play was stopped inside the goal area, in which case the referee drops the replacement ball on the
goal area line parallel to the goal line at the point nearest to where the original ball was located when
play was stopped.
If the ball bursts or becomes defective during a penalty kick or during kicks from the penalty mark as it
moves forward and before it touches any player or the crossbar or goalposts the penalty kick is retaken.
Law 3 - Number of Players
Part A. The Correct Number of Players
3.1 ROSTERS AND DESIGNATIONS OF SUBSTITUTES
Know the number of substitutes specified by the competition. The Law allows a team to list up to 18
players on its game roster. All players' and nominated substitutes' names must be provided to the
referee before the start of the match. The practice of obtaining rosters at halftime, after the game, or not
at all, is not permissible. If the rules of competition do not specify the number of substitutions and if
the teams cannot agree on a mutually acceptable number, apply the terms of Law 3 to the letter. If the
rules of competition do not require rosters or team lists, the referee will consider anyone in the vicinity
of the field wearing an identifiable uniform and subject to being called on to play to be a player or
substitute and subject to the referee's authority.
NOTE: "Substituted players" are players who have been substituted, who are not permitted to return to
the field in strict accordance with Law 3, and who nevertheless remain with their team in the bench or
technical area. Whenever in this Advice the term "substitute" is used, it will include substituted
players.
3.2 LATE-ENTERING PLAYER
If a player whose name was given to the referee prior to the match is not able to enter the field in time
for play to begin, due to late arrival or unreadiness of equipment or uniform, the player may
subsequently enter the field. Before doing so, the player's equipment must be checked by the referee.
The referee may delegate this responsibility to the fourth official (if one has not been appointed, the
assistant referees may be designated). If the referee conducts this inspection, it can only occur at a
stoppage of play and the player may enter the field at any point along the boundary lines. If the
responsibility has been delegated, the player can enter the field either during a stoppage (at any point
along the boundary lines) or during play (at any point along the touch line) after being checked by the
designated official. In either case, the referee must beckon the player to enter the field (this
responsibility cannot be delegated).
Note: The need for the referee's permission, i. e., the beckoning onto the field, applies to ALL cases of
a player entering or re-entering the field, not just to a late-arriving player.
3.3 THE ALLOWED NUMBER OF PLAYERS
Many rules of competition specify the maximum number of players a team is allowed to have on the
field at any given time. The Laws of the Game set this number at eleven for most matches, but the
competition may set a smaller number for younger players. However, at any given time, the actual
number of players allowed on the field may be smaller than the maximum if one or more players have
been sent off for misconduct, has requested and received permission from the referee to be temporarily
off the field (e.g., to have an injury tended to), or has been ordered from the field to repair equipment or
to correct a problem with bleeding or blood on the uniform. Except for players sent off (with the result
that their team is required to play with a lower maximum number), all other players temporarily off the
field with the referee's permission or by the referee's order may return to the field only with the express
permission of the referee.
Note: For dealing with more than the allowed number of players, see Advice 3.17-3.20.
3.4 SUBSTITUTION PROCEDURE
After the player being replaced has left the field, the referee must signal permission for the substitute to
enter. A substitution is not complete and the substitute may not take part in the game until he or she
has entered the field of play. Referees who deviate from the formal process by which a substitute
becomes a player—whether in the interest of saving time or because the steps are thought to be too
complex and cumbersome—do so at their own peril and will eventually discover that the Laws of the
Game specify the procedure for very good reasons. Deviations may lead to situations that the referee
cannot settle within the Law. For example, a substitute might commit a violent act after being allowed
to enter the field before the player being replaced has left. Then the referee must decide whether the act
was misconduct and, if the guilty party is dismissed, whether the team plays short. Regardless of other
deviations from the correct substitution procedure which the referee may allow, a substitute becomes a
player for purposes of determining the consequences of misconduct when the substitute enters the field
after being beckoned by the referee. When the substitute has become a player as a consequence of
meeting this requirement, the player being replaced ceases to be a player.
Upon receiving permission from the referee, a player leaving the field is normally expected to exit from
the closest point on the perimeter of the field. Referees should not permit exiting players to waste time
by unnecessarily selecting a more distant exit point. Substitutes entering the field with the permission
of the referee must do so at the halfway line.
Note: The Laws of the Game do not require that a player agree to be substituted even when the
substitution has been requested by a team official or team captain. If the player refuses to leave the
field, the substitution request must be denied.
The referee must whistle to restart play after a substitution.
3.5 PREVENTING DELAY DURING SUBSTITUTION
Referees should prevent unnecessary delays due to the substitution process. One source of delay is a
request for a substitution that occurs just as a player starts to put the ball back into play. This often
(incorrectly) results in the restart being called back and retaken. Another common source of delay is a
substitute player who is not prepared to take the field when the request to substitute is made. In each
case, the referee should order play to be restarted despite the request and inform the coach that the
substitution can be made at the next opportunity.
The referee shall not prevent a team from restarting play if the substitute had not reported to the
appropriate official before play stopped.
During the pregame discussion, the role of each official in managing the substitution process should be
discussed in detail. Every effort should made to ensure awareness of local substitution rules, to follow
procedures which facilitate substitutions with a minimum of delay, to avoid overlooking valid
substitution requests, and to prevent the substitution process from being abused by teams seeking to
gain an unfair advantage.
3.6 ALLOWING SUBSTITUTIONS AND ADDING TIME
Except for situations described in 3.5, referees may not ignore or deny permission for a legal
substitution that is properly requested. Although Law 3 requires that the referee be "informed before
any proposed substitution is made," this does not mean that the referee can deny permission for any
reason other than to ensure that the substitution conforms to the Law. Even if it seems that the purpose
is to waste time, the referee cannot deny the request, but should exercise the power granted in Law 7 to
add time lost through "any other cause." (Rules of those competitions that permit multiple substitutions
and re-entries can sometimes lead to confusion. Study the Advice under 8.3 regarding the start of the
second half.)
If, before the start of a match played under the rules of a competition, a player is replaced by a named
substitute without the referee having been notified, this substitute, now a player, is permitted to play,
but should be cautioned for entering the field of play without the permission of the referee. This is
considered to be an improper manipulation of the roster, rather than a substitution, and does not count
against the number of substitutions the team is permitted to use.
3.7 TOO MANY SUBSTITUTIONS ALLOWED
If the referee allows more than the specified or agreed-upon number of substitutions and discovers this
only after play has been restarted, this is a violation of Law 3. It is also a serious error by the referee.
The referee must remove the illegal substitute at the earliest opportunity and replace him or her with the
former player, restarting as appropriate to the reason the ball was out of play. The referee must file a
complete report.
3.8 LEAVING THE FIELD WITHOUT PERMISSION
The referee may caution a player who leaves the field without waiting for the permission of the referee
when the substitution is requested.
3.9 LEAVING THE FIELD IN THE COURSE OF PLAY
Players are normally expected to remain on the field while the ball is in play, leaving only to retrieve a
ball or when ordered off by the referee. If a player accidentally passes over one of the boundary lines
of the field of play or if a player in possession of or contesting for the ball passes over the touch line or
the goal line without the ball to beat an opponent, he or she is not considered to have left the field of
play without the permission of the referee. This player does not need the referee's permission to return
to the field.
An opponent may exploit a situation in which the goalkeeper has temporarily left the field in the course
of play by quickly and correctly taking a throw-in or a corner kick. Even though the goalkeeper may
still be returning to the field, a goal scored under these circumstances is valid. No offense has been
committed.
3.10 ILLEGALLY ENTERING THE GAME
If a person who is not on the roster (or, if no roster is required, not clearly a member of the team) enters
the game as a substitute, that person will be considered "illegal" and must be removed from the game.
Such a person cannot be cautioned, as he or she is neither a player nor a substitute. (However, if the
person is a player who has been substituted out of the game, then he or she may be cautioned, as he or
she is still under the authority of the referee.) If the referee stopped the game to deal with this person,
the restart would be a dropped ball at the place where the ball was when play was stopped*. The
referee will remove the illegal person at the earliest opportunity and, unless the team wishes to play
short, allow the former player to return, restarting as appropriate to the reason the ball was out of play.
There is no option for a second substitution until the next stoppage of play. The referee must file a
complete report.
However, if the person who entered the field is a substituted player, then he or she is still under the
authority of the referee and may be cautioned. The substituted player must also be removed from the
game. If the referee stopped play to deal with the matter, the restart would be an indirect free kick from
the place where the ball was when play was stopped *. The referee must file a complete report.
3.11 DEPARTING PLAYER MUST NOT INTERFERE WITH PLAY
If a player has received permission to leave the field, he or she must do so. If the player interrupts the
exit to play the ball as play continues, the player should be cautioned for unsporting behavior. The
game must be restarted with an indirect free kick taken by a player of the opposing team, from the place
where the infringement occurred*.
3.12 NUMBER OF PLAYERS DURING KICKS FROM THE PENALTY MARK
Only the players who were on the field at the end of the game (or temporarily off the field for treatment
of injury or repair of equipment) may participate in kicks from the penalty mark. The kicks from the
mark phase of the match begins at the moment regulation play ends (including any overtime periods of
play.) All players who are not injured must take a kick before anyone on the same team takes a second
kick. Only the goalkeeper may be substituted in the case of injury during the kicks phase and only if
the team has a substitution remaining from its permitted maximum. If a player is removed from the
field or is unable to participate in the taking of the kicks due to an injury, the contest continues without
him or her. Under no circumstances will a team be required to "reduce to equate" if the opposing team
loses one or more players due to injury or misconduct. Although Law 3 requires that a match may not
be started with fewer than seven players on each side, this does not apply to the taking of kicks from the
penalty mark. If one of the teams is able to field only five or six players for the kicks, the taking of
kicks may begin, and it may continue as long as there is one player left. Until a result is produced, both
teams must continue to use their eligible players without duplication until all (including the goalkeeper)
have kicked, at which time players who have already kicked may kick again. If one team has fewer
players than the other, it will need to begin using again its players who have already kicked sooner than
will the opposing team.
Note: It is not necessary for players to kick in the same order if a second round of kicks is required.
(See also Advice 19.1 and 19.2 for more information on Kicks from the Penalty Mark.)
"Reduce to Equate" Principle:
• If a team finishes the match and any extra time with fewer players than the opposing team (due to
injury or misconduct), the captain of the team with the greater number of players must select and
identify for the referee those players who will not participate in kicks from the mark. In other words,
the team must “reduce to equate” so that the kicks from the penalty mark procedure begins with teams
having an equal number of players.
• The “reduce to equate” principle applies only between the time regular or extra time has ended and the
actual taking of kicks from the penalty mark has begun.
• Once kicks from the penalty mark have begun, there is no further application of the “reduce to equate”
principle. If a player must leave through injury or misconduct, that player may not be replaced and the
opposing team does not reduce its numbers. (A goalkeeper who is injured may be replaced, but only if
the team has substitutions remaining).
3.13 RETURN OF A PLAYER TEMPORARILY OFF THE FIELD
If a player has received permission from the referee to leave the field during play for treatment of an
injury, that player must have the referee's permission to return to the field. If the ball is in play, such a
player may only re-enter the field across either of the touch lines. When the ball is out of play, the
player may re-enter across any of the boundary lines. Only the referee is authorized to allow an injured
player to re-enter the field whether the ball is in play or not. If the injured player has not been replaced
(as would likely be the case when the substitution procedures in Law 3 are fully in effect), the referee
must be aware of when the player is able to return and should give permission to do so at the earliest
opportunity in order to bring the player's team up to its permitted number of players.
If a player has been instructed to leave the field to correct bleeding, blood on the uniform, or illegal
equipment, the procedure for permitting that player to return to the field is described in Advice 5.8.
3.14 PLAYER ELIGIBILITY AND THE REFEREE
The criteria for registering players in a league and/or for determining if a player is permitted to
participate in any given match are set by the competition authority and may not be modified by the
referee. The competition authority may require that the referee check rosters, player passes, and similar
documentation as a prerequisite for allowing a player to participate in a match. Where the validity of
any player's documentation or right to participate in the match is or becomes a matter of dispute
between the two sides, with no resolution, the referee must allow the player to participate and then must
include all details in the match report. (An example would be the case where one team says that the
opposing player has been suspended and is not eligible to play in this game, but the player's team
disputes this.)
If there is an obvious discrepancy between the player documentation and the player in question, and the
referee can verify that the player and the documentation do not match one another, the player will not
play. The referee will retain the documentation and forward it to the competition authority with the
match report. In the absence of an obvious discrepancy or fabrication of player credentials, the issue
must be decided in favor of allowing the player to participate in the match, with full details included in
the match report.
3.15 WHEN A TEAM MAY SUBSTITUTE OR MAKE AN EXCHANGE OF PLAYERS
Under the Laws of the Game, and unless the rules of the competition specify otherwise, teams may
substitute at any stoppage of play. This is reinforced for youth play by USYSA Rule 302.2, which
provides for substitution at any stoppage with the permission of the referee. The referee must be
familiar with the rules of every competition he or she works in. (See Advice 19.5.)
An exchange of a field player for the goalkeeper is not a substitution and is permitted at any stoppage.
The referee must be informed of the change.
Part B. Fewer Than the Correct Number of Players
3.16 MINIMUM NUMBER OF PLAYERS
Although Law 3 specifies a minimum of seven players in order to start and continue a match, it is not
always necessary for all seven to be physically on the field. In some cases, the competition authority
may allow fewer than seven players for a team to continue to play, but the minimum to begin play
remains seven (other than for some small-sided games). Play must stop temporarily if a team drops
below this minimum number as a result of a player requesting and receiving permission from the
referee to leave the field temporarily for treatment of an injury or if instructed by the referee to leave
the field to correct bleeding, blood on the uniform, or illegal equipment. If the referee is not satisfied
that the team will be able to field the minimum number within a reasonable period of time, the referee
must abandon the match and describe the circumstances fully in the match report. (See Advice 5.12.)
Part C. More Than the Correct Number of Players
3.17 MORE THAN THE CORRECT NUMBER OF PLAYERS
If, while the game is in progress, the referee finds that a team has more than the allowed number of
persons on the field, play must be stopped and the extra person identified and removed from the field.
If the referee stops play for that purpose, the game is restarted as specified in the Law; if the game was
stopped for some other purpose, the game is restarted for that particular reason. Other than through
referee error, this situation can occur only if someone enters the field illegally. The "extra player" can
include an outside agent (such as a previously expelled player or a spectator); a player who had been
given permission to leave or been ordered off by the referee for correction of a problem, but re-entered
without permission; or a substitute or substituted player who enters without permission and/or during
play.
In all competitions, especially those that allow substituted players to return, the officials must be
extremely vigilant in counting the number of players who leave and substitutes who enter to prevent
problems of this nature. Similarly, players off the field temporarily who require the permission of the
referee to re-enter must be monitored to ensure that they do not participate in play until this requirement
and any others (e.g., inspection to confirm the correction of the equipment or bleeding problem) are
met.
3.18 ACTION IF PLAY STOPPED FOR PERSON ILLEGALLY ON THE FIELD
(a) If the extra person is neither a player nor a substitute (as determined usually by the team's roster),
that person is considered an "outside agent" and must be removed. That person, as an outside agent,
has not committed misconduct and so no card may be displayed. In the special case of a player who has
already been sent off and shown the red card but who returns to the field, no further action can be taken
following removal other than to include full details in the match report. Play is restarted with a dropped
ball where the ball was when play was stopped*.
(b) A player who has been given permission or was ordered to leave the field to repair equipment or for
medical treatment or clean-up of blood must have the referee's permission to return. If this player
returns to the field illegally, he or she must be removed, cautioned and shown the yellow card for
entering the field of play without the referee's permission. The correct restart is an indirect free kick at
the place where the ball was when play was stopped*.
(c) If a substitute or a player who has been replaced subsequently enters the field illegally, he or she
must be cautioned for unsporting behavior. Under rules of competition which follow Law 3, a
substituted player is not permitted to take any further active part in the match, though such a person
may be permitted to stay in the team's technical area. If the illegal entry of the substitute was part of a
substitution in which a player left the field, the player who left must return to the field. The correct
restart is an indirect free kick at the place where the ball was when play was stopped*.
3.19 OFFENSE COMMITTED WHILE PERSON ILLEGALLY ON THE FIELD
(a) An outside agent (see Advice 1.8(d)) cannot commit an infringement of the Laws. (See 3.18(a))
(b) If a player who has been given permission or was ordered to leave the field to repair equipment or
for medical treatment or clean-up of blood then returns to the field illegally (see 3.18(b)) and
additionally commits a foul or misconduct while on the field illegally, he or she is nevertheless still a
player and can be charged with committing a foul or misconduct and the restart would be determined
accordingly. For example, if a player has been ordered from the field to correct equipment but re-enters
the field without the permission of the referee and then violently strikes an opponent during play, the
restart would be a direct free kick for the striking foul (or a penalty kick if committed inside the player's
own penalty area). The player is, of course, also sent off and shown the red card for this misconduct.
(c) Players who have been replaced (“substituted players”) and subsequently return to the field illegally
(see 3.18(c)) cannot commit fouls, but can commit misconduct. If this substituted player commits
misconduct while on the field, he or she may be cautioned or sent off, as appropriate. The indirect free
kick restart would be based on the illegal entry of the substituted player, not for any misconduct which
may be committed afterward.
3.20 GOAL SCORED WITH EXTRA PLAYER IN THE GAME
There are two critical questions to be answered in determining the proper response to the presence of an
extra person on the field following the scoring of a goal:
• Was the presence of the extra person discovered before the kick-off restart or only afterward?
• Who is the extra person – a player ordered off who returned illegally, a substitute or substituted player
who entered illegally, or someone else (team official, spectator, red-carded player, etc.) referred to
generally as an “outside agent”?
(a) Extra person discovered after the restart
If, after play is restarted with a kick-off and, during a subsequent stoppage, the extra person is
discovered, the goal counts and play is restarted based on the reason for the current stoppage. If,
however, play is stopped after the kick-off solely because the referee has become aware of the presence
of an extra person, the goal stands and the game is restarted in accordance with the Law:
• an indirect free kick* where the ball was when play was stopped if the extra person was either a
substitute (or substituted player) or a player off the field with the referee’s permission or at the order of
the referee (e.g., for an equipment or bleeding problem).
• a dropped ball* where the ball was when play was stopped if the person is an outside agent or a redcarded player.
(b) Extra person discovered before play restarts.
The referee must disallow the goal if the intruder was:
• a player, substitute (or substituted player), or a team official of the team that scored the goal, or
• an outside agent who interfered with play or a player.
The referee must allow the goal if the intruder was:
• a player, substitute (or substituted player), or a team official of the team scored against, or
•an outside agent who did not interfere with play or a player.
If the goal is disallowed, the restart is a goal kick.
In all cases, the intruder must be removed from the field and cautioned if the person is a player or
anyone else over whom the referee has authority. Team officials should be informed that their action
was ill-advised and, if appropriate, they should be expelled from the field and its surrounds for
irresponsible behavior. The match may be suspended and, if necessary, terminated where outside
agents are invading the field.
Law 4 - Players' Equipment
4.1 WEARING UNIFORMS
It is implicit in the Law that each side wear a distinctively colored jersey, that shorts and socks be
uniform for each team, and that the uniforms be distinguishable from the uniforms worn by the other
team. However, the details of the uniform are governed by the competition authority and can vary
widely from one match to another. The referee must know and enforce the rules of each competition
worked. Players' jerseys must remain tucked inside their shorts, socks must remain pulled up, and each
player must wear shinguards under the socks. All undergarments (slide pants, undershirts, etc.) which
extend visibly beyond the required uniform must be as close as possible in color to the main color of the
uniform part under which they are worn.
All players must wear jerseys or shirts that distinguish them from the referee and assistant referees. If the
colors are the same, the players, not the referees, must change.
Remember that jersey/shirt and shorts must be two separate items, not a single unit.
4.2 SAFETY
The referee must inspect the players and their equipment to ensure that there is nothing dangerous to
any player. Players may not wear anything that the referee considers dangerous to themselves or to
their teammates or opponents. The referee may delegate all or part of this responsibility to one or both
of the assistant referees.
4.3 JEWELRY
All items of jewelry are normally considered dangerous; however, referees should consider carefully
any item of clothing or jewelry that is clearly religious or medical in nature and permit it to be worn if it
is not dangerous and not likely to provide the player with an unfair advantage. Religious jewelry must
be required by the wearer’s religion; however, if judged by the referee to be unsafe, it may not be worn.
Players may not tape, cover up, or otherwise hide prohibited items. The player must still be prevented
from participating in the match if the prohibited item continues to be worn.
The willful refusal by a player to remove illegal equipment (including items of jewelry), having been
previously warned that such equipment cannot be worn on the field yet continuing to do so, is
considered unsporting behavior.
4.4 GOALKEEPER UNIFORMS AND EQUIPMENT
Under Law 4, goalkeepers must wear a jersey color distinct from the players of both teams and the
referee and assistant referees. In addition, goalkeepers traditionally wear items of clothing besides
those prescribed under Law 4. These items include soft hats or caps, gloves, training suit bottoms,
pants with special hip or thigh pads, jerseys with pads along the elbows and arms, and separate pads for
knees or elbows. There is no problem as long as these items of clothing do not present a danger to any
players, are of a color distinct from the uniforms of players of either team and are, in the opinion of the
referee, clearly related to the goalkeeper's function. The referee should prevent any player other than
the goalkeeper from wearing an item of clothing or equipment that is permitted to the goalkeeper under
these criteria.
If the two goalkeepers' shirts are the same color and neither has another shirt to change into, the referee
shall allow the match to proceed.
4.5 FOOTWEAR
Shoes are a required item of player equipment. If a player, due to a collision with an opponent or other
cause, loses a shoe and immediately scores a goal, the goal would be valid. The player lost the shoe by
accident and did not intentionally play without the shoe. It is within the referee's discretion to allow
such a player to continue playing for a short while until the shoe is recovered and put back on.
4.6 INCORRECT UNIFORM OR EQUIPMENT
Instructing a player to leave the field to correct an illegal uniform or equipment does not require a
report by the referee, as this is not a "send-off" for misconduct. The inspection to confirm that the
correction has been made is conducted by the referee or, if delegated by the referee in the pregame
conference, by the fourth official or an assistant referee if a fourth official has not been appointed. The
player must receive a signal from the referee before actually re-entering the field and may do so only
during a stoppage. Where inspection of a player's illegal equipment or uniform has been delegated to
the fourth official or to an assistant referee, the officiating team must discuss in the pregame
conference a reliable means of communicating to the referee that the inspection has in fact occurred and
the problem has in fact been corrected.
The goalkeeper is allowed certain exceptions in the equipment he or she is permitted to wear. These
exceptions are designed strictly for protection of the goalkeeper, in keeping with the requirement in
Law 4 to ensure player safety, not to ensure player superiority through artificial means. There is no
provision for the goalkeeper or any other player to wear artificial aids to enhance their ability to play.
Therefore tacky substances on the hands or "sticky" gloves are illegal equipment and, if used, constitute
unsporting behavior for which a caution should be given. The offending substance must be removed
and the offending gloves may be replaced by others that are not "doctored."
Players may not wear commercial, political, religious or personal statements on any part of the player
uniform (normal manufacturer’s names and logos are excepted) or reveal such statements by removing
any part of the uniform (whether the statement being revealed is on an undergarment or directly on the
player’s skin). Referees do not have responsibility for sanctioning players who violate this restriction
under ordinary circumstances, but they must include details of any violations in their match report.
Referees continue to have the authority to sanction players if what is displayed involves abusive,
insulting, or offensive language or images.
Note: "Commercial" in this case means a "commercial statement" advocating the use of a product,
rather than the logo of a team, league or tournament sponsor. The latter is allowed; the former is not.
Law 5 - The Referee
5.1 REFEREE UNIFORM
Referees may wear only the gold primary jersey or the black, blue, red, or green alternate jerseys, and
may wear only the approved socks. (The term "primary jersey" means only that this is the color all
referees must have. It does not mean that the gold jersey must be worn in preference to other colors.)
No other colors will be worn without express permission of the USSF. If the uniform colors worn by a
goalkeeper and the referee or by a team (or both teams) and the referee are similar enough to invite
confusion, the goalkeeper or the team(s) must change to different colors. Only if there is no way to
resolve the color similarity must the referee (and the assistant referees) wear the colors that conflict
least with the players. Referees and assistant referees must wear the same color jerseys and the same
style of socks, and all should wear the same length sleeves. The referee uniform does not include a hat,
cap, or other head covering, with the sole exception of required religious head covering. Referees must
wear the badge of the current registration year. In general, referees, assistant referees, fourth officials,
and reserve referees may not wear any item of equipment, clothing, or jewelry (with the exception of a
watch) which the Law does not permit a player to wear.
Referee shorts must be black.
Referees should select their shoes with an eye for both utility and appearance. Referees have to run on
the field with at least as much speed and agility as do the players, so the shoes should enable them to do
this under all field conditions. Players, team officials, and spectators often make initial judgments
about the skills and knowledge of the referee based on appearance, and shoes can contribute
significantly toward building that reserve of confidence. It is also occasionally important that players,
who are frequently looking down at the ground, be able to identify the referee quickly by differences in
the shoes. Accordingly, the referee's shoes should be predominantly black, clean, polished, and neatly
tied.
Under normal circumstances, it is not acceptable for a game official to wear headgear, and it would
never be seen on a high-level regional, national or international competition. However, there may be
rare circumstances in local competitions where head protection or sun visors might sensibly be tolerated
for the good of the game, e.g., early morning or late afternoon games with sun in the officials' line of
sight causing vision difficulties; understaffed situations where an official with sensitive skin might be
pressed into service for multiple games under strong sunlight, or a referee who wears glasses needing
shielding from rain. Sunglasses would be subject to the same considerations. In addition, we ask
referees to remember that sunglasses have the unfortunate side effect of suggesting that the referee or
assistant referee is severely visually impaired and should not be working the game. They also limit
communication between the officials and the players by providing a barrier against eye-to-eye contact.
Sunglasses, if worn, should be removed prior to any verbal communication with players.
5.2 REFEREE'S AUTHORITY
The referee's authority begins upon arrival at the area of the field of play and continues until he or she
has left the area of the field after the game has been completed. The referee's authority extends to time
when the ball is not in play, to temporary suspensions, to the half-time break, and to additional periods
of play or kicks from the penalty mark required by the rules of the competition.
For a synopsis of when cards may be shown to players, substitutes, or substituted players, see Advice
5.17.
5.3 PREGAME
Before the game, the referee must discuss with the assistant referees and fourth official (if one has been
assigned) the rules of the competition and the proper procedures and mechanics to be followed by each
official (as prescribed in the USSF Guide to Procedures).
5.4 REFEREE SIGNALS
Referee signals should be restricted to those authorized by IFAB/FIFA (play on-advantage, penalty
kick, indirect free kick, direct free kick, goal kick, corner kick, and caution or expulsion when showing
the card), unless there is a clear need to communicate other information to the players or to the assistant
referees and fourth official. Other signals or methods of communication intended to supplement (not
replace) those described in the USSF Guide to Procedures are permitted only if they do not conflict
with established procedures and only if they do not intrude on the game, are not distracting, are limited
in number and purpose, and are fully agreed upon before the match. Such signals should be kept to an
absolute minimum, and should not be demonstrative or draw undue attention to the referee (or the
assistant referee). Although the routine use of signals which identify fouls is not generally
recommended, referees should be prepared to quickly indicate what sort of foul has occurred when this
may deter further questions, disagreements, misunderstanding, or dissent.
The whistle is required for all ceremonial restarts (every penalty kick and kick-off, plus any other
restart which the referee has delayed for any reason). The whistle is needed to:
• start play (1st, 2nd half), after a goal
• stop play for a free kick or penalty kick, if match is suspended or abandoned, or when a period of play
has ended due to the expiration of time
• restart play at free kicks when the wall is ordered back the appropriate distance or for penalty kicks
• restart play after it has been stopped due to the issue of a yellow or red card for misconduct, injury, or
substitution
The whistle is NOT needed
• to stop play for a goal kick, corner kick or throw-in, a goal
• to restart play from a free kick, goal kick, corner kick, throw-in
No whistle is needed when play is restarted with a dropped ball. Except where required, whistling at
other times should be held to a minimum so that, when it is truly needed to gain the attention of players,
the whistle is more likely to have the desired impact.
5.5 TRIFLING INFRACTIONS
"The Laws of the Game are intended to provide that games should be played with as little interference
as possible, and in this view it is the duty of referees to penalize only deliberate breaches of the Law.
Constant whistling for trifling and doubtful breaches produces bad feeling and loss of temper on the
part of the players and spoils the pleasure of spectators."
This former International F.A. Board Decision (previously included in Law 5 as Decision 8) was
removed from the Law only because it was felt to be an unnecessary reminder of the referee's
fundamental duty to penalize only those violations that matter. The spirit, if not the words, of this
Decision remains at the heart of the Law. It is applicable to all possible violations of any of the Laws
of the Game.
A trifling infraction is one which, though still an offense, has no significant impact upon play. A
doubtful offense is one which neither the referee nor the other officials can attest to. Under no
circumstances should the advantage clause be invoked for such “offenses.” The referee’s decision as to
whether a player’s action is trifling or not is affected considerably by the skill level of the players.
However, the referee should remember to consider trifling offenses in determining persistent
infringement of the Laws. Further, the referee may wish to talk to or warn a player regarding trifling
infringements which, though considered trifling, may nonetheless lead to frustration and retaliation if
they continue.
5.6 ADVANTAGE
Referees have the power to apply (and signal) the advantage upon seeing a foul or misconduct
committed if at that moment the terms of the advantage clause (Law 5, 11th item) were met. Applying
advantage permits the referee to allow play to continue when the team against which the foul has been
committed will actually benefit from the referee not stopping play.
The referee must remember that the advantage applies to the team of the fouled player and not just to
the fouled player. Soccer is a team sport and the referee is expected to apply advantage if the fouled
player's team is able to retain or regain control of the ball.
The referee may return to and penalize the original foul if the advantage situation does not develop as
anticipated after a short while (2-3 seconds). Referees should note that the "advantage" is not defined
solely in terms of scoring a goal. Also, a subsequent offense by a player of the offending team must not
be ignored while the referee allows the anticipated development of the advantage. Such an offense may
either be recognized by stopping play immediately or by applying the advantage clause again.
Regardless of the outcome of the advantage call, the referee must deal appropriately with any
misconduct at the next stoppage, before allowing play to be restarted. (See also 12.27.)
NOTE: After observing a foul or misconduct by a player, the referee decides to apply advantage and
within a second or so, the ball goes out of play across a boundary line. The referee may still penalize
the original offense.
The use of advantage as described in Law 5 is strictly limited to infringements of Law 12 — both the
section covering fouls and the later section on misconduct. Other offenses under the Laws of the Game
(e.g., violating Law 15 on a throw-in, offside, "second touch" violations at a restart, etc.) are not subject
to the application of advantage. As with any other infringement of the Law (e.g., the lack of corner
flags, a whistle blown by a spectator, the illegal entry onto the field of a spectator), these are subject to
a determination by the referee that the infraction is doubtful (uncertain that it occurred) or trifling (the
infringement occurred but had no importance for the course of play). For example, if a ball comes onto
the field of play from a nearby field, it is not necessary to stop play unless and until this "foreign
object" actually interferes with play or causes any confusion for the players. Deciding not to stop play
in such a case is not based on applying advantage but of following the time-honored principle embodied
prior to 1996 in International Board Decision 8 of Law 5 (dropped in 1997 but still considered a core
value in the Laws of the Game — see the first paragraph of Advice 5.5, above).
Referees must understand that advantage is not an absolute right. It must be balanced against other
issues. The giving of the advantage is not required in all situations to which it might be applied. The
referee may stop play despite an advantage if other factors (e.g., game control, severity of a foul or
misconduct, possibility of player retaliation, etc.) outweigh the benefit of play continuing. As a
practical matter, referees should generally avoid a decision to allow advantage for fouls which happen
very early in the match, for fouls performed in front of the team areas, or for misconduct involving
violence unless the chance for a goal is immediate.
A common misconception about advantage is that it is about deciding if a challenge is a foul. On the
contrary, that decision has already been made because advantage cannot be applied to anything which is
not a foul (meaning a violation of Law 12). Advantage, rather, is a decision about whether to stop play
for the foul. Accordingly, giving the advantage is "calling the foul" and thus it must be as obvious to the
players as signaling to stop play.
Inconspicuous advantage signals are as much to be avoided as a whistle which cannot be heard.
Likewise, however, using the advantage signal to indicate that something is not a foul or misconduct, or
is a doubtful or trifling offense, is equally wrong.
In determining whether there is persistent infringement, all fouls are considered, including those to
which advantage has been applied.
One way to determine when to invoke the advantage is to apply the Four Ps: Possession, Potential,
Personnel, and Proximity. Possession means active and credible control by the player who was fouled
or a teammate. Potential means the likelihood of continuing an immediate and dangerous attack on the
opponents' goal. The referee evaluates Potential by judging the Personnel involved (the number and
skills of the attackers relative to the number and skills of the defenders within 2-3 seconds of the
offense) and Proximity (the distance to the opponents' goal; the less the distance, the greater the
potential).
5.7 STOPPING PLAY
The referee has the power to stop the match for any infringement of the Laws, to apply advantage under
the appropriate conditions, or to decide that an infringement is trifling or doubtful and should not be
called at all. However, the referee also has the power to stop play for other reasons, including
misconduct for which the referee intends only to warn the player regarding behavior and not to issue a
caution. In these circumstances, the referee should take care that ordering such a stoppage would not
disadvantage the opposing team. As the stoppage will not have occurred for a foul or misconduct, play
would be restarted with a dropped ball.
5.8 RETURN AFTER BLEEDING OR EQUIPMENT REMEDY
If a player is bleeding or the uniform is blood-soaked, the player must leave the field immediately to
have the bleeding stopped and his or her skin and uniform cleaned as thoroughly as possible (replacing
the uniform may be necessary to meet this requirement). Before the player can return to the field, the
correction of the situation must be confirmed by an official—the referee or, if delegated by the referee
in the pregame conference, the fourth official or, if there is no fourth official, an assistant referee. Once
the correction has been confirmed, the player can be permitted to return to the field only at the next
stoppage of play. (This procedure includes remedying all illegal equipment.)
5.9 INJURIES
Players who are injured are required to leave the field under either of two conditions: The referee has
stopped play due solely to the occurrence of a serious injury or the referee signals approval for anyone
(team official, medical personnel, etc.) to enter the field to attend to an injury (regardless of whether
that person enters to assist or not and regardless of why play was stopped). Goalkeepers are exempt
from this requirement, along with any field player who may also have been injured as a result of a
collision with the goalkeeper, as well as teammates who collide. The failure of a player to leave the
field when required to do so may be considered cautionable behavior.
Although the treatment of injuries is not normally permitted on the field, the referee is authorized to
allow this in the case of severe injuries where further movement of the injured player would be
dangerous. Goalkeepers (and field players injured as a result of a collision with the goalkeeper) may be
treated on the field at any time. The determination of what constitutes a "serious injury" should take
into account the age of the player. Only the referee may permit the return to the field of play of a player
who was permitted to leave the field for treatment of an injury. This is not a substitution. The player
who left the field for treatment of an injury may return during play with the permission of the referee,
but only from the touch line. If the ball is out of play, the player may return with the permission of the
referee across any boundary line.
Referees should avoid remaining in the area of the injured player once they have made their
determination to stop play or to prevent play from immediately restarting while the injured player is
being attended to on the field.
Prior to the restart, the referee must blow the whistle.
5.10 BEHAVIOR OF COACH AND BENCH PERSONNEL
Coaches or other team officials, one at a time, may provide tactical advice to their players, including
positive remarks and encouragement. The referee should only take action against coaches or other
team officials for irresponsible behavior or for actions that bring the game into disrepute. A coach or
other team official may not be cautioned or sent off nor shown any card; however, at the discretion of
the referee, such persons may be warned regarding their behavior or expelled from the field of play and
its immediate area. When a coach or other team official is expelled, the referee must include detailed
information about such incidents in the match report.
The maximum numbers of substitutes and substitutions are set by the competition authority and with
the agreement of the two teams within the requirements of Law 3. Additional people in the technical
area, such as team members who are not named as players or substitutes (for the current game) on the
roster or parents or other persons involved with the team, are permitted to be seated with the team in the
technical area (or other designated team area) only if this is allowed by the competition authority. Such
persons will be considered team officials and are therefore held to the same standards of conduct
specified in Law 5 as other team officials. Although team officials cannot commit misconduct or be
shown a card, they may be ordered from the field for irresponsible behavior. Full details must be
included in the match report.
The "Ask, Tell, Remove" process is recommended for all officials to follow regarding conduct by team
officials:
• Ask
If a situation arises where there is irresponsible behavior, the official (referee, assistant referee, or
fourth official) should ASK the person(s) to stop.
• Tell
If there is another occurrence of irresponsible behavior, the official should inform that person that the
behavior is not permissible and TELL them (insist) to stop.
• Remove
If irresponsible behavior continues, the referee must REMOVE that person immediately.
SOME GUIDELINES FOR USING THE "ASK, TELL, REMOVE" PROCESS
When the fourth official determines that the use of "TELL" has not worked and the conduct in the
technical area continues to be irresponsible, the fourth official informs the referee. At a stoppage, the
referee then approaches the technical area and "warns" the coach that any further irresponsible behavior
will result in immediate expulsion of a team official or dismissal of a player, substitute or substituted
player from the game. Thus, as a general rule, it is ASK, TELL by the fourth official, TELL by the
referee, and then REMOVE. It is not ASK, TELL, TELL, TELL, TELL, and only then REMOVE.
These are the recommended steps, but they are not necessary if the behavior and conduct of personnel
within the technical area requires immediate dismissal. Remember, where circumstances permit, match
officials should use a “gentle escalation” approach so that all referee team responses match the nature
of the bench behavior. Try to use the least intrusive response that will solve the problem.
5.11 TERMINATING A MATCH
The referee may terminate a match for reasons of safety (bad weather or darkness), for any serious
infringement of the Laws, or because of interference by spectators. Only the competition authority, not
the referee, has the authority to declare a winner, a forfeit, or a replay of the match in its entirety. The
referee must report fully on the events.
5.12 ABANDONING A MATCH
The referee may abandon a match if there is an insufficient number of players to meet the requirements
of the Law or the competition, if a team does not appear or leaves before completion of the game, or if
the field and any of its equipment do not meet the requirements of the Laws or are otherwise unsafe.
An abandoned match is replayed unless the competition rules provide otherwise.
NOTE: The difference between terminating a match and abandoning a match is a subtle one, but it is
historically correct and supported by traditional practice.
5.13 CHANGING A DECISION AFTER PLAY HAS RESTARTED
Prior to play restarting following the display of a card, the referee can revise any decision about what he
or she observed on the field, re-evaluate the significance of the player action, or receive additional
relevant information from another official (either or both assistant referees or the fourth official). As a
result of this further reflection or assistance from other members of the officiating team, the referee can:
(a) rescind the card entirely, (b) decide that the card should be given to a different player, (c) display a
card to additional players, or (d) display a different color card in place of the one originally shown.
As a practical matter, it must be emphasized that such an action should be taken only very rarely. The
referee can reduce the need to rescind a card by having as much information as possible before
displaying a card. Referees should never be seen as acting in response to player appeals. If play has
been properly restarted or if the match is over (including required periods of additional play and/or
kicks from the penalty mark), any cards shown must be reported.
If play has been properly restarted, it is normally the case that a card may not thereafter be given for
any acts of misconduct which occurred prior to the stoppage of play directly preceding the restart.
However, there are circumstances in which the referee may issue a card despite play having been
stopped and then restarted.
First, if a player was shown a second yellow card but not sent off for having received the second yellow
card in the same match, the referee may display the red card whenever the omission is pointed out. The
failure to send off a player after a second caution and the subsequent correction of this error does not
invalidate any action by that player or by the team of that player during the period of the match
following the moment the send-off should have occurred. The only exception is if the player's team
scored a goal and the failure to send off the player is corrected before play is restarted, in which case
the goal must be canceled.
Second, if an assistant referee observed misconduct, raised the flag, and maintained the flag despite the
signal not being seen by the referee over the course of a subsequent stoppage and restart, the oversight
can be corrected as soon as the referee becomes aware of the assistant referee's signal. The
responsibility to maintain the signal for the offense should be discussed in the pregame with priority
given to the more serious forms of misconduct. If play is stopped for no reason under the Law other
than to issue a card for misconduct which was signaled by the assistant referee, despite an intervening
stoppage and restart, the restart will be a dropped ball where the ball was when play was most recently
stopped*.
A card can be shown after the end of any period of play if advantage has been applied to misconduct
and the end of the period of play is the very next stoppage. Under these circumstances, the referee is
advised to display the card quickly.
If the referee discovers after play has restarted that the wrong player was cautioned (yellow card) or sent
off (red card), the display of the card cannot be changed and must be reported. The referee must provide
in the match report all details relevant to the mistake.
The failure of the referee to include in the match report accurately and fully all cards displayed during
play and not timely rescinded is a serious breach of the referee's responsibilities. In addition, the referee
may not record cards as shown which have not been shown, although the facts of the player's behavior
may be included in the match report.
Referees may not decide to rescind a caution if the player who has already been charged with
misconduct apologizes. All cautions must be reported.
5.14 CHANGING A DECISION ON AN INCORRECT RESTART
If the referee awards a restart for the wrong team and realizes the mistake before the restart is taken,
then the restart may be corrected even though the decision was announced after the restart took place.
This is based on the established principle that correcting a wrongly announced decision, even after the
restart, is consistent with the Spirit of the Law and the fact that the restart taken by the player was not
valid. If the referee changes the restart, it is appropriate to make sure both teams have adjusted and are
ready for the new restart before the whistle is again blown to restart play.
5.15 REPORTING MISCONDUCT
When a player commits more than one form of misconduct at the same time (e.g., dissent and abusive
language, denial of an obvious goalscoring opportunity and serious foul play, delaying the restart of
play and failure to respect the required distance), the referee can use only one as the official reason for
the caution or send off. The reason given should reflect whichever act of misconduct is considered the
most serious. However, all misconduct committed by a player must be noted in the referee's report,
including any behavior in addition to the official reason for the caution or send off. (See also Advice
12.37 and 12.38.)
5.16 APPLYING DISCIPLINE TO SUBSTITUTES
The referee's authority extends to all substitutes, whether called upon to play or not. While it is not
possible for a substitute to commit or to be penalized for a foul, substitutes can be shown the
appropriate card and cautioned or sent off for misconduct. [Note: See Laws 3 and 5, the IGR and the
information on the fourth official for dealing with coaches and other team personnel.]
Substitutes can be cautioned and shown the yellow card only for unsporting behavior, dissent, or
delaying the restart of play. They may be sent off the field and shown the red card for any of the
reasons provided in Law 12 but referees are advised that, if the misconduct involves violence, the
match report should indicate that the send-off was for violent conduct. (The use of "serious foul play"
as the reason for sending off a substitute should be avoided.)
5.17 DISCIPLINARY PROCEDURES BEFORE, DURING, AND AFTER THE GAME
Misconduct committed by a player or a substitute prior to the start of the match, during the match,
during breaks between playing periods is subject to a formal caution or a send-off, as appropriate.
Yellow and red cards, which are now mandatory indications of cautions and send-offs, may be shown
only for misconduct committed by players, substitutes, or substituted players during a match. "During a
match" includes:
(a) the period of time immediately prior to the start of play during which players and substitutes are
physically on the field warming up, stretching, or otherwise preparing for the match;
(b) any periods in which play is temporarily stopped;
(c) half time or similar breaks in play;
(d) required overtime periods;
(e) kicks from the penalty mark if this procedure is used in case a winner must be determined.
(f) the period of time immediately following the end of play during which the players and substitutes
are physically on the field but in the process of exiting.
Cautions issued prior to the start of the game or during breaks between periods are recorded and they
are counted for purposes of sending a player from the field for receiving a second caution during the
match. To prevent misunderstandings, the referee should inform officials of both teams before the first
period of play begins of any cautions or send-offs occurring prior to the start of the match.
If a player or substitute is cautioned or dismissed for misconduct which has occurred during a break or
suspension of play, the card must be shown on the field before play resumes.
If a player is dismissed before the match begins, the player may be replaced by a named substitute, but
the team is not allowed to add any names to its roster and its number of permissible substitutions is not
reduced.
The referee may send off and show the red card for violent conduct to a player, substitute, or substituted
player after the game has been restarted if the assistant referee had signaled the offense before the
restart.
Players or substitutes who have been sent off may not remain in the team area, and must be removed
from the environs of the field. If this is not practical because of the age or condition of the player, the
team authorities are responsible for the behavior of the player or substitute.
There can be no "temporary expulsion" of players who have been cautioned, nor may teams be forced
to substitute for a player who has been cautioned.
Postgame: Any misconduct committed by players or substitutes after the field has been cleared must be
described in the game report and reported to the competition authority. Since such misconduct cannot
result in a formal caution or send-off, no card may be displayed. Referees are advised to avoid
remaining in the area of the field unnecessarily.
5.18 DISCIPLINE DURING KICKS FROM THE PENALTY MARK OR EXTRA TIME
The Laws of the Game apply when additional time must be played or kicks from the penalty mark must
be taken to satisfy a requirement by the competition authority that there be a winner of a match.
Misconduct during extra time or kicks from the penalty mark is treated as if it had occurred during
regulation time.
5.19 DEALING WITH MISCONDUCT
While referees display cards for acts of misconduct which are clearly defined in Law 12 (the caution
and send-off offense categories) and which can only be committed by players, substitutes, or substituted
players, there is a broader meaning to the term "misconduct" that applies to anything committed by
anyone at or involved in any way with the match that may be brought before a disciplinary committee.
This would include any violation of the Laws of the Game, of the rules, regulations, or instructions of
the competition authority (tournament, local league, regional or national association), or of any other
accepted standard of behavior governing the actions of persons other than players, substitutes, or
substituted players. Accordingly, a team official expelled from the field for behaving irresponsibly has
committed "misconduct" in the general sense but cannot be said to have committed an act of
misconduct within the meaning of Law 12 and therefore cannot be shown a card nor should the terms
used in Law 12 to categorize acts of misconduct be used to describe the behavior of anyone other than
players, substitutes, or substituted players.
Note: A “participant” means an affiliated association, competition, club, club official or player or
official, match official, a member or employee of an affiliated club and any persons who from time to
time participate in any activity sanctioned either directly or indirectly by the governing authority.
For these reasons, referees should be familiar with the following table and the Laws that govern its
content. The table is based on four presumed conditions:
a. Play is stopped by the referee for this misconduct.
b. The misconduct is committed by someone over whom the referee has authority (players, substitutes,
substituted players or team officials).
c. The restart is based on the first misconduct committed, regardless of subsequent misconduct by the
same or other persons.
d. There is no accompanying foul associated with the misconduct
The table does not cover:
a. Actions by spectators or players who have been dismissed nor any misconduct committed during a
stoppage in play
b. Any case of misconduct in which the referee invokes the advantage clause but fails to punish the
misconduct before the next restart.
For cases involving persons who enter the field illegally and commit fouls or misconduct, including
players who were ordered off to correct equipment problems or with injuries, see Advice 3.10, 3.18,
and 3.19. Cases of more serious misconduct (serious foul play and violent conduct) are covered in
Advice 12.33-12.35. For cases involving team officials and those team personnel who are not players
at the moment, see Advice 5.10 as well as Advice 3.10, 3.18, and 3.19.
Law 6 - The Assistant Referees and Fourth Official
6.1 ASSISTANT REFEREE DUTIES
"Assistant referees, where neutral, shall draw the referee's attention to any breach of the Laws of the
Game of which they become aware if they consider that the referee may not have seen it, but the referee
shall always be the judge of the decision to be taken."
(Former International F.A. Board Decision 1 to Law VI)
6.2 ASSISTANT REFEREE SIGNALS
Assistant referee signals should be restricted to those authorized by IFAB/FIFA (offside and the far,
center, and near positions; throw-in; corner kick; goal kick; and substitution) or the USSF (foul,
infringement inside the penalty area, or other signals described in the USSF Guide to Procedures),
unless there is a clear need to communicate information to the players or to the referee that cannot be
communicated in any other way. (For further guidelines, see Advice 5.4.)
6.3 NO SIGNAL FOR FOULS OBSERVED BY THE REFEREE
Assistant referees should not signal at all for fouls or misconduct that clearly occur in the sight of the
referee, that are doubtful or trifling, or for which the referee would likely have applied advantage.
Assistant referees may, however, bring such events to the attention of the referee at a stoppage of play.
6.4 MISSED ASSISTANT REFEREE SIGNALS
If the assistant referee signals a ball out of play but the referee does not see the signal for an extended
period, during which play is stopped and restarted several times, the assistant referee should lower the
flag. The FIFA Referee Committee has declared that it is impossible for the referee to act on the
assistant referee's signal after so much play.
If the referee misses the assistant referee's signal for offside, the assistant referee should stand at
attention with the flag raised until the defending team gains clear possession or until a goal kick or
throw-in is awarded to the defending team.
Although the general rule is that a card for misconduct must be given at the next stoppage of play and
that, if this does not occur, the opportunity to punish the misconduct has passed, the International
Board's "Interpretations" section has stated that this does not apply to serious foul play. However, in
order to make handling such incidents credible, certain conditions must apply. The most important
requirement is that the assistant referee must have signaled the original misconduct and maintained the
signal despite it not being seen by the referee. USSF has indicated that this requirement should be
discussed thoroughly in the pre-game and that the referee should clearly indicate what sorts of
misconduct would qualify for this treatment. The International Board spoke specifically of "serious
foul play" but USSF guidelines include any form of violence (including "violent conduct"). If the
referee becomes aware of the assistant referee's signal for misconduct at a subsequent stoppage of play,
the restart (after the misconduct is handled) would remain the same based on what stopped play in the
first place. If, upon becoming aware of an assistant referee's signal for misconduct, play is stopped
solely for this reason, the restart is a dropped ball where the ball was when play was most recently
stopped *.
To avoid such situations, the referee should make eye contact with the assistant referees as often as
possible. In addition, the assistant referees must be alert for and mirror each other's signals if needed to
assist the referee. If the stoppage under these circumstances results in a player being sent from the field
and shown a red card, no further action is taken beyond the issuance of the card: more specifically, any
goals, fouls, or other cards involving this player or this player's team remain valid as and when they
happened.
6.5 RESPONSIBILITY FOR OFFSIDE
Among the specifically stated responsibilities of the assistant referee is to indicate "when a player may
be penalized for being in an offside position." Because "it is not an offense in itself to be in an offside
position," the assistant referee must interpret this responsibility to require that it is clear not only that
an attacker is in an offside position but also that this same player is involved in active play by
interfering with play, interfering with an opponent, or gaining an advantage by being in the offside
position (see Law 11). The assistant referee should use his or her unique perspective on the touch line
as a trained, neutral official and provide the appropriate signal so that the referee can make a final
determination as to whether the attacker will be penalized for an offside infringement.
If the assistant referee, properly positioned and attentive, is in doubt as to whether an offside position or
involvement in active play exists, no offside signal should be given. However, assistant referees must
be properly positioned, focused, and attentive at all times so as to fulfill their obligation to assist the
referee with this critical decision.
6.6 CLUB LINESMEN
Where neutral assistant referees are not available, the referee may use club linesmen. Club linesmen
should report to the referee before the start of the game for instructions. The referee should make it
clear that the decision of the referee is final and must not be questioned. The relationship of club
linesmen to the referee must be one of assistance, without undue interference or any opposition. Club
linesmen are to signal only when the ball is entirely over the goal line or touch line.
6.7 THE FOURTH OFFICIAL
In competitions where a fourth official is appointed, that official's role and duties must be in accordance
with the guidelines approved by the International F.A. Board. For more details, see the USSF
publication "Guide to Procedures for Referees, Assistant Referees and Fourth Officials," as well as the
Interpretation of the Laws and Guidelines for Referees in the Laws of the Game. In the absence of local
rules of competition providing otherwise, the fourth official may replace any official who is unable to
continue. Where local rules describe a different priority for replacement, they must be followed.
6.8 FOURTH OFFICIAL DUTIES
In addition to performing such other duties as the referee may discuss during the pregame conference
(see USSF's Guide for Fourth Officials, 2001), the fourth official is expected to manage substitutions;
report on violent conduct, irresponsible behavior in the technical area, and other misconduct which
occurred outside the view of the referee and assistant referees; and advise the referee of any error in
identifying players to be cautioned or sent from the field for misconduct.
6.9 RESERVE ASSISTANT REFEREE
If a reserve assistant referee is appointed, that person may only replace an assistant referee who is
unable to continue. A reserve assistant referee is expected to participate fully in the pre-game
conference and to closely observe match events so as to be better prepared to officiate if called upon to
do so.
Law 7 - The Duration of the Match
7.1 LENGTH OF HALVES
The referee may not arbitrarily shorten or lengthen the halves of a game where the time has been
specified by the competition authority (league, tournament, etc.).
7.2 ADDING TIME
The amount of time the referee allows for time lost in either half of a game or in any overtime period
for the reasons listed in Law 7 (Allowance for Time Lost) is entirely at the referee’s discretion.
Referees should remember that, in addition to the reasons listed in Law 7, there are “other causes” that
consume time, such as kick-offs, throw-ins, dropped balls, free kicks, and replacement of lost or
defective balls. Many of the reasons for stoppages in play and thus “lost time” are, however, entirely
normal elements of the game. This should be taken into account in applying discretion regarding the
time to be added. The main objective should be to restore playing time to the match which is lost due
to excessively prolonged or unusual stoppages. The IFAB has strongly urged referees to take fully into
account time lost due to injuries.
The addition of time to the first or second half of regular play (or to the first or second overtime period
if this is being used in case of a tie) does not preclude further delays being taken into account by the
referee if they occur during the additional time. Any announcement of additional time must therefore
be understood to be a minimum estimate; the referee must allow play to continue for at least the amount
of time announced.
7.3 MISTAKEN ENDING
If the referee ends play early, then the teams must be called back onto the field and the remaining time
must be played as soon as the error is detected. The halftime interval is not considered to have begun
until the first period of play is properly ended. If the ball was out of play when the period was ended
incorrectly, then play should be resumed with the appropriate restart (throw-in, goal kick, etc.). If the
ball was in play, then the correct restart is a dropped ball where the ball was when the referee
incorrectly ended play*.
If a period of play (first half or first overtime period) was ended prematurely and this fact was not
discovered until the next period of play had been started, the referee will complete the match using the
correct length of time for the period of play as prescribed by the competition authority and then include
full details of the error in the match report.
7.4 DISCIPLINE DURING KICKS FROM THE PENALTY MARK OR EXTRA TIME
The Laws of the Game apply when additional time must be played or kicks from the penalty mark must
be taken to satisfy a requirement by the competition authority that there be a winner of a match.
Misconduct during extra time or kicks from the penalty mark is treated as if it had occurred during
regulation time.
7.5 EARLY TERMINATION
If a match is terminated before completing all periods of play (including any required tie-breaking
activities), the referee must include full details in the match report to assist the competition authority in
deciding what action to take. Unless provided otherwise in the rules of competition, matches not
completed are replayed in their entirety. The referee does not make this decision.
Law 8 - The Start and Restart of Play
8.1 COIN TOSS
The decision made by the team winning the toss is only which end of the field to attack; the other team
takes the kick-off. When extra time is played, the coin toss again decides only which end the team
winning the toss will attack in the first extra period of play. The team that wins the toss at extra time
also kicks off to start the second period of extra time. A separate coin toss is required for kicks from
the penalty mark; however, in this case, the team whose captain wins the toss decides whether to take
the first or the second kick.
8.2 THE KICK-OFF
The ball must be kicked and move forward. Only minimal movement is needed to meet this
requirement. The kick-off must be taken by a player competing in the match, in accordance with the
Law, not by any non-player. Remember to note which team kicked off and in which direction the kick
was taken.
8.3 THE START OF PLAY
Before starting a period of play, the assistant referees should indicate to the referee (by unfurling or
unclipping their flags) that the requirements for starting play are met at their respective ends of the
field: the correct number of players, a properly uniformed goalkeeper, and the absence of any outside
agent. Calling out to captains or goalkeepers to see if they are "ready" is never necessary or
recommended even if the referee is acting alone or with only club linesman.
The referee's whistle to start the second half is a tacit acknowledgment that the persons on the field are
players and the persons wearing a goalkeeper jersey are the goalkeepers-so long as the persons
themselves are not illegal and the team is fielding the proper number of players. If a substitution has
occurred and/or a goalkeeper has been swapped during the halftime interval without the referee being
properly notified, the penalties specified in Law 3 must be applied. However, in youth play where the
substitution or goalkeeper switching process is less formal, the intelligent referee will recognize that the
offense is usually trifling and will allow play to continue with perhaps only a word of warning to the
players involved.
Where a player and the goalkeeper have changed places illegally and the player is now in possession of
the distinctive goalkeeper jersey, that player has become the goalkeeper for the purpose of exercising
the unique power of the goalkeeper to handle the ball within his own penalty area.
8.4 INADVERTENT WHISTLE
If the referee mistakenly blows the whistle to stop play, the proper restart is a dropped ball at the place
where the ball was when the whistle was blown*.
8.5 DROPPED BALL
There is no requirement that players from both teams — or that any player — must take part at a
dropped ball.
A dropped ball must be "dropped," not thrown down. The referee should hold the ball in the palm of
the hand at waist level with the other hand on top of the ball. At the proper moment, the referee should
then pull away the hand beneath the ball and let it drop, taking care that the players do not play it until it
has hit the ground. If the dropped ball leaves the field without having been played, the ball must be
dropped again where it was previously dropped. The goalkeeper may participate at dropped balls.
If the referee stops play because two players have simultaneously committed fouls against each other,
the correct restart in this limited and rare event should be a dropped ball where the ball was when play
was stopped*.
Referees should take care not to use this option as a means of avoiding a difficult but necessary
decision as to which player committed an offense first and which player retaliated. The referee must
not use the dropped ball to restart play as a crutch in those cases where there is some question about the
correct restart. The referee must make a decision and announce it firmly. See Advice 9.3.
Law 9 - The Ball In and Out of Play
9.1 BALL OUT OF PLAY
The ball is out of play when it has completely crossed the goal line or touch line, or when the referee
has stopped play. The commission of a "supposed infringement" does not stop play; play can be
stopped for any infringement only by the referee's whistle.
However, while it is the signal of the referee that announces a decision, play is considered to have
stopped when the decision is made, not when the decision is announced. Thus, no act can be
considered a foul if it occurs after the referee has decided to stop play (or after the ball has left the
field) but before the signal has actually been given. The referee is the sole judge of when he or she has
decided to stop play. If the referee is acting on a signal from an assistant referee, the stoppage is
considered to have occurred at the time of the assistant referee's signal.
9.2 PLAY THE REFEREE'S WHISTLE
If a whistle is heard as a result of spectator action or of activity on a nearby field and if a player,
thinking that play had been stopped by the referee, then illegally handles the ball, the referee should
treat this as outside interference and restart with a dropped ball. The referee must nonetheless be aware
of the possibility that a player has committed unsporting behavior (pretending unawareness that it was
not the referee’s whistle) and must be prepared to deal properly with this misconduct.
9.3 SIMULTANEOUS TOUCHES
The referee should promptly signal a clear decision on the direction for the restart when the ball
appears to have gone off the field from "simultaneous" touches by members of both teams. Under the
Laws of the Game, it is not permissible to give a dropped ball restart in situations where the referee
cannot decide which team has possession. The players quickly identify referee indecision, and will use
it to their advantage.
9.4 ILLUSTRATIONS OF BALL IN AND OUT OF PLAY
Ball in play
Ball in play
Ball rebounding from
corner flagpost, goal
post, or crossbar into
field of play is in play
Ball in play
Ball out of play
Law 10 - The Method of Scoring
10.1 ONLY GOALS SCORED DURING PLAY ARE VALID
Only goals scored during playing time are valid. Balls that enter the goal after time has expired—in
other words, after the referee has decided that the game has ended—cannot be scored as goals.
10.2 SIGNALING A GOAL
Law 10 defines the only method by which a goal can be scored. Referees should signal a goal only
when it is absolutely clear that the ball has wholly crossed the goal line, beneath the crossbar and
between the goal posts. If a referee signals a goal before the ball has wholly crossed the goal line, the
goal is not valid. The game must then be restarted with a dropped ball*.
10.3 STOPPING PLAY BEFORE A POSSIBLE GOAL
If a referee whistles for an infringement of the Laws and then the ball wholly crosses the goal line,
beneath the crossbar and between the goal posts, the goal is not valid. The game must be restarted in
accordance with the nature of the infringement*.
10.4 FOULS COMMITTED WHILE A GOAL IS SCORED
If a defender infringes Law 12 in an attempt to prevent a goal but the ball continues into the goal and
the referee has not signaled to stop play, the goal is valid and the player may be cautioned or sent off,
depending on the nature of the misconduct. It would be improper under these circumstances to base the
send-off on preventing a goal or denying a goalscoring opportunity, because a goal was actually scored.
If the attacking team infringes the Laws of the Game before scoring a goal, then the goal is not valid.
For dealing with obvious goalscoring opportunities, see Advice 12.37-12.38.
10.5 GOAL SCORED OFF AN OFFICIAL
If the ball accidentally hits the referee or an assistant referee on the field of play and rebounds into
goal, the referee must award the goal. To avoid being touched by the ball or interfering with play,
assistant referees should remain off the field of play as much as possible and referees should avoid the
immediate area where players are contesting for the ball.
10.6 OWN GOAL
An "own goal" scored by a team against itself is valid and is given to the opposing team. However, a
team cannot score against itself directly from any restart which it has performed and from which the
ball has properly been put into play. In such a case, the restart is a corner kick (the ball has left the
field across the goal line, not counted as a goal, last touched/played by a defender).
10.7 OUTSIDE INTERFERENCE AND RESTART
If a spectator or other outside agent enters the field when the ball is going into goal and tries to prevent
a score before the ball passes wholly over the goal line, a goal shall be allowed if the ball goes into
goal, unless the spectator or outside agent has made contact with the ball or has interfered with play. If
such contact occurs, the referee shall stop the game and restart it by dropping the ball at the place
where the contact or other interference took place*. A goal may not be allowed based on where the
ball might have gone in the absence of such contact or interference. See Advice 14.7 for a different
approach to handling burst ball and outside interference situations at the taking of a penalty kick.
Note: If a team official of the attacking team is on the field when that team scores a goal, the goal must
be disallowed.
10.8 TIED SCORE
A game may end with the score tied unless the rules of the competition state otherwise. However, only
certain tie-breaking procedures are allowed by the Laws of the Game—away goals, two full equal
periods of additional play and/or kicks from the penalty mark.
10.9 ILLUSTRATION OF GOAL OR NO GOAL
Law 11 - Offside
11.1 OFFSIDE POSITION
An offside position exists when a player is in the opponents' half of the field, nearer the opponents’
goal line than the next-to-last opponent, and is ahead of the ball.
Measure relative position by players' torsos, heads, and legs. No part of the attacking player other than
the arms may be nearer the opponents' goal line than the torso, head or legs of the second-last defender.
It is not necessary to "see daylight" between them for one to be considered nearer than the other. A
player cannot be considered to be in an offside position under any circumstances when it is this player
who last played the ball.
Here are two examples:
11.2 JUDGMENT OF OFFSIDE POSITION
Any time the ball is touched/played by a player, the referee and lead assistant referee must determine if
any teammate of that player is in an offside position. If so, they must then follow that teammate's
activities to judge if he or she becomes actively involved in play. The need to keep track of the
activities of a player in an offside position continues from when the ball was touched by the player's
teammate until some action on the field cancels the player's offside position status (see Advice11.14).
It is not an offense to be in an offside position; it is an offense to interfere with play or with an
opponent or to gain an advantage when in such a position. In such cases the referee is the sole judge
and makes the final decision accordingly.
11.3 ACTIVE INVOLVEMENT
A player becomes "actively involved" in the play only when he or she is in the "area of active play."
This area shifts, widens, narrows, lengthens, or shortens, according to where the ball is going and who
is "involved." Involvement includes attempting to play the ball or preventing others from having a fair
play at the ball. Active involvement can occur without the ball being directly nearby. There are three
elements in "active involvement." They are "interfering with an opponent," "interfering with play," and
"gaining an advantage."
Active involvement may begin at any moment during the sequence of play. Here is a series of pictures
showing how a player (A1) could be penalized for being offside, depending upon how the action
unfolds.
In the first diagram, A moves toward the opponents' goal while player A1 looks on. When A shoots and
the ball rebounds from the goalkeeper to A1 (second diagram), the subsequent goal attempt by A1 must
be disallowed if A1, who was in an offside position when the ball was last played by A, became
involved in active play and gained an advantage by making contact with the ball. The offside position
was noted when A shot the ball, but the offside infringement did not occur until the ball rebounded
from the goalkeeper and A1 clearly made contact with the ball. (The indirect free kick* would be
awarded where A1 was when the teammate shot at goal, just outside the goal area.) However, if A
shoots for goal and scores (third diagram), the goal must be allowed. Although A1 is in an offside
position, he or she is not involved in active play.
11.4 INTERFERING WITH AN OPPONENT
"Interfering with an opponent" means preventing an opponent from playing or being able to play the
ball by clearly obstructing the opponent's line of vision or movements or making a gesture or movement
which, in the opinion of the referee, deceives or distracts an opponent. Interference can also include
active physical or verbal distraction of the goalkeeper by an opponent as well as blocking the view of
the goalkeeper.
A player who is in an offside position when the ball is played toward him by a teammate and who, in
the opinion of the referee, attracts the attention of an opponent, drawing that opponent into pursuit, is
guilty of interfering with an opponent.
Referees are reminded that the reference to “playing or touching the ball” (see Advice 11.5) does not
mean that an offside infringement cannot be called until an attacker in an offside position actually
touches the ball. Please note: Here and elsewhere in the guidance for offside, "play," "touch," and
"make contact with" are used interchangeably (as they are in the Laws of the Game and its
Instructions). However, these terms are interchangeable only for the attackers. For the defenders,
merely touching the ball is not sufficient in the context of an offside decision — they must actually play
(possess and control) the ball, meaning that for them there is indeed a meaningful distinction between
"touch" and "play."
“Touching the ball” is not a requirement for calling an offside infringement if the attacker is interfering
with an opponent by making a movement or gesture which, in the opinion of the referee, deceives or
distracts that opponent.
According to the IFAB Circular of August 17, 2005: "A player in an offside position may be penalized
before playing or touching the ball if, in the opinion of the referee, no other teammate in an onside
position has the opportunity to play the ball.” Further, “If an opponent becomes involved in the play
and if, in the opinion of the referee, there is potential for physical contact, the player in the offside
position shall be penalized for interfering with an opponent.” In addition, referees must remember that
the indirect free kick restart for an offside offense is taken “from the initial place where the player was
judged to be in an offside position.”
11.5 INTERFERING WITH PLAY
"Interfering with play" means playing or touching the ball passed or touched by a teammate.
• A player can be considered playing the ball even without touching it if, in the opinion of the referee or
assistant referee, that player is making an active play for the ball and is likely to touch it. If contact is
likely, the offense (offside) can be called when the official makes that determination, even if there is no
contact with the ball. This decision would require no onside attacker in the vicinity who could play the
ball.
• Because an attacker could decide not to play a ball passed in his direction, it is important to note that
"interfering with play" must involve actual or likely contact with the ball — with the exception noted
above. Likewise, because an attacker running from an offside position toward a ball played into space
by a teammate could decide at any moment to stop or swerve away and thus avoid contact with the ball,
the mere movement of the attacker toward the ball cannot constitute "interfering with play."
An attacker in an offside position is not considered to be interfering with play (and, therefore, is not
judged offside) if, in the opinion of the referee, another attacker starting from an onside position will
clearly make first contact with the ball. In this situation, officials must refrain from calling an offside
offense until they make this determination.
However, if in the process of playing the ball an attacker in an offside position makes a gesture or
movement which deceives or distracts an opponent, then the offside offense must be called
immediately, even if there is no touch on the ball. Note that in this situation the basis for judging offside
would be "interfering with an opponent" rather than "interfering with play." Mere presence in the
general proximity of an opponent should not be considered a distraction for that opponent.
The referee should only decide that a player is interfering with play or with an opponent if in the
opinion of the referee, not in the opinion of the opponents, that player truly interferes with play or with
an opponent in the area of active play. If so, then the player should be called offside.
Finally, note that a player in an offside position is not interfering with play if that player moves to avoid
making contact with the ball or chooses to cease moving toward the ball before making actual contact.
11.6 GAINING AN ADVANTAGE
"Gaining an advantage by being in an offside position" means playing a ball that rebounds to the player
off a post or crossbar or playing a ball that rebounds to him off an opponent having been in an offside
position. It also means being near enough to the play to capitalize immediately on a defender’s
mistake, having gained the advantage solely by being in the offside position. It is most often seen in
situations where the ball rebounds from the crossbar, goalposts, or ‘keeper (whose contact with the ball
is not controlled).
11.7 MAKING THE OFFSIDE DECISION
The assistant referee must not signal simply because a player is in an offside position, but must look for
active involvement. In other words, the assistant referee must “wait and see.” Furthermore, if an
assistant referee is in any doubt as to whether a player is in an offside position or if a player in an
offside position is actively involved in play, the assistant referee must decide in favor of the attacker
and refrain from signaling offside. To phrase it slightly differently: When in doubt, keep the flag down
and give the benefit of that doubt to the attacker. The referee, too, must be certain that there is active
involvement before deciding for offside.
NOTE: The Law does not allow a player to be declared offside for simply being in an offside position;
being "offside" means that the player has been actively involved in the play — see Advice 11.3-11.6.
See also the decision diagram at 11.16.
11.8 LEAVING THE FIELD TO AVOID OFFSIDE
If a player on the attacking side moves a little way beyond the boundary of the field of play to clearly
show the referee that he or she is not interfering with play, this does not infringe the Laws; however, the
player needs to ask for the referee's permission to reenter the field of play. If the referee considers that
such a movement has a tactical aim or is in any way a feint, and the player takes part in the game
immediately after, the referee may deem this conduct to be unsporting behavior and issue a caution
(yellow card). Play should be restarted in accordance with the Laws of the Game.
11.9 RETURNING TO THE FIELD TO PLAY THE BALL
If an attacking player passes beyond the boundary line for a moment in order to avoid an offside, but
then re-enters the field of play and joins in the game and plays the ball that has been passed by a
teammate, that player should be penalized for offside. The momentary departure from the field of play
is not considered as leaving the field without the referee's permission and does not warrant a caution.
However, if the referee considers that the player has left the field for tactical reasons and has gained an
unfair advantage by returning to the field of play, the player should be cautioned for unsporting
behavior. The player needs to ask for the referee's permission to re-enter the field of play.
11.10 PUTTING AN OPPONENT IN AN OFFSIDE POSITION UNFAIRLY
If a defending player moves beyond his or her own goal line or across a touch line to place an opponent
in an offside position, the referee should not stop play immediately to caution the defending player, but
should allow play to continue. The attacker should not be punished for the position in which he or she
has been unfairly placed; however, the referee should caution the defending player at the next stoppage
of play for leaving the field of play without the referee’s permission.
11.11 DEFENDER LEGALLY OFF THE FIELD OF PLAY
A defender who leaves the field during the course of play and does not immediately return must still be
considered in determining where the second to last defender is for the purpose of judging which
attackers are in an offside position. Such a defender is considered to be on the touchline or goal line at
the point closest to where the defender left the field. A defender who leaves the field with the referee's
permission or at the referee’s direction (and who thus requires the referee's permission to return) is not
included in determining offside position.
11.12 OPPOSING ATTACKER ENTERS THE GOAL
If a forward in an offside position enters the goal (see illustration below) and a teammate kicks the ball
into the goal, the goal is valid and the forward should not be punished if the forward remains stationary
as the ball enters the goal and does not interfere with the opponents. If the forward moves or shouts as
the ball enters the goal, and the referee believes this interference contributed to the scoring of the goal,
the goal would not be valid. In this case, the forward would be punished for unsporting behavior, not
for offside, and the restart would be a dropped ball,* as the forward was off the field of play.
11.13 LOCATION OF THE RESTART FOR OFFSIDE
Offside is punished where the infringement occurred. In other words, the indirect free kick should be
taken from the place where the offside player was when the teammate played the ball. The kick should
not be taken from the place where the second last defender was nor where the player was at the
moment the offside was called. If the player being penalized for offside was legally off the field when
the teammate last played the ball, the restart will be taken from the point on the touch line where the
player re-entered the field.
11.14 BECOMING "ONSIDE"
The possibility of penalizing a player for being in an offside position must be re-evaluated whenever:
1. The ball is again touched or played by a teammate,
2. The ball is played (possessed and controlled, not simply deflected, miskicked or misdirected) by an
opponent, including the opposing goalkeeper, or
3. The ball goes out of play.
The result of such a re-evaluation, of course, may be that the player remains in an offside position based
on still being beyond the second last defender, the ball, and the midfield line. Referees must remember
that a player cannot simply run to an onside position and become involved in play. The player's
position with relation to the ball and the opponents must change in accordance with the Law.
In the case of the ball leaving the field in favor of the team whose player was in an offside position and
actively involved in play (e.g., a corner kick or throw-in for the attackers), it is traditional to call the
original offside offense. If the restart would be in favor of the opposing team (e.g., a goal kick or
throw-in for the defenders), it is usually preferable to ignore the offside infringement, as the defending
team's restart gives them the possession under circumstances not much different than the indirect free
kick for offside—and often with less controversy.
11.15 ILLUSTRATIONS OF "NO OFFSIDE VIOLATION"
These pictures illustrate three situations where there can be no offside. In the first, the player realizes
he or she is an offside position; the player does not want to interfere with the opponents or with play, so
the player stands still. This action is correct and should not be penalized. The second and third
pictures illustrate that a player cannot be declared offside if the player receives the ball directly from a
corner kick or a throw in. Note that this exemption applies only to the first player to receive the ball;
any subsequent play of the ball to a teammate could result in an offside decision by the referee.
11.16 DIAGRAM FOR OFFSIDE DECISIONS
Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct
Part A. Fouls
12.1 WHAT IS A FOUL?
A foul is an unfair or unsafe action committed (1) by a player, (2) against an opponent or the opposing
team, (3) on the field of play, (4) while the ball is in play. Deliberate handling of the ball is committed
against the opposing team, not against a particular opponent. If any of these four requirements is not
met, the action is not a foul; however, the action can still be misconduct.
Except for a handling offense, it is not necessary for the player’s action to be considered “deliberate” in
the sense that the player intentionally set out to kick, push, trip, hold or otherwise foul the opponent. If
that were so, the referee would have to be capable of reading a player's mind. Under Law 12, the
referee makes a decision based upon what he or she sees a player actually do—the result of the
player’s action—not upon what might be in the player's mind.
12.2 THE DIRECT FREE KICK FOULS
Ten offenses are described in Law 12 for which, if play is stopped as a result, the restart is a direct free
kick (or a penalty kick if committed by a team within its own penalty area). These offenses are referred
to as direct free kick fouls. They are divided into two groups:
1. Seven actions (kick, trip, jump at, charge, strike, push, or tackle, including the attempt to kick, trip,
or strike) for which the referee must evaluate how the act was committed; and
2. Three actions (holding, spitting, deliberately handling the ball) for which the referee need only
decide if the act occurred.
Referees should not punish actions that are accidental or inadvertent. In the case of the first group, the
action becomes an offense only if the referee decides that it was committed carelessly, recklessly, or
with excessive force. In the case of the second group, the action alone is an offense, no matter how it
was committed.
12.3 CARELESS, RECKLESS, INVOLVING EXCESSIVE FORCE
"Careless" indicates that the player has not exercised due caution in making a play.
"Reckless" means that the player has made unnatural movements designed to intimidate an opponent
or to gain an unfair advantage.
"Involving excessive force" means that the player has far exceeded the use of force necessary to make a
fair play for the ball and has placed the opponent in considerable danger of bodily harm.
If the foul was careless, simply a miscalculation of strength or a stretch of judgment by the player who
committed it, then it is a normal foul, requiring only a direct free kick (and possibly a stern talking-to).
If the foul was reckless, clearly outside the norm for fair play, then the referee must award the direct
free kick and also caution the player for unsporting behavior, showing the yellow card. If the foul
involved the use of excessive force, totally beyond the bounds of normal play, then the referee must
send off the player for serious foul play or violent conduct, show the red card, and award the direct free
kick to the opposing team.
12.4 TRIPPING
Tripping or attempting to trip an opponent includes those situations in which the player moves under
the opponent and uses the body to upset or upend the opponent. This is also known as "bridging."
Referees must carefully distinguish an act of tripping from the fact of being tripped. Tripping or
attempting to trip is an offense if it is clearly directed at an opponent and causes the opponent to falter
or fall. Players, however, may trip over or fall over an opponent as a result of natural play and no
infringement of the Law has been committed.
12.5 CHARGING
The act of charging an opponent can be performed without it being called as a foul. Although the fair
charge is commonly defined as "shoulder to shoulder" and without the use of arms or elbows, this is
not a requirement and, at certain age levels where heights may vary greatly, may not even be possible.
Furthermore, under many circumstances, a charge may often result in the player against whom it is
placed falling to the ground (a consequence, as before, of players differing in weight or strength). The
Law does require that the charge be directed toward the area of the shoulder and not toward the center
of the opponent's back (the spinal area): in such a case, the referee should recognize that such a charge
is at minimum reckless and potentially even violent. (See also Advice 12.14.)
It is not a violation of Law 12 for two players to charge the same opponent simultaneously, provided
that each charge considered individually is conducted fairly and legally.
12.6 STRIKING
Striking can be performed by direct contact using hands, arms, elbows, head, or knees, or by throwing
any object (including the ball). Striking as a foul occurs where contact is made with the opponent or
where contact would have been made if the attempt to strike is unsuccessful. It is this location that
determines the correct restart (direct free kick, penalty kick, indirect free kick, or dropped ball).
A player inside his or her own penalty area who reaches outside the area to strike an opponent or who
throws an object other than the ball at an opponent who is located outside the penalty area has
committed this offense at the location of the opponent. The restart would be a direct free kick if the
striking occurred during play and both persons were on the field. If the opponent who was the target of
the striking action had been inside the penalty area of the player doing the striking, the restart would be
a penalty kick even if the player doing the striking had been outside the penalty area.
If the player’s action was not a foul—because the target of the striking was off the field at the time or
the target of the action was not an opponent—the misconduct (violent conduct) would be punished by
an indirect free kick* where the player committing the striking was located.
If play is stopped because a substitute or substituted player throws an object at a player or an official on
the field, the restart (after dealing with the instigator) is an indirect free kick where the ball was when
play was stopped*. If play is stopped because a team official, spectator or other outside agent throws
an object at a player or an official on the field, the restart is a dropped ball where the ball was located
when play was stopped * after the instigator has been removed. However, if the thrower in these
circumstances was a player temporarily off the field for any reason, the restart (after sending off the
player for violent conduct) is an indirect free kick where the ball was when play was stopped* if the
target of the thrown object was a teammate, a direct free kick where the target was* when play was
stopped if the target was an opponent, or a penalty kick if the target was an opponent inside the
thrower's own penalty area.
Striking using the ball as a thrown object presents the special issue of illegal handling if it is performed
by a player other than the goalkeeper or by a goalkeeper outside his or her own penalty area. In this
case, the illegal handling occurs first and the striking can only be considered misconduct, not a foul,
since it occurred after play stopped. The handling offense determines the restart after the referee has
dealt properly with the misconduct.
If any of these actions occurred during a stoppage of play, the restart is unchanged and is based on what
caused play to be stopped in the first place.
Striking (as with kicking and spitting) suggests the use of some degree of force and should normally be
considered misconduct (violent conduct or serious foul play – see Advice Part C of Law 12) of the
gravest sort requiring a send-off and display of the red card. Only in the case of attempting to strike in
which there is no contact should even the possibility of a caution be considered.
If a player taking a throw-in throws the ball at an opponent, follow the procedure outlined in 15.8.
When dealing with aerial challenges, the referee must pay strict attention to challenges above the
shoulder. Consider the following chart in evaluating such challenges, differentiating between the use of
the elbow as a “tool” or a “weapon.” (Full details may be found in the USSF 2009 Referee Program
Directive on Contact Above the Shoulder or subsequent updates.) The chart notes what to observe in
the case of the elbow used as a tool (consider a foul or caution/yellow card if contact is made) or a
weapon (a red card is mandated).
12.7 TACKLING
The referee must judge whether the tackle of an opponent is fair or whether it is careless, reckless, or
involves the use of excessive force. Making contact with the opponent before the ball when making a
tackle is unfair and should be penalized. However, the fact that contact with the ball was made first
does not automatically mean that the tackle is fair. The declaration by a player that he or she has "got
the ball first" is irrelevant if, while tackling for the ball, the player carelessly, recklessly, or with
excessive force commits any of the prohibited actions.
A foul committed while tackling an opponent with little or no concern for the safety of the opponent
shall be cause for the player to be sent from the field and shown the red card for serious foul play.
12.8 HOLDING
Holding an opponent includes the act of stretching the arms out to prevent an opponent from moving
past or around. A player who blatantly holds onto or pulls an opponent or an opponent's clothing to
play the ball, to gain possession of the ball, or to prevent an opponent from playing the ball should be
cautioned and shown the yellow card for unsporting behavior. (See also Advice 12.14.) For
information on “continuous” fouls or “fouls in motion,” see Advice 19.7
12.9 DELIBERATE HANDLING
The offense known as "handling the ball" involves deliberate contact with the ball by a player's hand or
arm (including fingertips, upper arm, or outer shoulder). "Deliberate contact" means that the player
could have avoided the touch but chose not to, that the player's arms were not in a normal playing
position at the time, or that the player deliberately continued an initially accidental contact for the
purpose of gaining an unfair advantage. Moving hands or arms instinctively to protect the body when
suddenly faced with a fast approaching ball does not constitute deliberate contact unless there is
subsequent action to direct the ball once contact is made. Likewise, placing hands or arms to protect
the body at a free kick or similar restart is not likely to produce an infringement unless there is
subsequent action to direct or control the ball. The fact that a player may benefit from the ball
contacting the hand does not transform the otherwise accidental event into an infringement. A player
infringes the Law regarding handling the ball even if direct contact is avoided by holding something in
the hand (clothing, shinguard, etc.).
NOTE: In most cases in the Laws of the Game, the words "touch," "play," and "make contact with"
mean the same thing. This is not true in the case of deliberate handling, where the touch, play, or
contact by the offending player must be planned and deliberate.
12.10 RULE OF THUMB FOR "HANDLING"
The rule of thumb for referees is that it is handling if the player plays the ball, but not handling if the
ball plays the player. The referee should punish only deliberate handling of the ball, meaning only
those actions when the player (and not the goalkeeper within the ‘keeper’s own penalty area) strikes or
propels the ball with the hand or arm (shoulder to tip of fingers).
12.11 USE OF THE SHOULDER
For purposes of determining deliberate handling of the ball, the "hand" is considered to be any part of
the arm-hand from fingertip to shoulder. Using the top of the shoulder is not considered as using the
hand. (A diagram showing the area of “the hand” is shown below.)
12.12 THE INDIRECT FREE KICK FOULS
A second group of offenses is described in Law 12 for which the correct restart is an indirect free kick.
These are referred to as "indirect free kick" fouls.
12.13 PLAYING IN A DANGEROUS MANNER
Playing "in a dangerous manner" can be called only if the act, in the opinion of the referee, meets three
criteria: the action must be dangerous to someone (including the player committing the action), it was
committed with an opponent close by, and the dangerous nature of the action caused this opponent to
cease active play for the ball or to be otherwise disadvantaged by the attempt not to participate in the
dangerous play. Merely committing a dangerous act is not, by itself, an offense (e.g., kicking high
enough that the cleats show or attempting to play the ball while on the ground). Committing a
dangerous act while an opponent is nearby is not, by itself, an offense. The act becomes an offense
only when an opponent is adversely and unfairly affected, usually by the opponent ceasing to challenge
for the ball in order to avoid receiving or causing injury as a direct result of the player's act. Playing in
a manner considered to be dangerous when only a teammate is nearby is not a foul. Remember that
fouls may be committed only against opponents or the opposing team.
In judging a dangerous play offense, the referee must take into account the experience and skill level of
the players. Opponents who are experienced and skilled may be more likely to accept the danger and
play through. Younger players have neither the experience nor skill to judge the danger adequately
and, in such cases, the referee should intervene on behalf of their safety. For example, playing with
cleats up in a threatening or intimidating manner is more likely to be judged a dangerous play offense
in youth matches, without regard to the reaction of opponents.
12.14 IMPEDING AN OPPONENT
"Impeding the progress of an opponent" means moving on the field so as to obstruct, interfere with, or
block the path of an opponent. Impeding can include crossing directly in front of the opponent or
running between the opponent and the ball so as to form an obstacle with the aim of delaying progress.
There will be many occasions during a game when a player will come between an opponent and the
ball, but in the majority of such instances, this is quite natural and fair. It is often possible for a player
not playing the ball to be in the path of an opponent and still not be guilty of impeding.
The offense of impeding an opponent requires that the ball not be within playing distance and that
physical contact between the player and the opponent is normally absent. If physical contact occurs,
the referee should, depending on the circumstances, consider instead the possibility that a charging
infringement has been committed (direct free kick) or that the opponent has been fairly charged off the
ball (indirect free kick, see Advice 12.22). However, nonviolent physical contact may occur while
impeding the progress of an opponent if, in the opinion of the referee, this contact was an unavoidable
consequence of the impeding (due, for example, to momentum).
12.15 PLAYING DISTANCE
The referee’s judgment of “playing distance” should be based on the player’s ability to play the ball,
not upon any arbitrary standard.
12.16 GOALKEEPER POSSESSION OF THE BALL
The goalkeeper is considered to be in possession of the ball when the ball is held with both hands, held
by trapping the ball between one hand and any surface (e.g., the ground, a goalpost, the goalkeeper’s
body), or holding the ball in the outstretched open palm. Once established, possession is maintained
when the ball is held as described above, while bouncing the ball on the ground or throwing it into the
air. Possession is given up if, after throwing the ball into the air, it is allowed to hit the ground. For
purposes of determining goalkeeper possession, the “handling” includes contact with any part of the
goalkeeper’s arm from the fingertips to the shoulder.
While the ball is in the possession of the goalkeeper, it may not be challenged for or played by an
opponent in any manner. An opponent who attempts to challenge for a ball in the possession of the
goalkeeper may be considered to have committed a direct free kick foul. However, a ball controlled by
the goalkeeper using means other than the hands is open to legal challenge by an opponent. The referee
should consider the age and skill level of the players in evaluating goalkeeper possession and err on the
side of safety.
12.17 PREVENTING THE GOALKEEPER FROM RELEASING THE BALL INTO PLAY
An opponent may not interfere with or block the goalkeeper's release of the ball into play. While
players have a right to maintain a position achieved during the normal course of play, they may not try
to block the goalkeeper's movement while he or she is holding the ball or do anything which hinders,
interferes with, or blocks the goalkeeper who is throwing or punting the ball back into play. An
opponent does not violate the Law, however, if the player takes advantage of a ball released by the
goalkeeper directly to him or her, in his or her direction, or deflecting off him or her nonviolently.
12.18 THE "SIX-SECOND" RULE
The goalkeeper has six seconds to release the ball into play once he or she has taken possession of the
ball with the hands. However, this restriction is not intended to include time taken by the goalkeeper
while gaining control of the ball or as a natural result of momentum. The referee should not count the
seconds aloud or with hand motions. If the goalkeeper is making a reasonable effort to release the ball
into play, the referee should allow the “benefit of the doubt.” Before penalizing a goalkeeper for
violating this time limit, the referee should warn the goalkeeper about such actions and then should
penalize the violation only if the goalkeeper continues to waste time or commits a comparable
infringement again later in the match. Opposing players should not be permitted to attempt to prevent
the goalkeeper from moving to release the ball into play.
12.19 SECOND TOUCH BY THE GOALKEEPER
After relinquishing control of the ball, a goalkeeper violates Law 12 if, with no intervening touch or
play of the ball by a teammate or an opponent, he or she handles the ball a second time. This includes
play after parrying the ball. Referees should note carefully the text in the IGR, which defines "control"
and “possession” and distinguishes a “parry” from an accidental rebound or a save.
In judging a second touch with the hands by the goalkeeper, referees must take into account tactical
play which may seem unsporting but is not against the Laws of the Game or even the spirit of the game.
If a goalkeeper and a teammate play the ball back and forth between them, the goalkeeper can handle
the ball again legally so long as the teammate has not kicked the ball to the goalkeeper. However, of
course, an opponent can challenge for the ball during such a sequence of play. The players are "using"
but not "wasting" time. The referee's goal under these circumstances is to be close enough to manage
the situation if the opposing team decides to intervene.
The "second possession" foul is punished only by an indirect free kick from the place where the
goalkeeper handled the ball the second time*. Please note: A goalkeeper may never be punished with a
penalty kick for deliberately handling the ball within his or her own penalty area, even if the handling
is otherwise a violation of another restriction in Law 12.
12.20 BALL KICKED TO THE GOALKEEPER
A goalkeeper infringes Law 12 if he or she touches the ball with the hands directly after it has been
deliberately kicked to him or her by a teammate. The requirement that the ball be kicked means only
that it has been played with the foot. The requirement that the ball be "kicked to" the goalkeeper means
only that the play is to or toward a place where the ‘keeper can legally handle the ball. The
requirement that the ball be "deliberately kicked" means that the play on the ball is deliberate and does
not include situations in which the ball has been, in the opinion of the referee, accidentally deflected or
misdirected.
NOTE: (a) The goalkeeper is permitted to dribble into the penalty area and then pick up any ball
played legally (not kicked deliberately to the goalkeeper or to a place where the goalkeeper can easily
play it) by a teammate or played in any manner by an opponent. (b) Although this portion of the Law
was written to help referees cope with timewasting tactics, the central issue is unfairly withholding the
ball from challenge.
12.21 BALL THROWN TO THE GOALKEEPER
A goalkeeper infringes Law 12 by touching the ball with the hands after receiving it directly from a
throw-in taken by a teammate. The goalkeeper is considered to have received the ball directly by
playing it in any way (for example, by dribbling the ball with the feet) before touching it with the
hands. Referees should take care not to consider as trickery any sequence of play that offers a fair
chance for opponents to challenge for the ball before it is handled by the goalkeeper from a throw-in.
NOTE: The goalkeeper may always handle the ball inside his/her own penalty area unless he/she:
• Takes more than 6 seconds while controlling the ball with his/her hands before releasing it from
possession
• Regains hand control prior to a touch by another player
• Touches ball with the hands after it comes directly from a throw-in or deliberate kick to the 'keeper by
a teammate
The restart for any of these infringements is an indirect free kick*.
12.22 CHARGING AN OPPONENT AWAY FROM THE BALL
A player who charges an opponent in an otherwise legal manner (i.e., not carelessly, recklessly, or with
excessive force) but with the ball not within playing distance has infringed the Law. Such an "off the
ball" charge is considered a form of impeding the progress of an opponent (even though contact has
occurred) and is thus penalized with an indirect free kick* restart for the opposing team. If the referee
considers the charge to be careless, reckless, or involving excessive force, the restart is a direct free
kick* (or penalty kick).
12.23 CHARGING THE GOALKEEPER
Referees must carefully observe any charge against the goalkeeper and call as an infringement of Law
12 only those charges which are performed carelessly, recklessly, or with excessive force (direct free
kick), are performed in a dangerous manner (indirect free kick*), or prevent the goalkeeper from
releasing the ball from the hands (indirect free kick*). Charging the ‘keeper who is in possession of the
ball must be considered an offense because, by definition, the charge cannot be for the purpose of
challenging for control of the ball (see Advice 12.16). A goalkeeper can be otherwise legally charged if
the ball is not in the goalkeeper’s possession (see Advice 12.16) but is being played by the goalkeeper
in some other manner (e.g., dribbled at the feet, headed, etc.).
Part B. Misconduct
12.24 CATEGORIES OF MISCONDUCT
Law 12 identifies seven categories of action for which a player may be cautioned and shown the yellow
card. Another seven categories of action are identified for which a player may be sent off the field
(expelled or dismissed) and shown the red card. A player sent from the field under Law 12 may not be
replaced (i. e., the team must continue the match with one fewer player) if the send-off occurs once
play has begun. A substitute sent from the field for misconduct that occurs once play has begun also
may not be replaced, but this does not alter the number of players his team may field. See Advice 5.17
for misconduct occurring prior to the start of play.
12.25 RESTARTS FOR MISCONDUCT
a. Offenses on the field of play
If play is stopped solely to deal with misconduct committed on the field by a player, the proper restart is
an indirect free kick taken from the location of the misconduct*. If play is stopped for a foul in
addition to misconduct, the restart is determined by the foul. The restart cannot be a direct free kick
unless the reason for the stoppage included a direct free kick foul. If misconduct occurs while play is
stopped, the restart is determined by the original reason for the stoppage. See also the table at Advice
5.19
Note: The referee must use the whistle to restart in this case. There can be no quick restarts after a
caution or a send-off.
b. Offenses off the field of play
1. By players
The IFAB has set up two approaches to the situation involving a player committing an offense while off
the field. If the player has left the field in the normal course of play and, while off the field, commits an
offense — after dealing with the misconduct, play is restarted with a dropped ball where the ball was
when play was stopped* (misconduct committed by a player off the field). However, if the referee
decides that the player left the field for the purpose of committing the offense, the restart (after showing
the appropriate card) is an indirect free kick where the ball was when play was stopped*. In other
words, the IFAB has declared that a player who leaves for the purpose of committing an offense has not
left in the normal course of play. If the player is to be cautioned for illegally leaving and then cautioned
again for whatever offense he or she commits off the field, the result would be a send-off (two
cautionable offenses).
2. By substitutes or substituted players
If play is stopped solely to deal with misconduct committed off the field of play by a substitute, the
restart is a dropped ball taken from where the ball was when play was stopped*.
3. By team officials
If play is stopped for team officials who fail to conduct themselves in a responsible manner, the restart
is a dropped ball where the ball was when play was stopped*.
12.26 WHEN TO PUNISH MISCONDUCT
Law 5 empowers the referee to take “disciplinary action against players guilty of cautionable and
sending-off offenses. The referee is not obliged to take this action immediately, but must do so when
the ball next goes out of play.” If the referee has applied advantage and delayed punishment for
misconduct until the next stoppage, the referee must act quickly at the next stoppage to prevent play
from restarting so that the misconduct can be recorded and the proper card displayed. All misconduct
recognized by the referee must be dealt with according to the Law, either by stopping play or by
waiting until the next stoppage, even if this means that a restart must be delayed despite an apparent
advantage for either team. The “next stoppage” includes both instances in which the ball has left the
field and any occasion when the referee has stopped play.
If the match has ended before a caution or send-off may be given, or if misconduct occurs after the end
of the match, the referee may still display cards during the period of time immediately following the
end of play in which the players and substitutes are in the area of the field but in the process of exiting.
(See Advice 5.17.)
12.27 A PHILOSOPHY ON CAUTIONS
The Laws of the Game identify seven cautionable offenses (Law 12). These include fairly specific
actions (leaving the field without the permission of the referee), very general actions (unsporting
behavior), and highly judgmental areas (dissent). In all cases, the referee is expected to evaluate a
player’s behavior based on several primary factors:
• Does the act meet the generally accepted and understood meaning of the offense?
• Was the act, even if an offense, trifling?
• Would the issuance of a caution for this misconduct likely have desirable results for game and/or
player management?
If the player’s act meets the criteria for the offense, is not trifling, and its punishment will have a
beneficial effect, the caution should be given. Whether the referee should stop play to do so or whether
play should be allowed to continue until the next stoppage involves the application of the same
advantage concept that is used to decide whether to stop play for a foul. Whether a caution is
"mandatory" or "discretionary" is often discussed among referees, but the use of these terms tends to
obscure the primary issues central to handling misconduct and should therefore generally be avoided.
Every caution must be given for one and only one of the seven reasons listed in Law 12. Player
behavior, of course, may involve several forms of misconduct at the same time and the referee must
decide whether to caution each one separately (in which case, the second caution must also be followed
by a send-off and display of the red card) or to issue a single caution for the total behavior. If the latter
is chosen, the referee must decide which specific reason in the Law will be reported as the basis for the
caution. In either case, however, the referee should fully describe in the game report all misconduct the
player has committed in addition to the misconduct for which the caution was given.
The Laws of the Game require that the referee further decide whether the misconduct is not trifling and
that the caution will result in a desirable change in player conduct.
• The referee's judgment (discretion) is a critical element in deciding, for example, whether what a
player has just said or done is dissent within the meaning of Law 12 and guidance from USSF (see the
USSF memorandum on "Misconduct Involving Language/Gestures," dated March 14, 2003).
• If the referee decides that it is "dissent," then the offense must be considered cautionable, but this does
not mean that the yellow card must be displayed.
• The referee must then make a third decision—in this particular case involving this particular player at
this particular point in the match, based on the way the match has proceeded so far—as to whether or
not displaying the card would have a positive effect on this player's behavior and the behavior of the
other players in the game. Each caution must be approached in this way as a combination of mandatory
and discretionary elements. In no case may a caution (or send-off) be delayed beyond the next restart. It
must be given as soon as play is stopped, even if this means preventing a team from taking advantage of
a quick restart (if the kick is taken, it must be called back and not taken until the delayed card is
shown). No alteration of this procedure is permitted.
12.28 CAUTIONABLE OFFENSES
12.28.1 UNSPORTING BEHAVIOR
The following specific actions are considered cautionable as unsporting behavior. A player . . .
• Commits a direct free kick foul in a reckless manner
• Commits a direct free kick foul while tackling for the ball from behind without endangering the safety
of an opponent
• Commits a tactical foul designed to interfere with or impede an opposing team’s attacking play (e.g.,
pushing an opponent, blatantly holding an opponent or an opponent's uniform, handling the ball
deliberately)
• Commits an act which, in the opinion of the referee, shows a lack of respect for the game (e.g.,
aggressive attitude, inflammatory behavior, or taunting).
• Handles the ball deliberately to score a goal
• Fakes an injury or exaggerates the seriousness of an injury
• Fakes a foul (dives) or exaggerates the severity of a foul
• Interferes with or prevents the goalkeeper from releasing the ball from the hands into play
• When a member of the defending team verbally distracts an opponent during play or at a restart
• Unfairly distracts or impedes an opponent performing a throw-in
• Changes jerseys with the goalkeeper during play or without the referee's permission (both players
must be cautioned)
• Engages in trickery to circumvent the goalkeeper's limitation on handling the ball played from a
teammate's foot (the defender who initiates the "trickery" is cautioned, the decision does not require
that the goalkeeper actually handles the ball, and the misconduct can occur during dynamic play or at
a restart)
• Makes unauthorized marks on the field
• Uses tobacco or a cellular or other mobile phone, or other communication devices
• Engages in celebration of a goal which involves provocative, derisory or inflammatory actions, such
as removing the jersey or covering the head with the jersey or a mask
• Uses an artificial aid to unfairly assist play: For example, leaning on the shoulders of a teammate,
using an article of clothing to avoid direct contact with the ball, moving or removing the corner flag
on a corner kick, hanging on the crossbar
• A substitute or substituted player enters the field of play without the referee’s permission
• At a penalty kick, feints to kick the ball once the run-up to the ball has been completed
12.28.2 DISSENT
Dissent is committed by words, actions (including gestures), or a combination of the two. The referee
should evaluate dissent in terms of content (what exactly is said or done), loudness (the extent to which
the dissent can be seen or heard widely), and whether it is clearly directed at an official (including
assistant referees and fourth officials). The objective in dealing with dissent is to support the spirit of
the game, to maintain the authority of the officials, and to reduce the likelihood of such behavior
becoming widespread. A goalkeeper who leaves the penalty area (not beckoned by the referee) to
engage the referee or an assistant referee in debate regarding a decision has committed dissent. A
substitute or substituted player may also be cautioned for dissent.
12.28.3 PERSISTENT INFRINGEMENT
Persistent infringement occurs when a player repeatedly commits fouls or certain other infringements. It
is not necessary for the multiple fouls to be of the same type or all to be direct free kick fouls, but
infringements must be among those covered in Law 12 or involve repeated violations of Law 14. In
most cases, the referee should warn the player that the pattern has been observed and, upon a
subsequent violation, must then issue the caution. If the pattern is quickly and blatantly established,
then the warning should be omitted and the referee should take immediate action. In determining
whether there is persistent infringement, all fouls are considered, including those to which advantage
has been applied.
The referee must also recognize when a single opponent has become the target of fouls by multiple
players. As above, upon recognizing the pattern, the referee should clearly indicate that the pattern has
been observed and that further fouls against this opponent must cease. If another player commits a foul
against the targeted opponent, that player must be cautioned but, in this case, the misconduct should be
reported as unsporting behavior, as must any subsequent caution of any further foul against that same
targeted opponent. Eventually, the team will get the message.
Examples of persistent infringement include a player who:
• Violates Law 14 again, having previously been warned
• If playing as a goalkeeper, wastes time, having previously been warned or penalized for this behavior
12.28.4 DELAYS THE RESTART OF PLAY
The following are specific examples of this form of misconduct (some of which may also be committed
by substitutes or substituted players):
• Kicks or throws the ball away or holds the ball to prevent or delay a free kick, throw-in, or corner
kick restart by an opponent
• Fails to restart play after being so instructed by the referee
• Excessively celebrates a goal
• Fails to return to the field from a midgame break, fails to perform a kick-off when signaled by the
referee, or fails to be in a correct position for a kick-off
• Performing a throw-in improperly with the apparent intention of being required to perform the throwin again, thus wasting time
• Unnecessarily moving a ball which has already been properly placed on the ground for a goal kick
• Provokes a confrontation by deliberately touching the ball after the referee has stopped play
12.28.5 FAILS TO RESPECT THE REQUIRED DISTANCE
This category of misconduct covers the requirement to be at least ten yards away from an opponent's
free kick or corner kick and to be at least two yards away from the location of the opponents’ throw-in.
12.28.6 ENTERS OR RE-ENTERS THE FIELD OF PLAY WITHOUT THE REFEREE'S
PERMISSION
Players who leave the field with the referee's permission also require the referee's permission to return
to the field. (This permission may not be delegated. See Advice 3.2, 4.6, 5.8, 5.9.) Examples of this
include a player who attempts to come onto the field:
• After being instructed to leave the field to correct equipment
• After leaving to receive treatment for an injury
• After leaving to receive treatment for bleeding or to replace a blood-soaked uniform
A player who requires the referee's permission to return to the field but enters/re-enters illegally is
cautioned for entering/re-entering the field without the referee's permission.
Note: If the referee cautions a substitute or substituted player who enters the field illegally, that caution
— for a substitute or substituted player — must, under the Interpretations of the Laws of the Game and
Guidelines for Referees and under Law 3, be for unsporting behavior.
12.28.7 DELIBERATELY LEAVES THE FIELD OF PLAY WITHOUT PERMISSION
Players who leave the field without the referee's permission most often do so for unsporting reasons—
for example, to create an unfair offside situation (see Advice 11.10). They may also leave the field to
indicate dissent or to "manage" the referee's next decision.
If a player does leave the field for some other reason without the referee’s permission to do so, and this
results in gaining a tactical advantage for his or her team, the player has committed misconduct and
must be cautioned and shown the yellow card.
Where it is apparent to the referee that the player leaving the field without permission has not done so
to express dissent or to gain an unfair advantage (e.g., exited to change shoes or replace a torn jersey)
and has merely forgotten to obtain permission (or thought he or she had obtained it), the referee should
consider this a trifling breach of the Laws. A word/warning to the player should be sufficient in such
circumstances, even if that player then re-enters the field without obtaining the referee's permission.
Leaving the field in the course of play (Advice 3.9) is not considered to be leaving the field of play
without the referee's permission.
12.28.8 MISCONDUCT BY A SUBSTITUTE
Substitutes may be cautioned and shown the yellow card only for:
• Unsporting behavior
• Dissent
• Delaying the restart of play
If a substitute enters the field of play illegally, the caution must be for unsporting behavior. In general
referees should implement these reasons for cautioning a substitute the same way they would interpret
them if a player had committed the misconduct. This is particularly the case with dissent.
12.28.9 PROVOKING CONFRONTATION BY TOUCHING THE BALL
Referees should take all appropriate actions to prevent this tactic from being attempted in the first place.
It is often possible to anticipate such player behavior and to stop its occurrence with a well-placed word
or gesture.
Further, the specific situations which are of concern are those in which a player is seeking to gain
control of a ball when one or more opponents, who have the restart, are also attempting to possess the
ball—thus "provoking a confrontation" which is the focus of the offense. Merely touching the ball after
a stoppage is not an offense. The caution (for delaying the restart of play) should be reserved for those
situations where a confrontation is actually provoked or is imminent or when a player persists in this
behavior despite the referee's best efforts to prevent it.
12.29 SENDING-OFF OFFENSES
A player who commits serious foul play, violent conduct, a deliberate handling of the ball which denies
a goal or an obvious goalscoring opportunity, or an offense which denies an obvious goalscoring
opportunity must be sent from the field. These categories of misconduct are discussed in more detail in
Sections C and D below. A player who commits any of the following actions will also be sent from the
field:
• Spits at an opponent or any other person
• Uses offensive, insulting, or abusive language (including nonverbal language or actions)
• Receives a second caution in the same match
A substitute who commits any of these offenses except for serious foul play will also be sent from the
field. If the misconduct by a substitute involves violence—no matter how, when, against whom, or
where it was committed, the match report should indicate that the red card was shown for violent
conduct.
12.30 HOW TO ADMINISTER THE SEND-OFF FOR A SECOND CAUTION
A player (or substitute) who receives a second caution must first be shown the yellow card for the
second caution and then must be shown the red card for the sending-off offense. The second caution
leading to dismissal from the field can occur at any time during the match (including the half time
interval, additional periods of play, and kicks from the penalty mark). The accepted procedure is to
display the cards in sequence, not at the same time.
12.31 EVALUATING LANGUAGE
The referee should judge offensive, insulting, or abusive language according to its content (the specific
words or actions used), the extent to which the language can be heard by others beyond the immediate
vicinity of the player, and whether the language is directed at officials, opponents, or teammates. In
other words, the referee must watch for language that is Personal, Public, or Provocative. In evaluating
language as misconduct, the referee must take into account the particular circumstances in which the
actions occurred and deal reasonably with language that was clearly the result of a momentary
emotional outburst.
Referees must take care not to inject purely personal opinions as to the nature of the language when
determining a course of action. The referee's primary focus must be on the effective management of
the match and the players in the context of the overall feel for the Spirit of the Game.
12.32 SEQUENTIAL INFRINGEMENTS OF THE LAW
If the referee has decided to stop play for an infringement of the Law (foul, misconduct, offside, or
other reason) and another infringement of the Law occurs between the making of this decision and the
actual whistle to stop play, this subsequent violation must be treated as misconduct and handled
appropriately.
Part C. Serious Foul Play and Violent Conduct
Soccer is a tough, combative, contact sport where the contest to gain possession of the ball should
nonetheless be fair and sporting. Serious Foul Play and the related offense of Violent Conduct are
strictly forbidden. They violate the Spirit of the Game and the referee must respond to them by
stringently applying the Laws of the Game: The punishment is sending-off the offending player (or
substitute in the case of Violent Conduct).
Referees must be particularly vigilant regarding offenses which are too severe for a caution and which
include one or more of the following additional elements:
• Retaliation
• Tackling from behind during which a foul is committed
• One or both feet, with cleats showing, above the ground
• Violent or excessive force
• No chance of playing the ball
Such offenses are completely unacceptable to the Spirit of the Game, the enjoyment of spectators, the
education of youth players, and the safety of the players themselves. All violations of the Law which
meet these criteria must be called (stopping play or applying advantage) and the appropriate further
punishment for misconduct must be administered.
When misconduct includes violent behavior, advantage should be used very sparingly, as it is normally
better to deal with such behavior quickly, regardless of the impact of stopping play, in an effort to
prevent any widening of the conflict through retaliation or opponents seeking justice which they might
perceive was being denied by allowing play to continue.
12.33 SERIOUS FOUL PLAY
It is serious foul play when a player uses violence (excessive force; formerly defined as
"disproportionate and unnecessary strength") when challenging for the ball on the field against an
opponent. There can be no serious foul play against a teammate, the referee, an assistant referee, a
spectator, etc. The use of violence or excessive force against an opponent under any other conditions
must be punished as violent conduct.
It is also serious foul play if a player commits any tackle which endangers the safety of an opponent. In
this case, the tackle may be from behind, from the side, or from the front.
This does not include serious misconduct by substitutes, who should be punished for violent conduct if
they commit an act as described in the first paragraph of this section. (See Advice 12.34.)
12.34 VIOLENT CONDUCT
It is violent conduct when a player (or substitute) is guilty of aggression towards an opponent (when
they are not contesting for the ball) or towards any other person (a teammate, the referee, an assistant
referee, a spectator, etc.). The ball can be in or out of play. The aggression can occur either on or off
the field of play.
A player is unlikely to be “contesting for the ball” if the player’s action against the opponent occurs
from behind and with the ball on the opposite side of the opponent or with the ball beyond playing
distance.
12.35 RESTARTS FOR VIOLENT CONDUCT
The restart for serious foul play is either a direct free kick or a penalty kick. Restarts are more
complicated for violent conduct (or other misconduct). This chart illustrates the restarts appropriate to
incidents of violent conduct:
Part D. Denying an Obvious Goalscoring Opportunity
12.36 DENYING A GOAL OR AN OBVIOUS GOALSCORING OPPORTUNITY
There are two sending-off offenses that deal with denying an opponent a goal or an obvious
goalscoring opportunity. These occur in cases where a player (or substitute): (a) denies the opposing
team a goal or an obvious goalscoring opportunity by deliberately handling the ball (this does not apply
to a goalkeeper within his or her own penalty area) or (b) denies an obvious goalscoring opportunity to
an opponent moving towards the player's goal by an offense punishable by a free kick or a penalty kick.
This would apply to any player other than the goalkeeper in his or her own penalty area who handles a
ball to prevent it from entering the goal, whether the ball was last played by the opposing team or not.
When a goal cannot be scored directly from the restart, any player or goalkeeper action that illegally
and unsuccessfully attempts to prevent the ball from entering the goal cannot be considered a sendingoff offense under this section. Thus, a goalkeeper who handles a ball from a throw-in by a teammate
but the ball continues into the goalkeeper's goal is not guilty of denying a goal by handling even if the
handling occurs outside the goalkeeper's penalty area (the goalkeeper in such a case is, of course, still
guilty of a handling offense).
12.37 JUDGING AN OBVIOUS GOALSCORING OPPORTUNITY
(a) Denying the opposing team a goal or an obvious goalscoring opportunity by deliberately handling
the ball.
The send-off offense for deliberate handling, number 4 under the seven send-off offenses, "denies the
opposing team a goal or an obvious goalscoring opportunity by deliberately handling the ball (this does
not apply to a goalkeeper within his own penalty area)," does not require any particular alignment of
players for either team, but simply the occurrence of the offense under circumstances in which, in the
opinion of the referee, the ball would likely have gone directly into the goal but for the handling.
Denying a goal or an obvious goalscoring opportunity by deliberately handling the ball would apply to
any player (or substitute) other than the goalkeeper in his or her own penalty area who handles a ball to
prevent it from entering the goal, even if the ball was last played by a member of the defending team.
A red card for denying a goal by handling cannot be given if the attempt is unsuccessful; in other
words, if the ball goes into the goal despite the illegal contact. However, the referee should caution the
player for unsporting behavior before restarting with the kick-off.
The referee must remember that many fouls, including deliberately handling the ball, occur in the
penalty area and could result in a penalty kick but not a sending-off.
(b) Denying an obvious goalscoring opportunity by an offense punishable by a free kick or a penalty
kick.
In order for a player or substitute to be sent off for denying an "obvious goalscoring opportunity by an
offense punishable by a free kick or a penalty kick" (number 5 under the seven send-off offenses), four
elements must be present:
• Number of Defenders—not more than one defender between the foul and the goal, not counting the
defender who committed the foul
• Distance to goal—the closer the foul is to the goal, the more likely it is an obvious goalscoring
opportunity
• Distance to ball—the attacker must have been close enough to the ball at the time of the foul to
continue playing the ball
• Direction of play—the attacker must have been moving toward the goal at the time the foul was
committed
If any element is missing, there can be no send off for denying an obvious goalscoring opportunity.
Further, the presence of each of these elements must be "obvious" in order for the send-off to be
appropriate under this provision of Law 12.
If what a player or substitute does is both denying a goal or an obvious goalscoring opportunity and a
foul involving the use of excessive force (violent conduct or serious foul play), only one reason for the
send-off can be given. That reason should be the more serious misconduct (serious foul play or violent
conduct), not the denying of a goal or an obvious goalscoring opportunity. Details about any other
misconduct must be included in the match report.
Referees are reminded that offenses which deny a goalscoring opportunity are not limited to those
punishable by a direct free kick or penalty kick but may include misconduct or those fouls for which the
restart is an indirect free kick. An example would be a player, including the goalkeeper, hanging from
the crossbar to play the ball away with his or her body.
Even if all these criteria are met, it is still the judgment and opinion of the referee that determines if the
event was an obvious goalscoring opportunity.
12.38 PUNISHMENT
Denial of an obvious goalscoring opportunity is punished by sending off (red card) the guilty player,
even though there may have been no contact between the players involved.
The card for misconduct is in addition to and does not change the punishment for any foul which might
have been committed (e.g., handling, tripping, holding, etc.). If the offense was a direct free kick foul
inside the defender's penalty area, this would include restarting play with a penalty kick.
12.39 APPLYING THE ADVANTAGE
Even if the referee makes use of the advantage clause during an obvious goalscoring opportunity, he or
she can still punish the offender after the fact. In cases where a goal or an obvious goalscoring
opportunity has been denied by handling or a foul, but the goal is scored as a result of an advantage
being played, the referee must still caution the player for the original offense. This may be applied
where the referee is satisfied that the advantage has ensued, where the goal is scored from the advantage
after the original foul, no matter who scored it. If the foul was in fact a factor leading to the goal being
scored (e.g., a defender handling the ball directly to another opponent who is thus able to score) the
same principle will apply. If the original offense constituted SFP or VC then the appropriate sanction
must be applied.
In cases where a goal or goalscoring opportunity has been denied by handling (DGH) or by a foul
(DGF), but advantage has been applied, it is advisable to stop play as soon as possible once it becomes
clear that the offended team has not been able to benefit from the advantage. This would be the case
when, after roughly 3-5 seconds and at least one subsequent play, the team was not able to maintain a
successful attack. In such cases, of course, the referee should return to the original foul and,
additionally, show the red card for the denied opportunity associated with the foul. Because
circumstances vary from game to game, there is no single mandatory decision that would be universally
correct. The referee must use discretion in making the decision, based on experience, game
circumstances, and common sense.
12.40 ILLUSTRATIONS
Here are some illustrations to aid you in understanding the difference between situations that are
obvious goalscoring opportunities and those that are not.
Figure 1
Figure 2
• In Figure 1, attacking player No. 9 is moving towards the opponents' goal. No. 9 has beaten defender
No. 6 and has only the goalkeeper in front of the goal. No. 9 has therefore an obvious goalscoring
opportunity. No. 6 trips No. 9 from behind, denying an obvious goalscoring opportunity. The referee
should send off No. 6 (red card) and award a penalty kick to No. 9's team. It would be a direct free
kick* if it had been committed outside the penalty area.
• Figure 2 shows the same situation as described in Figure 1, but with other defenders in addition to the
goalkeeper between No. 9 and the opponents' goal. In this case there would be no sending-off, but a
penalty kick would be awarded to No. 9's team. The referee retains the option to caution No. 6 for
unsporting behavior.
The same punishments would have been given for any other direct free kick foul by the defending team
in either of these situations. Impeding an opponent can also mean denying an obvious goalscoring
opportunity, and this is covered in Figures 3 and 4, which illustrate holding and impeding, respectively.
Figure 3
Figure 4
• In Figure 3, attacking player No. 9 is moving towards the opponents' goal. The last defender (in
addition to the goalkeeper) deliberately moves in front of No. 9 and makes contact to stop 9 from
reaching the ball, therefore taking away from No. 9 an obvious opportunity to score a goal. The referee
should send off the last defender and restart with a direct free kick* for No. 9's team. If the offense had
occurred in the penalty area, the proper restart would be a penalty kick. If there had been more
defenders behind the defender, the referee would simply award a direct free kick* to No. 9's team.
• Figure 4 is similar to the previous one, except that in this case the last defender (other than the
goalkeeper) moves in front of No. 9 and impedes without making physical contact, so that No. 9 is
prevented from reaching the ball, thus denying No. 9 the goalscoring opportunity. The referee should
send off the last defender and restart with an indirect free kick*. If there had been other defenders
behind this defender, the defender would not be sent off.
The Diagrams published in the 1996-1997 Laws of the Game (then labeled "Serious Foul Play," but
now called "denies a goal," etc.) continue to be valid guidance for judging obvious goalscoring
opportunities and referees should continue to consult them. Diagrams 1-10 illustrate issues involved in
deciding if a goal or an obvious goalscoring opportunity has been denied.
Diagram 1
Diagram 2
In Diagram 1, the attacker, No. 9, is moving towards goal with an obvious goalscoring opportunity
when tripped by a defender. The defender must be sent off for denying an obvious goalscoring
opportunity.
In Diagram 2, an attacker is moving towards goal when tripped by an opponent. The attacker does not,
however, have an obvious goalscoring opportunity, because there are too many defenders between the
attacker and the goal.
Diagram 3
Diagram 4
In Diagram 3, an attacker moving to goal with an obvious goalscoring opportunity attempts to move
past the goalkeeper, who holds the attacker. A penalty kick is awarded and the goalkeeper must be sent
off. (The referee must distinguish between this case and one in which the goalkeeper obviously
attempts to play the ball, misses the ball, and thus trips the attacker who is not heading directly for
goal. That offense would still result in a penalty kick, but the goalkeeper would not be sent off.)
In Diagram 4, the goalkeeper inside the penalty area holds an attacker and a penalty kick is awarded.
The attacker is moving away from goal and so does not have an obvious goalscoring opportunity.
Diagram 5
Diagram 6
In Diagram 5, the attacker is tripped inside the penalty area and a penalty kick is awarded. There is,
however, no obvious goalscoring opportunity since the player is moving away from goal.
In Diagram 6, the attacker, No. 11, is tripped but there is no obvious goalscoring opportunity since No.
11 is not moving towards goal. Direct free kick*.
Diagram 7
Diagram 8
In Diagram 7, an attacker shoots for goal, but an outfield player punches the ball over the bar, thus
preventing a goal being scored. This player must be sent off for denying a goal by deliberately
handling the ball. If the defender had punched or handled the ball and the ball had entered the goal,
Law 12 would not require a send-off, but would require a caution for unsporting behavior.
In Diagram 8, an attacker, No. 10, plays the ball and a defender inside the penalty area deliberately
handles it. A penalty kick is awarded but the defender would not be sent off for denying a goal by
handling because, with so many defenders between where the handling occurred and the goal, the
likelihood is that one or more of them could have defended against the attack and therefore the
probability of the ball going into the goal from No. 10's shot is low. Of course, if the referee judges
that the contact between the ball and the defender's hand was accidental, no offense would have been
committed and play would have been allowed to continue.
Diagram 9
Diagram 10
In Diagram 9, the attacker, No. 11, is running on to a forward pass and has a clear shot on goal with
only the goalkeeper, more than six yards out, able to defend. A defender jumps up and deliberately
handles the ball. The referee decides that the probability is high that, without the handling, the ball
would have gotten past the goalkeeper and would have gone into the net. The defender must be sent
off and the game restarted with a direct free kick* for No. 11’s team.
In Diagram 10, an attacker is running on to a forward pass with the defending goalkeeper more than
eighteen yards out from his goal. The goalkeeper's handling of the ball, which would have been
entirely legal if he had been a step or two back inside his penalty area, is not only an offense in this
case but also earns the goalkeeper a red card for "denied goal by handling" because the referee has
decided that the goalkeeper's illegal handling of the ball prevented it from going into the goal. The
game is restarted with a direct free kick* for the attacker's team.
Law 13 - Free Kicks
13.1 FREE KICKS
This restart is called a "free kick" because it may be taken "freely" by the team to which it has been
awarded—without interference, hindrance, or delay. Free kicks are awarded for fouls, misconduct, a
combination of the two, offside, or certain other offenses (such as the "second touch"). A direct free
kick is given if play is stopped for a direct free kick foul committed by a player against an opponent on
the field of play (except when it is committed by a defender within his or her own penalty area—see
Law 14, Penalty Kick). An indirect free kick is given if play is stopped for any other foul or if play is
stopped solely to deal with misconduct committed on the field by a player, or for offside. A free kick
may be taken in any direction. (This does not apply to penalty kicks. See Law 14.)
13.2 REQUIRED DISTANCE FOR OPPONENTS
All opponents must be at least ten yards away in all directions from the location of the free kick.
Exceptions to the required distance are noted below (free kick for defenders inside their own penalty
area, indirect free kick for the attacking team within ten yards of the opponents' goal, or a quick free
kick by the attacking team). Referees should use discretion in cautioning for an infringement.
13.3 ENFORCING THE REQUIRED DISTANCE
If the referee decides to delay the restart and to enforce the required minimum distance, the referee
must quickly and emphatically indicate to the attackers that they may not restart play until given a clear
signal (whistle) to do so. Under these circumstances, an attacker who restarts play before the whistle is
blown should be verbally warned and, upon repetition, be cautioned for unsporting behavior. The free
kick in such cases must be retaken, regardless of the result of the original kick. An opponent who
moves closer to the spot of the kick (from any direction) before it is taken must be cautioned and shown
the yellow card if the referee has delayed the restart to ensure that the opponents are at the minimum
distance.
If one or more opponents fail to respect the required distance before the ball is properly put into play,
the referee should stop the restart to deal with this infringement as required by the Law. The free kick
must be retaken even if the momentum of play causes the ball to be kicked before the referee signals.
The infringement plus the referee's decision to deal with it cancel any apparent restart regardless of a
delay in announcing the decision. However, referees are also expected to consider whether the
infringement on the minimum distance was trifling (had no effect on the freedom of the attackers to
restart) and, if so, to refrain from issuing a caution and to allow play to proceed. The referee is
expected to deal with opponents who fail to respect the required distance, even in situations in which
they were induced to do so by attackers appearing to put the ball into play, but where the ball was not
kicked (touched with the foot and moved).
An attacking team may exercise its right to take a free kick when the players see an advantage to do so
even with an opponent closer than the minimum distance. However, they may not thereafter claim
infringement of the distance requirement if the ball is kicked to an infringing opponent who is able to
control the ball without moving toward it. In this case, because the attacking side has considered the
encroachment trivial, the referee must accept what he or she has seen.
On the other hand, when the attacking team has exercised the option to restart play quickly and the
opponent closer than the required distance moves toward the ball and performs an act that makes a
difference in the play, such as blocking the kick, that player has committed an offense that must be
dealt with firmly in accordance with the Law. After the referee has cautioned the failure to respect the
required distance, the original free kick must be retaken as required by Law 13.
NOTE: If possible, the referee should seek to prevent problems, rather than struggling to find a cure
after the problems have set in. It is critical to set the tone early on all free kick restarts. To do so, the
referee must set standards and then hold the players accountable. Failing to deal early with
encroachment and interference makes it more difficult to get distance in the critical areas of the field as
the game develops. Where encroachment or interference is blatant and obvious, the referee's control is
being tested and it is particularly important that he or she act firmly. Where it is less obvious, the
referee must use discretion.
13.4 QUICK FREE KICK VS. CEREMONIAL FREE KICK
Law 13 requires all opponents to be at least ten yards away in all directions from the location of any
free kick and it is the duty of these opponents to retreat the required distance as quickly as possible
without being directed by the referee to do so. It is also the right of the team which has been given the
free kick to start play quickly even if one or more opponents have not yet moved back the required
distance, provided the other requirements of Law 13 have been met.
The referee should move quickly out of the way after indicating the approximate area of the restart and
should do nothing to interfere with the kicking team's right to an immediate free kick. At competitive
levels of play, referees should not automatically "manage the wall," but should allow the ball to be put
back into play as quickly as possible, unless the kicking team requests help in dealing with opponents
infringing on the minimum distance.
However, if advantage has been applied to misconduct and the referee has determined that a card is to
be given, the referee must act quickly to prevent the restart in order for the misconduct to be recorded
and the proper card shown, even if one or the other team would benefit from this delay.
Note: Sequence of Actions to Manage Free Kicks
13.5 THE BALL IN PLAY
The ball is in play (able to be played by an attacker other than the kicker or by an opponent) when it has
been kicked and moved. The distance to be moved is minimal and the "kick" need only be a touch of
the ball with the foot in a kicking motion or being dragged with the top or bottom of the foot. Simply
tapping the top of the ball with the foot or stepping on the ball are not sufficient.
When the restart of play is based on the ball being kicked and moved, the referee must ensure that the
ball is indeed kicked (touched with the foot in a kicking or dragging motion) and moved (caused to go
from one place to another). The referee must make the final decision on what is and is not "kicked and
moved" based on the spirit and flow of the match.
The referee must judge carefully whether any particular kick of the ball and subsequent movement was
indeed reasonably taken with the intention of putting the ball into play rather than with the intention
merely to position the ball for the restart. If the ball is just being repositioned (even if the foot is used
to do this), play has not been restarted. Likewise, referees should not unfairly punish for "failing to
respect the required distance" when an opponent was clearly confused by a touch and movement of the
ball which was not a restart.
The referee must make the final decision on what is a "kick" and what is "not a kick" based on his or
her feeling for the game-what FIFA calls "Fingerspitzengefühl" (literally: "sensing with one's
fingertips").
13.6 FREE KICK IN OWN PENALTY AREA
When the free kick is awarded to the defending team inside its own penalty area, the minimum distance
requirement applies in all directions around the location of the restart and all opponents must remain
outside the penalty area until the ball has gone into play.
A free kick taken by the defending team from within its own penalty area must be kicked out of the
penalty area on the first touch to be considered in play. The ball has not been properly put into play if,
under these circumstances, it crosses the goal line before leaving the penalty area.
13.7 INDIRECT FREE KICK WITHIN 10 YARDS OF OPPONENTS' GOAL
Defenders (including the goalkeeper) may be closer than ten yards from an indirect free kick restart
only if they are standing on the goal line and are between the goal posts. Referees must exercise special
care not to restrict the kicking team's right to a quick indirect free kick simply in order to enforce this
exception to the minimum distance requirement.
13.8 STOPPAGE FOR MISCONDUCT
When play is stopped solely to deal with misconduct committed by a player on the field, the indirect
free kick is taken from the place where the misconduct occurred. If the referee applies advantage to the
misconduct and subsequently stops play when the advantage no longer exists, the restart is still taken
from the place where the original misconduct occurred.
13.9 SIGNAL FOR INDIRECT FREE KICK
If the referee fails either to give the correct signal for an indirect free kick or to hold it for the required
period of time, the indirect free kick must be retaken, regardless of the original outcome. In particular,
if the kick results in a goal, either directly or indirectly, the goal cannot be counted.
Note: This also applies to an incorrect signal for a direct free kick. Suppose a DIRECT free kick is
awarded just outside the opposing team’s penalty area and the referee raises an arm as if to signal for
an INDIRECT free kick. If a defender were to touch the ball on its way to goal, a goal would be scored.
To avoid that, the defenders deliberately make no attempt to play the ball, with the expectation that the
referee, who is clearly signaling that the free kick is INDIRECT, would cancel the goal. In such a case,
the referee CANNOT award the goal, even though it was scored directly from a DIRECT free kick
restart. The decision on the restart was correct, but the signal was not. If the referee had indicated a
direct free kick first, rather than signaling for an indirect free kick, there would be no problem, but the
referee cannot change his or her mind this time, as he or she has misled the defending team by raising
an arm to indicate the indirect free kick. The only fair and correct thing to do here is to retake the kick
as a direct free kick.
Law 14 - The Penalty Kick
14.1 PENALTY KICK DEFINED
The penalty kick is a ceremonial restart which is awarded when the defending team commits a direct
free kick foul within its own penalty area. There is no requirement as to the severity or seriousness of
the foul, the score of the game, the amount of time remaining in the period of play, the direction play
was moving, the likelihood of a goal being scored, or any factor other than the commission of the foul
itself inside the defender's penalty area. Referees are reminded that it is the location of the foul, not the
position of the ball, which determines whether a penalty kick is the correct restart.
14.2 PLACEMENT OF THE BALL
The ball must be placed correctly at the penalty mark, regardless of the state of the pitch at this
location. Moving the ball elsewhere, even with the apparent agreement of the players, is not permitted.
14.3 WHEN THE PENALTY KICK MAY BE TAKEN
The referee will not whistle for the penalty kick to be taken until and unless the goalkeeper is on the
goal line between the goal posts and facing the kicker (not turned away in an expression of unsporting
behavior), the attacking player taking the penalty kick is clearly identified to the referee and the
goalkeeper, and all players other than the kicker and goalkeeper are outside the penalty area, outside
the penalty arc, and not nearer the goal line than the penalty mark. If the penalty kick is taken before
the referee whistles, the kicker should be warned and, upon repetition, cautioned for unsporting
behavior. The kick must be retaken, regardless of the outcome of the first kick.
14.4 GOALKEEPER MOVEMENT
Once the referee whistles for the penalty kick, the goalkeeper may move from side to side on the goal
line, but may not move off the goal line (into the field or backward) until the ball has been kicked. The
requirement to be "on the goal line" is met even if one or both of the goalkeeper's feet are not
physically touching the ground, so long as the goalkeeper has not moved forward or backward from the
plane of the goal line.
14.5 RETAKING THE PENALTY KICK
If a penalty kick is ordered retaken, it is not necessary for the same player to perform the restart.
14.6 KICKING THE BALL FORWARD FOR A TEAMMATE
The identified kicker may play the ball forward for a teammate, who was properly positioned at the
time the kick occurred, to run forward and play the ball.
14.7 BALL BURSTS/OUTSIDE INTERFERENCE DURING A PENALTY KICK
If the ball bursts or becomes defective during a penalty kick or during kicks from the penalty mark as it
moves forward and before it touches any player or the crossbar or goalposts the penalty kick is retaken.
14.8 PENALTY KICKS AT THE END OF THE HALF
Penalty kicks, once awarded, are taken regardless of the amount of time remaining in the half. If time
expires or will expire before the restart can occur, the referee should announce this fact and indicate
clearly that the penalty kick is now being taken "in extended time." No player other than the
goalkeeper can participate in play after the penalty kick is taken. In case of an "extended time" penalty
kick, the goalkeeper may be replaced, if necessary, by a substitute if the maximum number of
substitutions has not been exceeded, or by an eligible player on the field. All players must remain on
the field until the penalty kick has been completed. The referee has no authority to make the players
leave the field or the vicinity of the penalty area for the taking of a penalty kick in extended time.
At the taking of a penalty kick in extended time, violations of Law 14 are handled the same as if the
kick were not in extended time but with the following exception: if the required restart after a violation
would be an indirect free kick, the kick in extended time and the period of play are considered over.
14.9 INFRINGEMENTS OF LAW 14
Other than the situation covered in 14.7 and 14.12, and a "second touch" violation by the player taking
the penalty kick, infringements of Law 14 occur only between the referee's whistle for the restart and
the ball being kicked and put into play properly. Violations of the Law prior to the referee's whistle are
handled the same as any other misconduct occurring while the ball is not in play. Violations after the
ball has been put into play are handled the same as any other similar event occurring during regular
play. All restrictions on player positioning and movement imposed by Law 14 end when the ball is
properly put into play.
Infringements after the referee's whistle but before the ball is in play may be committed by the kicker,
the goalkeeper, or by any of their teammates. Violations of Law 14 by the kicker in particular include
back heeling the ball (14.12), running past the ball and then backing up to take the kick, excessively
changing directions in the run to the ball or taking an excessively long run to the ball (which, in the
opinion of the referee, results in an unnecessary delay in taking the kick), or making any motion of the
hand or arm which (in the opinion of the referee) is clearly intended to confuse or misdirect the
attention of the ‘keeper). In most cases, the referee should let the kick proceed and deal with the
violation in accordance with the chart below, which outlines the proper restarts for clear infringements
of Law 14. However, in the case of a kicker creating an unnecessary delay in taking the kick, the
referee should intervene, if possible, warn the kicker to proceed properly, and signal (whistle) again for
the restart. If the kicker's infringement involves completing the run to the ball and then hesitating and
feinting, the kicker must be cautioned for unsporting behavior at the next opportunity.
If the kicker plays the ball a second time (except with the hands) before it has been played by another
player, an indirect free kick is awarded to the opponents*. If any player, including the kicker (and
other than the goalkeeper in his or her own penalty area) deliberately handles the ball, this is treated as
a violation of Law 12. If that player were a defender who rushed forward and handled the ball while it
was on its way to the goal, the referee would stop play, punish the misconduct of the player who has
infringed the Law, and restart with a new penalty kick. If a member of the attacking team committed
misconduct, then the referee would stop play, punish the misconduct, and restart with an indirect free
kick for the opposing team*.
See also Advice14.7.
This chart illustrates the proper restarts for clear infringements of Law 14:
Consequences of an Infringement of Law 14
Who infringed Law 14?
What was the outcome of the kick?
Ball goes into goal
Ball does not go into goal
Attacker (including the
kicker)
RETAKE PENALTY KICK
INDIRECT FREE KICK*
Defender (including the
goalkeeper)
GOAL (KICK-OFF)
RETAKE PENALTY KICK
Both attacker and defender
RETAKE PENALTY KICK
RETAKE PENALTY KICK
* From where the infringement occurred (See Law 13 – Position of Free Kick)
The following points must be kept in mind when applying the above decisions:
• “Ball does not go into goal” includes any result of the penalty kick other than the ball being
kicked into the net (e.g., ball deflected over the goal line by the goalkeeper, ball kicked over the
crossbar, ball saved and held by the goalkeeper).
• The violations at issue include: the goalkeeper moving off the goal line; the kicker engaging in
unfair tactics while taking the kick; and any player other than the goalkeeper and the kicker
entering the penalty area, entering the penalty arc, or moving closer to the goal line than the ball
(i.e., failing to remain at least 12 yards from the goal line).
• It is not required for the same player to perform a penalty kick which the referee has ordered
retaken.
The exceptions to the above chart of decisions are:
• If an attacker other than the identified kicker takes the penalty kick, play is restarted with an
indirect free kick for the opposing team where the attacker illegally entered the penalty arc or
penalty area, regardless of the outcome of any kick that may have been performed by this
attacker.
• If the kicker plays the ball backward (any direction other than forward), play is restarted with an
indirect free kick for the opposing team at the penalty mark, regardless of any further play that
may result from the kicker’s action.
NOTE: A penalty kick being the punishment for an infringement which would otherwise be given a
direct free kick restart, the kicker is allowed that same latitude in performing this kick as would be
given in performing a free kick restart. Based on new guidance from the International Board, referees
should not consider various deceptive maneuvers by the kicker during the run-up to be a violation of
Law 14. They should ensure that the run to the ball is initiated from behind the ball and the kicker is
not using deception to delay unnecessarily the taking of the kick, and the kicker is not making any hand
or arm gesture which, in the opinion of the referee, is intended to distract or misdirect the goalkeeper.
However, the kicker is not permitted to feint a kick at the ball once the run-up to the ball has been
completed (and must be cautioned for unsporting behavior if he or she does so).
Except for misconduct by the kicker, cautions should not be given for first offenses under Law 14.
This includes failure by members of either team to maintain their required positions before the ball is in
play or the goalkeeper who infringes on the requirement not to come off the goal line prior to the
penalty kick being taken. In all cases, referees should caution for persistent infringement if the same
player infringes the requirement again. (See Advice 14.10.)
NOTE: Referee Actions after Illegal Feints at Penalty Kicks or Kicks from the Penalty Mark
a. What to do if the player feints illegally after the referee has blown the whistle and before the ball is
in play during a penalty kick. The caution is for unsporting behavior.
b. What to do if the player feints illegally after the referee has blown the whistle and before the ball is
in play during kicks from the penalty mark. The caution is for unsporting behavior.
14.10 CAUTIONING FOR SUBSEQUENT INFRINGEMENTS OF LAW 14
If a player has already been warned about a violation of Law 14 and then violates Law 14 again during
the same or a subsequent penalty kick (see the chart in 14.9), this should be considered persistent
infringement. The caution must be given at the next stoppage of play, whether that occurs as a result of
the penalty kick or for any other reason.
In all cases, however, the referee is expected to distinguish between clear violations which impact the
match and those which are merely doubtful or trifling.
14.11 OTHER VIOLATIONS AT A PENALTY KICK
Although the referee is expected to allow a penalty kick to proceed despite a violation of Law 14 (see
Advice 14.9), this is not the case if a player violates some other Law before the ball is put into play.
Specifically, if a player commits violent misconduct before the penalty kick occurs (e.g., striking an
opponent), the referee must stop further action, send off the offending player, and restart the penalty
kick from the beginning.
14.12 KICKER BACK HEELS THE BALL
If, after the referee has whistled for the penalty kick to be taken, the identified kicker back heels or
kicks the ball backwards to a teammate who kicks it into the goal, the International Board has
determined that this particular violation of Law 14 is to be regarded as failure to follow the procedures
outlined in Law 14. In this situation (whether the ball is subsequently kicked into the goal or not), the
restart is an indirect free kick for the opponents at the penalty mark.
14.13 WHEN IS THE PENALTY KICK COMPLETED?
The penalty kick or kick from the penalty mark is completed only when the referee declares it so, and
the referee should not declare the kick to be completed if there is any possibility that the ball is still in
play. In other words: So long as the ball is in motion and contacting any combination of the ground,
crossbar, goalposts, and goalkeeper, a goal can still be scored.
A penalty kick or kick from the penalty mark is not completed, and must therefore be retaken, if
anything unfairly or illegally interferes with the movement of the ball from the moment of the kick to
the arrival of the ball at the goal. Examples of such interference would include the ball bursting on its
way to the net or the intervention of an outside agent (e.g., spectator) while the ball is still moving to
the net. Any interference that occurs after the ball has reached the net (resulting in the ball entering the
net, missing the net entirely, or being saved by the goalkeeper) is handled as if the same event had
occurred during play. The basic principle underlying this guidance is that the team taking a penalty
kick or a kick from the mark must be given a fair chance to score and any illegal obstacle hindering the
movement of the ball to the net must result in a retake of the kick. (See Advice 14.7.)
Law 15 - The Throw-In
15.1 LOCATION OF THROW-IN
Although the throw-in is to be taken "from the point where [the ball] crossed the touch line," this
requirement is satisfied if the restart occurs within approximately one yard (one meter) of this location,
farther upfield or downfield or back from the touch line. A throw-in taken beyond this limit is an
infringement of Law 15.
15.2 BALL IN PLAY FROM A THROW-IN
The ball is considered to have entered the field and is therefore in play if it touches, while still in the
air, the outer edge of the vertical plane of the touch line and has left the thrower's hands.
15.3 PROPERLY TAKEN THROW-IN
A throw-in must be performed while the thrower is facing the field, but the ball may be thrown into the
field in any direction. Law 15 states that the thrower "delivers the ball from behind and over his head."
This phrase does not mean that the ball must leave the hands from an overhead position. A natural
throwing movement starting from behind and over the head will usually result in the ball leaving the
hands when they are in front of the vertical plane of the body. The throwing movement must be
continued to the point of release. A throw-in directed straight downward (often referred to as a
"spike") has traditionally been regarded as not correctly performed; if, in the opinion of the referee such
a throw-in was incorrectly performed, the restart should be awarded to the opposing team. There is no
requirement in Law 15 prohibiting spin or rotational movement. Referees must judge the correctness
of the throw-in solely on the basis of Law 15.
The acrobatic or "flip" throw-in is not by itself an infringement so long as it is performed in a manner
which meets the requirements of Law 15.
A player who lacks the normal use of one or both hands may nevertheless perform a legal throw-in
provided the ball is delivered over the head and provided all other requirements of Law 15 are
observed.
Here are some illustrations of foot positioning that is allowed or not allowed. The shaded areas
indicate where the thrower’s foot touches the ground.
15.4 ILLEGAL OR IMPROPERLY TAKEN THROW-IN
Referees must distinguish between a throw-in which infringes on the requirements of Law 15 and one
which is not properly taken such that the restart is said not to have been taken. In the first case
(infringement), possession of the restart is given to the opponents and taken from the same location;
under no circumstances may advantage be applied to a throw-in performed illegally. In the case of a
throw-in which is not properly taken, the restart must be taken again by the same team from the same
location.
A throw-in may not be performed from a kneeling position under any circumstances.
If the ball touches the ground before entering the field of play or fails to enter the field of play at all,
the throw-in is retaken by the same team from the same position, provided that it was performed
correctly in all other respects. If the throw-in is not performed correctly and, additionally, fails to enter
the field or hits the ground before entering the field, the throw-in is given to the opposing team.
A throw-in which has been performed illegally, for which the referee has stopped play, cannot be given
back to the same team in order to perform the restart again. The referee must either decide that the
offense was trifling and not stop play, or award the throw-in to the opposing team.
15.5 TRIFLING INFRINGEMENTS OF LAW 15
Referees are reminded that the primary function of the throw-in is to put the ball back into play as
quickly as possible. At competitive levels of play, therefore, apparent technical infringements of Law
15 should often be deemed trifling or doubtful so long as the team performing the throw-in does not
obtain an advantage and the restart occurs with little or no delay.
15.6 NO GOAL DIRECTLY FROM A THROW-IN
Neither team may score a goal directly from a throw-in. If the ball is thrown directly into a team's own
goal (no intervening touch or play), the correct restart is a corner kick. If the ball is thrown directly
into the opposing team's goal, play is restarted with a goal kick.
15.7 OPPONENT BEHAVIOR AT A THROW-IN
All opponents must stand no less than 2 yards/meters from the point at which the throw-in is taken.
Opponents are prohibited from unfairly distracting, interfering with, or impeding a player who is
putting the ball back into play on a throw-in. This is a cautionable offense for unsporting behavior.
This means that an opponent may not jump about or wave his or her arms in a distracting manner or
move to block the freedom of movement of the thrower or the direction of the throw. Merely standing
in front of the thrower, however, providing this position is maintained without movement and is at least
2 yards/meters from the location of the throw-in, is not an offense.
Referees should manage the minimum distance requirement at a throw-in in the same way they manage
the minimum distance requirement for free kicks and corner kicks. (Among other things, this means
that the thrower has the option of performing the restart even if an opponent is closer than two yards
and that the referee should not ordinarily interfere with quick throw-in restarts to enforce the minimum
distance unless this is requested by the thrower). If a player is cautioned for violating this requirement,
it must be reported as a failure to respect the minimum distance.
15.8 THROW-IN STRIKES AN OPPONENT
A throw-in taken in such a way that the ball strikes an opponent is not by itself a violation of the Law.
The act must be evaluated separately as a form of striking and dealt with appropriately if judged to be
unsporting behavior (caution) or violent conduct (send off from the field). In either event, if deemed a
violation, the restart is located at the place where the throw-in struck the opponent. If the throw-in is
deemed to have been taken incorrectly, the correct restart is a throw-in.
Law 16 - The Goal Kick
16.1 BALL PLACEMENT AT A GOAL KICK
The ball is placed so that it touches the ground within the goal area, including the lines which enclose
it. The outer edge of the ball could extend beyond or outside the goal area itself and still meet this
requirement.
Here are some examples of ball positions for goal kicks:
16.2 BALL IN PLAY FROM A GOAL KICK
The ball is in play when it is kicked beyond the penalty area into the field of play. A goal kick which
results in the ball leaving the field before exiting the penalty area has not been properly taken and must
be retaken. No infringement of any Law occurring before the ball leaves the penalty area can result in
any restart other than a retaking of the goal kick.
16.3 SCORING DIRECTLY FROM A GOAL KICK
Only the team taking a goal kick can score a goal directly from this restart. There can be no "own
goal" on a goal kick. If a properly taken goal kick goes directly into the goal of the kicking team (i. e.,
the ball left the penalty area into the field of play but was blown back), the proper restart is a corner
kick for the opposing team. Because a team cannot score directly against itself from a goal kick, no
infringement of the Law by a member of the kicking team can be considered to have prevented a goal
or a goalscoring opportunity within the meaning of Law 12 without some intervening play of the ball.
A goalkeeper who takes a goal kick, which passes outside of the penalty area and then returns in the
direction of the goal, attempts to prevent the ball from entering the goal by handling it. Although the
attempt is unsuccessful and the ball enters the net, the goal cannot be counted as the offense of “second
touch” has occurred and must result in an indirect free kick restart where the second touch occurred.
Advantage is not applied because “second touch” is not a violation of Law 12 (see Advice 5.6). If the
goalkeeper’s handling of the ball in these circumstances had been successful, the “second handling”
offense would be called, but the goalkeeper could not be sent from the field and shown a red card for
interfering with a goalscoring opportunity (goalkeeper handling, unless it occurred outside the penalty
area, is exempt from the misconduct of handling to prevent a goal).
16.4 OPPONENTS MUST REMAIN OUTSIDE THE PENALTY AREA
An opponent who infringes on the requirement to remain outside the penalty area until the ball is in
play should be warned and, upon a repetition, cautioned for persistent infringement. In any event, the
goal kick is retaken.
16.5 TIME WASTING BY THE KICKING TEAM
Upon being awarded a goal kick, the defending team wastes time if the ball is clearly placed within the
goal area in preparation for the restart and then is moved unnecessarily to another location. The referee
may caution and show the yellow card for either persistent infringement or delaying the restart of play
in situations where the offense is committed a second time by the same team after a warning is given.
Law 17 - The Corner Kick
17.1 BALL PLACEMENT FOR A CORNER KICK
The corner kick restart is taken from the corner on the side of the field nearest to where the ball crossed
the goal line. In cases where the selection of the correct corner may be doubtful, the referee will decide
and announce the correct corner clearly and firmly.
The requirement that the ball be placed within the corner arc is satisfied if the ball breaks the plane of
the corner arc or of the lines which enclose the corner arc. In practice, this means that a ball properly
placed for a corner kick could extend beyond the area of the corner arc, including beyond the field
itself.
Here are some examples of ball positioning for corner kicks:
17.2 LOCATION OF THE KICKER AT A CORNER KICK
Law 17 does not limit where the player taking the corner kick must initiate this restart. The kicker may
be off the field, either beyond the touch line or beyond the goal line.
17.3 BALL IN PLAY FROM A CORNER KICK
The ball is in play when it is kicked and moves. The act of kicking the ball includes any play of the
ball with the foot, and only minimal movement is needed to meet the requirement. See Advice 13.5 for
full details. Opponents must remain 10 yards/9.15 meters from the corner arc until the ball is in play.
17.4 RESTARTS IF BALL LEAVES FIELD FROM A CORNER KICK
If the ball is properly placed and, as a result of the kick, immediately leaves the field across the goal
line, the correct restart is a goal kick. If the ball immediately goes across the touch line, the correct
restart is a throw-in for the opposing team. Any movement of the ball is sufficient to put it into play.
17.5 KICKING TEAM MAY NOT SCORE AGAINST ITSELF
If the ball enters the attacking team's own goal directly from a corner kick, the correct restart is a corner
kick for the opposing team. The kicking team cannot score against itself directly from a corner kick.
"Law 18" - Common Sense
"Law 18, still unwritten but frequently quoted as the ultimate goal of refereeing: 'Intelligence in
the perception of the game, the attitude of the players, the place and the moment of the offense.'"
(Michel Vautrot, FIFA Referee Committee, FIFA Magazine, June 1997)
19. Miscellaneous Matters
19.1 LAWS GOVERNING KICKS FROM THE PENALTY MARK
All Laws of the Game, except for those clearly modified in the separate section of the Laws dealing
with kicks from the penalty mark, are in effect during this procedure. In particular, this means that the
player uniform requirements in Law 4 must be enforced. It also means that the officials must continue
to enforce the requirement that no one except for the players taking part in this procedure may enter or
be on the field of play once the procedure has begun and are dressed in accordance with the
requirements of Law 4.
The procedure for kicks from the penalty mark does not require that players kick in any particular
order, that an order be established ahead of time, nor that a list of kickers must be provided to the
referee. The only requirement the referee must enforce is that no player may kick again until all
eligible players on his team have kicked. This principle continues into subsequent rounds of the
procedure, if necessary. If a kick from the penalty mark must be retaken, it is not required that the
same player perform the kick so long as the principle described here is applied in this case as well. In
subsequent rounds, the players do not need to kick in the same order as they did in the previous round.
Once kicks from the penalty mark have begun, there is no further application of the “reduce to equate”
principle. If a player must leave through injury or misconduct, that player may not be replaced and the
opposing team does not have to reduce its numbers. (A goalkeeper who is injured may be replaced, but
only if the team has substitutions remaining.)
Once the taking of kicks from the penalty mark begins, the referee shall not abandon the game unless
one of the teams is reduced through injury or dismissal to no players before a winner has been decided.
For further information on "reduce to equate" and "order of kickers," see Advice 3.12, as well as the
procedures outlined in the Laws of the Game under Law 14 and the IGR.
19.2 PLAYERS LEAVING THE FIELD DURING KICKS FROM THE PENALTY MARK
Once the procedure of taking kicks from the penalty mark has begun, players are not permitted to leave
the field, even if they have already taken a kick. If a player leaves the field and is not available to take
the prescribed kick (either for the first time or subsequently), the referee can declare the missing player
no longer eligible and then proceed with the kicks from the penalty mark without him/her. A full
report regarding the situation must be submitted.
If a player leaves the field with the referee's permission to attend to an equipment problem, bleeding, or
blood on the uniform, all requirements of the Law must still be followed in order for the player to
return to the field (see Advice 5.8 and 5.9). If an injured player cannot return to the field, as declared
by the team captain, or is sent from the field for misconduct, the kicks from the mark continue without
that player. (See also Advice 3.12.)
19.3 THE ROLE OF THE TEAM CAPTAIN
The role of the team captain is not defined in the Laws of the Game. The captain usually wears an
armband and is responsible to the referee for his or her team, but has no special rights or privileges. By
practice and tradition, certain duties fall upon the team captain:
• to see that the referee's decisions are respected by the captain's teammates and by team officials;
• to counsel a teammate who may be reluctant to leave the field at a substitution—but neither the
captain nor the referee may insist that the player leave;
• to represent his or her team at the coin toss to determine which direction the team will attack to begin
the game (and subsequent overtime periods) or which team will take first kick in kicks from the penalty
mark;
• to be the team representative to whom the referee must go to obtain the name and number of players
who will be excluded from participating in kicks from the penalty mark in order to match the size of
the opposing team (which has fewer players on the field before the kicks from the penalty mark begin
as a result of injury or misconduct).
19.4 WATER
Field players who wish to drink water while play continues may do so only from the touch line and
without leaving the field. Players may also drink water during stoppages at any of the boundary lines. If
water containers are left along boundary lines outside the field, they must not interfere with the
movement of the assistant referee or block his or her view of the length of the touch line. Under no
circumstances may water containers of any sort be thrown onto the field, either during play or at
stoppages (including the halftime break), nor may they be thrown from the field after a player has
finished drinking.
19.5 RULES OF COMPETITION
The referee must be familiar with the rules of every competition he or she works in. No matter what
the referee's personal feelings may be about unfamiliar rules or rules which are apparently inconsistent
with the Laws of the Game, they must be enforced if the referee accepts the assignment—unless so
doing would compromise the referee's fundamental responsibility for the safety of the players.
19.6 OBJECTS THROWN ONTO THE FIELD
The referee must take special care in dealing with objects thrown onto the field during a match. In
many cases (such as confetti or other paper products), this is harmless celebration and can be ignored.
Other objects, such as bottles, sharp objects, or lighted fireworks, are inherently dangerous for players,
officials, or persons in the technical areas and play must be stopped as quickly as possible and a
decision made as to whether the match must be terminated or play may be safely resumed. The objects
must be removed and steps taken to prevent any further occurrence. Falling in the “gray area” are
situations in which what is thrown onto the field may not be dangerous per se, but carries the potential
of interfering unfairly with play. In deciding what action to take, the referee should consider: (a)
whether the foreign object(s) are sufficiently numerous to make the playing surface unsafe if stepped
on, (b) whether the foreign object(s) will cause confusion on the part of players (e .g., a ball or similar
object), and (c) whether the potentially unsafe or unfair conditions are limited to one end of the field
and hence might disadvantage one team over another.
19.7 "NATURAL POSITIONS" DURING RESTARTS AND DYNAMIC PLAY
Players are expected to play the game using a "natural position." Traditionally and in fact, "natural
position" means simply that the player plays the natural way, with no contrived or "tricky" ways of
gaining an advantage. (See, for example, Advice 12.3, 12.4, 12.14, and 15.4.) Generally speaking,
players are expected to play the ball while standing, not squatting, sitting, or lying down. Their arms
should be in "natural" positions, not raised or flung out to cover more space. This applies not only to
deliberate handling of the ball, the most recent example of manipulating play (and the referee) by doing
things unnaturally, but also to free kicks, penalty kicks, throw-ins. Referees need to know what is
correct and what is not.
Remember that male and female players use their arms differently. Females, due to differences in
center of gravity stemming from their different construction, raise their arms in large part to allow them
to use their lower center of gravity. Men on the other hand achieve the same result by lowering their
hands/arms (i.e., by keeping them down at their sides) to provide more stability in a charge. Referees
should keep in mind the different ways men and women move into challenges when assessing arm
position and should focus instead on the reason why the arm was in the position in which it was at the
moment of contact.
Natural position plays a big part in the offense of deliberately handling the ball. The emphasis now is
on watching to see if players are "making themselves bigger" by unnatural means. In short, players are
using their arms/hands to gain tactical advantages over opponents with the ball. This means they use
their arms to take away space and passing lanes. They do this by placing their arms or hands in
positions to reduce or eliminate options that the attacker might have if the arms were not in that
position. For more details and for criteria for referees to use in determining whether there has been
deliberate handling, see Advice 12.9 and 12.10.
Another way of cheating by "making oneself bigger" can occur in impeding the opponent. A player
shielding the ball extends the arms straight from the shoulders or moves them around, an unnatural
thing to do. No player shielding the ball from another is allowed to use the arms or any other part of
the body for other than maintaining balance — which does not include pushing off or holding the
opponent. If the player is simply maintaining balance — in the opinion of the referee — then an
opponent who initiates contact with the player who has the ball is guilty of charging illegally. If the
player with the ball is holding out his or her arms or a leg not to maintain balance but to obstruct the
opponent, the player has committed an indirect free kick offense, provided no contact occurred.
However, if the player with the ball initiates any contact, then he or she has charged, held, or pushed
(all direct free kick fouls) and must be punished accordingly.
Kicking is traditionally done from a standing position, not on the ground; however, players who have
fallen and are on the ground are allowed to play the ball from that position, provided they do it without
endangering any participant (including themselves by covering the ball and thereby preventing an
opponent from having a chance to play the ball safely).
Players are not allowed to take throw-ins while kneeling or sitting down. Squatting is a form of sitting
and is therefore not allowed, but players are permitted to take "flip" or "acrobatic" throw-ins, provided
the procedures outlined in Law 15 are followed. "Standing" is the normal and traditional posture at any
restart; anything other than standing is not permitted. The "acrobatic" or "flip" throw-in is allowed
because the thrower actually makes the throw from a standing position.
As for tactics in the wall, kneeling, squatting or standing with arms linked or outstretched are all
unnatural positions for players. This applies to both the kicking and the defending teams. While the
defending team has no right under the Laws of the Game to form a wall, neither may the defenders be
hindered physically from attempting to play the ball legally. (The wall is also allowed to jump up and
down.)
Referees must be watchful for each of these ways of "cheating" or gaining an unfair advantage. If our
game is to remain beautiful, it must be played in a fair and sporting manner.
19.8 "CONTINUATION" FOULS VERSUS "FOULS IN MOTION"
The holding of an opponent is considered a “continuing foul” in the Laws of the Game according to the
current “Interpretation of the Laws of the Game and Guidelines for Referees” section for Law 12: "If a
defender starts holding an attacker outside the penalty area and continues holding him inside the penalty
area, the referee must award a penalty kick." Based on this guidance, the concept of "continuation"
should NOT be applied to any other offenses.
An offense other than holding an opponent that involves continuous contact (such as charging or
pushing) that starts in one place and continues into another place where the consequences of stopping
play would be a different restart, should be decided on the basis of which place involved the greater
penalty (inside/outside the penalty area is decided in favor of inside the penalty area, inside/outside the
field is decided in favor of inside the field).
Index
Abandoning a match ................................................................................................................................... 3.16, 5.4, 5.12, 19.2
Active involvement .................................................................................................................................... 6.5, 11.3-11.7, 11.14
Adding time .....................................................................................................................................................................3.6, 7.2
Advantage .................................................................... 5.4, 5.7,6.3, 12.2-12.28, 12 Part C, 12.39, 13.4, 13.8, 15.4, 15.5, 16.3
Allowing substitutions .......................................................................................................................... 3.4-3.7, 3.15, 14.8, 19.1
Applying the advantage ..........................................................................................................................................12.27, 12.39
Assistant referee duties ......................................................................................................................................................... 6.1
Assistant referee signals .......................................................................................................................... 6.2, 6.3, 6.4, 8.3, 11.7
Ball ....................................................................................................................................................................................... 2.1
Ball bursts ..................................................................................................................................................... Law 2, 14.7, 14.13
Ball in play
Common elements ............................................................................................................................................................. 8.6
From a corner kick .......................................................................................................................................................... 17.3
From a free kick ......................................................................................................................................................13.5, 13.6
From a goal kick ............................................................................................................................................................. 16.2
From a kick-off .................................................................................................................................................................. 8.2
From a throw-in .............................................................................................................................................................. 15.2
Ball kicked to the goalkeeper ............................................................................................................................................ 12.20
Ball out of play .................................................................................................................................................1.8, 6.4, 9.1, 9.4
Ball placement
For a corner kick............................................................................................................................................................. 17.1
For a goal kick ................................................................................................................................................................ 16.1
Ball thrown to the goalkeeper........................................................................................................................................... 12.21
Becoming onside ............................................................................................................................................................... 11.14
Behavior of coach and bench personnel ............................................................................................................................. 5.10
Bleeding ........................................................................................................... 3.3, 3.13, 3.16,3.20, 3.20(a), 5.8, 12.28.6, 19.2
Bridging .............................................................................................................................................................................. 12.4
Captain, role of ................................................................................................................................................................... 19.3
Careless ....................................................................................................................................... 12.2, 12.3, 12.7, 12.22, 12.23
Categories of misconduct ............................................................................................................................ 12.24, 12.28, 12.29
Cautionable offenses.................................................................................................................................... 12.26, 12.27, 12.28
Cautioning for repeated infringements of Law 14 ............................................................................................................ 14.10
Cautions/Send-offs—When Not Permitted ..................................................................................................................5.10, 5.17
Charging .................................................................................................................................... 12.5, 12.14, 12.22, 12.23, 19.7
Charging an opponent away from the ball ....................................................................................................................... 12.22
Charging the goalkeeper .................................................................................................................................................. 12.23
Club linesmen ....................................................................................................................................................................... 6.6
Coin toss .......................................................................................................................................................................8.1, 19.3
Common sense ......................................................................................................................................................9.2, 12.39, 18
Continuation fouls or fouls in motion ................................................................................................................................. 19.8
Criteria for an obvious goalscoring opportunity .............................................................................................................. 12.37
Defender legally off the field of play ................................................................................................................................ 11.11
Delay during substitution ..................................................................................................................................................... 3.5
Deliberate ................................................................................................................................ 5.5, 12.1, 12.20, 12.40 (passim)
Deliberate handling ............................................. 12.1, 12.2, 12.9, 12.10, 12.11, 12.28, 12.29,12.36, 12.37, 12.40, 14.9, 19.7
Deliberately leaves the field of play without permission ................................................................................................12.28.7
Denying a goal or an obvious goalscoring opportunity ............................................................................. Part D 12.36-12.40
Departing player.........................................................................................................................................................3.11, 11.9
Dimensions of the field ......................................................................................................................................................... 1.1
Direct free kick fouls ................................................................................................................................................. 12.2-12.11
Discipline to substitutes .........................................................................................................................................5.16, 12.28.8
Dissent ......................................................................................................................................................... 5.16,12.27, 12.28.2
Dropped ball ............... 1.8, 3.3, 3.10, 3.18, 3.20, 5.7, 5.13, 6.4, 7.2, 7.3, 8.4. 8.5,9.2, 9.3, 10.2 10.7, 11.12, 12.6, 12.25, 14.7
Enforcing the required distance .......................................................................................................... 12.28.5, 13.2, 13.3-13.7
Enters or re-enters the field of play without the referee’s permission ............................................................................12.28.6
Excessive force ................................................................................. 12.2, 12.3,12.7, 12.22, 12.23, 12.32, 12.33, 12,37, 12.37
Expel .......................................................................................................................................................... 3.20(b), 5.10, 12.24
Expulsion, temporary (not allowed) ................................................................................................................................... 5.17
Fails to respect the required distance.................................................................................12.28.5, 13,2 13.3, 13.5- 13.7, 14.9
Fair charge ...............................................................................................................................................................12.5, 12.14
Field markings ...................................................................................................................................................................... 1.5
Flagposts .............................................................................................................................................................................. 1.4
Footwear............................................................................................................................................................................... 4.5
Foul (What is a foul?) ......................................................................................................................................................... 12.1
Fouls committed while a goal is scored ......................................................................................................... 10.4, 12.36-12.40
Fouls in motion ................................................................................................................................................................... 19.7
Fouls observed by the referee ............................................................................................................................................... 6.3
Fourth official ........................................................................... 2, 3.2, 4.6, 5.1, 5.3, 5.4, 5.8, 5.10, 5.13, 5.16, 6.7, 6.8 12.28.2
Free kick in own penalty area............................................................................................................................................. 13.6
Free kicks .................................................................................................................................................................... 13.1-13.4
Gaining an advantage........................................................................................................................ 6.5, 11.2, 11.3, 11.6, 19.7
Goal after time has expired ................................................................................................................................................ 10.1
Goal off an official .............................................................................................................................................................. 10.5
Goalkeeper movement ........................................................................................................................................................ 14.4
Goalkeeper uniforms and equipment .................................................................................................................................... 4.4
Goals..................................................................................................................................................................................... 1.3
Holding ..................................................................................................................... 12.1, 12.2, 12.8, 12.28.1, 12.40 (Diag. 3)
How to administer the send-off for a second caution ....................................................................................................... 12.30
Illegal or improperly taken throw-in .................................................................................................................................. 15.4
Illegally returning to play ........................................................................................................................................... 3.17-3.19
Illustrations of “not offside”............................................................................................................................................. 11.15
Impeding an opponent ............................................................................................. 12.14, 12.22, 12.28.1, 12.40 (Fig. 4, 19.7)
Inadvertent whistle................................................................................................................................................................ 8.4
Incorrect uniform or equipment ............................................................................................................................................ 4.6
Indirect free kick fouls ............................................................................................................................................ 12.12-12.25
Indirect free within 10 yards of opponents’ goal ................................................................................................................ 13.7
Infringements of Law 14 ..................................................................................................................................................... 14.9
Interfering with an opponent ........................................................................................................................................6.5, 11.4
Interfering with play (not Offside) ...................................................... 5.5, 5.11, 10.5, 10.7, 11.3, 12.28.9.1, 13.1, 14.13, 15.7
Interfering with play (Offside) ............................................................................................................................................ 11.5
Jewelry .................................................................................................................................................................................. 4.3
Judgment of offside position ............................................................................................................................................... 11.2
Kick-off ........................................................................................................................................................... 8.2 (see also 8.1)
Kicker’s deception at penalty kick ...................................................................................................................................... 14.9
Kicking team may not score directly against itself ............................................................................................................. 17.5
Kicking the ball forward to a teammate ............................................................................................................................. 14.6
Kicks from the penalty mark .............................................................................................................. 3.12, 5.17, 8.1, 19.1, 19.2
Leaving the field in the course of play ........................................................................................................................3.9, 11.11
Leaving the field to avoid offside ................................................................................................................................11.8, 11.9
Leaving the field to put an opponent in an offside position .............................................................................................. 11.10
Leaving the field without permission .......................................................................................................................3.8, 12.28.7
Length of halves .................................................................................................................................................................... 7.1
Lines ..................................................................................................................................................................................... 1.5
Location of the kicker at a corner kick ............................................................................................................................... 17.2
Location of the restart for offside .............................................................................................................................11.3, 11.13
Location of throw-in ........................................................................................................................................................... 15.1
Making contact with the opponent ...................................................................................................................................... 12.7
Making the offside decision ................................................................................................................................................ 11.7
Misconduct
Behavior of coach and bench personnel ......................................................................................................................... 5.10
Categories of misconduct ......................................................................................................................... 12.24, 12.28, 12.29
Cautionable offenses .................................................................................................................................... 5.9, 12.26-12.28
Cautioning for subsequent infringements of Law 14 ..................................................................................................... 14.10
Deliberately leaves the field of play without permission .............................................................................................12.28.7
Disciplinary procedures before, during, and after the game .......................................................................................... 5.17
Enters or re-enters the field of play without the referee’s permission ........................................................................12.28.6
Fails to respect the required distance ....................................................................................................... 12.28.5, 13.2-13.6
Illegally returning to play ....................................................................................................................................... 3.17-3.19
Leaving the field without permission ...................................................................................................................3.8, 12.28.7
Opponent behavior at throw-in ....................................................................................................................................... 15.7
Putting an opponent in an offside position unfairly ...................................................................................................... 11.10
Restarts for misconduct ................................................................................................................................................. 12.25
Returning to the field to play the ball .............................................................................................................................. 11.9
Sending-off offenses ............................................................................................................................................ 12.29-12.40
Serious foul play............................................................................................................. 12.3, Part C (passim), 12.33, 12.35
Six-second rule .............................................................................................................................................................. 12.18
Stoppage for misconduct ................................................................................................................................................. 13.8
Terminating a match ........................................................................................................................................5.11, 7.5, 19.6
Unsporting behavior ....................................................... 1.6, 3.11, 3.18, 3.20, 4.3, 4.6, 5.16, 8.3, 11.8, 11.9, 12.3, 12.28.1,
................................................................................................... 12.40 (Fig.2), 12.40 (Diag. 7), 13.3, 14.3, 14.9, 15.7, 15.8
Violent conduct ............................................................................ 12.6 (passim), 12.29, Part C (passim), 12.33-12.35, 15.8
Missed assistant referee signals ........................................................................................................................................... 6.4
Mistaken ending .................................................................................................................................................................... 7.3
“Natural Positions”............................................................................................................................................................ 19.7
No goal directly from a throw-in ........................................................................................................................................ 15.6
Number of players................................................................................................................... Law 3 (passim), 5.12, 8.3, 12.24
Objects thrown onto the field .............................................................................................................................................. 19.6
Obvious goalscoring opportunity ........................................................................................5.3, 10.4, 12.29, 12.36-12.40, 16.3
Offside
Active involvement ................................................................................................................................ 6.5, 11.3-11.7, 11.13
Becoming “onside” ....................................................................................................................................................... 11.14
Defender legally of the field of play .............................................................................................................................. 11.11
Illustrations of “not offside” ......................................................................................................................................... 11.15
Diagram for Offside Decisions ..................................................................................................................................... 11.16
Interfering with an opponent .............................................................................................................................................. 11.4
Interfering with play........................................................................................................................................................ 11.5
Leaving the field to avoid offside ............................................................................................................................11.8, 11.9
Location of the restart for offside ..........................................................................................................................11.3, 11.13
Offside decision ............................................................................................................................................................... 11.7
Offside position ..............................................................................................................................................11.1, 11.2, 11.7
Opposing attacker enters the goal ................................................................................................................................ 11.12
Putting an opponent in an offside position unfairly ...................................................................................................... 11.10
Returning to the field to play the ball .............................................................................................................................. 11.9
Opponent behavior at a throw-in........................................................................................................................................ 15.7
Opponents must remain outside the penalty area ............................................................................................................... 13.6
Opposing attacker enters the goal .................................................................................................................................... 11.12
Other violations at a penalty kick ..................................................................................................................................... 14.11
Outside interference and restart .................................................................................................. 1.8, 3.17-3.20, 9.2,10.7, 14.7
Own goal............................................................................................................................................................10.6, 16.3, 17.5
Penalty kick defined ............................................................................................................................................................ 14.1
Penalty kicks at the end of the half ..................................................................................................................................... 14.8
Persistent infringement ...................................................................................................................................................12.28.3
Placement of the ball .........................................................................................................................................14.2, 16.1, 17.1
Player count..................................................................................................................................................................3.17, 8.3
Player modifications to the field ........................................................................................................................................... 1.6
Players’ equipment ......................................................................................................................................................... 4.1-4.6
Playing distance ........................................................................................................................................... 12.14, 12.15.12.22
Playing in a dangerous manner ........................................................................................................................................ 12.13
Pregame conference ......................................................................................................................... 1.8, 4.6, 5.3, 5.8, 6.8, 19.3
Preventing the goalkeeper from releasing the ball into play ......................................................... 12.17, 12.18, 12.23, 12.28.1
Properly taken throw-in ....................................................................................................................... 12.28.4, 15.3, 15.4, 19.7
Putting an opponent in an offside position unfairly .......................................................................................................... 11.10
Quick free kick ........................................................................................................................ 13.4 (see also 12.26, 13.2, 13.8)
Reckless ................................................................................................................ 12.2, 12.3, 12.5, 12.7, 12.22, 12.23, 12.28.1
Reduce to Equate ...................................................................................................................................... 3.12, 19.1, 19.2, 19.3
Referee uniform .................................................................................................................................................................... 5.1
Referee’s authority................................................................................................................................................................ 5.2
Referee’s signals ................................................................................................................................................................... 5.4
Required distance for opponents ............................... 12.28.5, 13.2, 13.3, 13.7, 13.4, 13.6, 13.7, 14.3, 14.9, 14.10, 15.7, 16.4
Restarts
Common elements ............................................................................................................................................................. 8.6
For infringements of Law 3 ...............................................................................................................................Law 3 passim
For infringements of Law 14 ........................................................................................................................................... 14.9
For misconduct ............................................................................................................................................................. 12.25
For violent conduct ....................................................................................................................................................... 12.35
If ball leaves field from a corner kick.............................................................................................................................. 17.4
Within the goal area ........................................................................................................................................................ 13.4
Retaking the penalty kick .......................................................................................................... 14.5 (see also 14.3, 14.7, 14.9)
Return after bleeding or equipment remedy ................................................... 3.3, 3.13, 3.16, 3.17, 3.20(a), 5.8, 12.28.6, 19.2
Return after injury ............................................................................................... 3.3, 3.12, 3.13, 3.16, 3.20, 5.9, 12.28.6, 19.1
Returning to the field to play the ball ................................................................................................................................. 11.9
Rules of Competition........................................................................................................................... 3.1, 3.5, 3.18©, 7.5, 19.5
Safety .......................................................................................................................................................................1.2, 1.3, 4.2
Scoring directly from a goal kick ........................................................................................................................................ 16.3
Second touch by the goalkeeper........................................................................................................................................ 12.19
Sending-off offenses ................................................................................................................................................ 12.29-12.40
Serious foul play ................................................................................................................ 12.3, Part C (passim), 12.33, 12.35
Signal for indirect free kick ................................................................................................................................................ 13.9
Signaling a goal .................................................................................................................................................................. 10.2
Simultaneous fouls ................................................................................................................................................................ 8.5
Simultaneous touches............................................................................................................................................................ 9.3
Spectator blows a whistle ..................................................................................................................................................... 9.2
Stoppage for misconduct...........................................................................................................................................12.25, 13.8
Stopping play before a possible goal ..........................................................................................................................10.2, 10.3
Striking .......................................................................................................................................................................12.6, 15.8
Substitutes ............................................................................................................................................................................. 3.1
Substitution procedure .......................................................................................................................................................... 3.4
Terminating a match ................................................................................................................................... 3.20, 5.11, 7.5, 19.2
Throw-in strikes an opponent ............................................................................................................................................. 15.8
Tied score ........................................................................................................................................................................... 10.8
Time wasting the by kicking team (goal kick) ..................................................................................................................... 16.5
Too many substitutions ......................................................................................................................................................... 3.7
Trickery ...............................................................................................................................................................12.21, 12.28.1
Trifling infractions .................................................................................... 5.5, 5.6, 5.7, 6.3, 8.3, 12.27, 13.3, 14.10, 15.4, 15.5
Tripping .............................................................................................................................................................................. 12.4
Unauthorized marks.................................................................................................................................................1.6, 12.28.1
Unfair advantage ............................................................................................. 1.6, 3.5, 4.3, 4.9, 11.9, 12.3, 12.9, 12.28.7.19.7
Unsporting behavior .......................................1.6, 3.11, 3.18, 4.3, 4.6,5.16, 8.3,11.2, 11.8,11.9 (passim), 12.3, 12.8, 12.28.1,
........................................................................................ 12.37, 12.40 (Fig.2), 12.40 (Diag. 7), 13.3, 14.3, 14.9, 15.7, 15.8
Use of the shoulder ...................................................................................................................... 12.5, 12.6, 12.9, 12.10, 12.11
Use of the whistle ................................................................................. 5.4, 5.9, 5.14, 8.3, 8.4, 9.1, 9.2, 10.1, 10.3, 12.25, 13.3
Violent conduct ............................................................................... 12.6 (passim), 12.29, Part C (passim), 12.33- 12.35, 15.8
Water containers on the field .............................................................................................................................................. 19.4
Wearing uniforms ................................................................................................................................................................. 4.1
What is a foul? .................................................................................................................................................................... 12.1
When the penalty kick may be taken ................................................................................................................................... 14.3
Whistle from an adjacent field .............................................................................................................................................. 9.7
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