17 Laws of the Game
(as last defined by FIFA 2017)
(See following link for full definitions http://www.fifa.com/mm/document/footballdevelopment/refereeing/02/79/92/44/laws.of.the.game.2016.2017_neutral.pdf)
Law 1 – The Field of Play
1. Field surface The field of play must be a wholly natural or, if competition rules permit, a wholly artificial playing surface except where competition rules permit an integrated combination of artificial and natural materials (hybrid system). The colour of artificial surfaces must be green. Where artificial surfaces are used in competition matches between representative teams of national football associations affiliated to FIFA or international club competition matches, the surface must meet the requirements of the FIFA Quality Programme for Football Turf or the International Match Standard, unless special dispensation is given by The IFAB. 2. Field markings The field of play must be rectangular and marked with continuous lines which must not be dangerous. These lines belong to the areas of which they are boundaries. Only the lines indicated in Law 1 are to be marked on the field of play. The two longer boundary lines are touchlines. The two shorter lines are goal lines. The field of play is divided into two halves by a halfway line, which joins the midpoints of the two touchlines. The centre mark is at the midpoint of the halfway line. A circle with a radius of 9.15 m (10 yds) is marked around it. The Field of Play 20 Marks may be made off the field of play 9.15 m (10 yds) from the corner arc at right angles to the goal lines and the touchlines. All lines must be of the same width, which must not be more than 12 cm (5 ins). The goal lines must be of the same width as the goalposts and the crossbar. Where artificial surfaces are used, other lines are permitted provided they are a different colour and clearly distinguishable from the football lines. A player who makes unauthorised marks on the field of play must be cautioned for unsporting behaviour. If the referee notices this being done during the match, the player is cautioned when the ball next goes out of play. 3. Dimensions The touchline must be longer than the goal line. • Length (touchline): minimum 90 m (100 yds) maximum 120 m (130 yds) • Length (goal line): minimum 45 m (50 yds) maximum 90 m (100 yds) 4. Dimensions for international matches • Length (touchline): minimum 100 m (100 yds) maximum 110 m (120 yds) • Length (goal line): minimum 64 m (70 yds) maximum 75 m (80 yds) Competitions may determine the length of the goal line and touchline within the above dimensions.
Law 2 – The Ball
1. Qualities and measurements All balls must be: • spherical • made of suitable material • of a circumference of between 70 cm (28 ins) and 68 cm (27 ins) • between 450 g (16 oz) and 410 g (14 oz) in weight at the start of the match • of a pressure equal to 0.6 – 1.1 atmosphere (600 – 1,100 g/cm2) at sea level (8.5lbs/sq in – 15.6 lbs/sq in) All balls used in matches played in an official competition organised under the auspices of FIFA or confederations must bear one of the following: Balls carrying previous quality marks such as “FIFA Approved”, “FIFA Inspected” or “International Matchball Standard” may be used in aforementioned competitions until 31 July 2017. Each mark indicates that it has been officially tested and meets the specific technical requirements for that mark which are additional to the minimum specifications stipulated in Law 2 and must be approved by The IFAB. The institutes conducting the tests are subject to the approval of FIFA.
Law 3 – The Players
1. Number of players A match is played by two teams, each with a maximum of eleven players; one must be the goalkeeper. A match may not start or continue if either team has fewer than seven players. If a team has fewer than seven players because one or more players has deliberately left the field of play, the referee is not obliged to stop play and the advantage may be played, but the match must not resume after the ball has gone out of play if a team does not have the minimum number of seven players. If the competition rules state that all players and substitutes must be named before kick-off and a team starts a match with fewer than eleven players, only the players and substitutes named in the starting line-up may take part in the match upon their arrival.
Law 4 – The Player’s Equipment
Safety A player must not use equipment or wear anything that is dangerous. All items of jewellery (necklaces, rings, bracelets, earrings, leather bands, rubber bands, etc.) are forbidden and must be removed. Using tape to cover jewellery is not permitted. The players must be inspected before the start of the match and substitutes before they enter the field of play. If a player is wearing or using unauthorised/ dangerous equipment or jewellery the referee must order the player to: • remove the item • leave the field of play at the next stoppage if the player is unable or unwilling to comply A player who refuses to comply or wears the item again must be cautioned. 2. Compulsory equipment The compulsory equipment of a player comprises the following separate items: • a shirt with sleeves • shorts • socks – tape or any material applied or worn externally must be the same colour as that part of the sock it is applied to or covers • shinguards – these must be made of a suitable material to provide reasonable protection and covered by the socks • footwear Goalkeepers may wear tracksuit bottoms.
Law 5 – The Referee
. The authority of the referee Each match is controlled by a referee who has full authority to enforce the Laws of the Game in connection with the match. 2. Decisions of the referee Decisions will be made to the best of the referee`s ability according to the Laws of the Game and the ‘spirit of the game’ and will be based on the opinion of the referee who has the discretion to take appropriate action within the framework of the Laws of the Game. The decisions of the referee regarding facts connected with play, including whether or not a goal is scored and the result of the match, are final. The referee may not change a decision on realising that it is incorrect or on the advice of another match official if play has restarted or the referee has signalled the end of the first or second half (including extra time) and left the field of play or terminated the match. If a referee is incapacitated, play may continue under the supervision of the other match officials until the ball is next out of play. 3. Powers and duties The referee: • enforces the Laws of the Game • controls the match in cooperation with the other match officials • acts as timekeeper, keeps a record of the match and provides the appropriate authorities with a match report, including information on disciplinary action and any other incidents that occurred before, during or after the match • supervises and/or indicates the restart of play
Law 6 – The Other Match Officials
Other match officials (two assistant referees, fourth official, two additional assistant referees and reserve assistant referee) may be appointed to matches. They will assist the referee in controlling the match in accordance with the Laws of the Game but the final decision will always be taken by the referee. The match officials operate under the direction of the referee. In the event of undue interference or improper conduct, the referee will relieve them of their duties and make a report to the appropriate authorities. With the exception of the reserve assistant referee, they assist the referee with offences and infringements when they have a clearer view than the referee and they must submit a report to the appropriate authorities on any serious misconduct or other incident that occurred out of the view of the referee and the other match officials. They must advise the referee and other match officials of any report being made. The match officials assist the referee with inspecting the field of play, the balls and players’ equipment (including if problems have been resolved) and maintaining records of time, goals, misconduct etc. Competition rules must state clearly who replaces a match official who is unable to start or continue and any associated changes. In particular, it must be clear whether, if the referee is unable to start or continue, the fourth official or the senior assistant referee or senior additional assistant referee takes over
Law 7 – The Duration of the Match
Periods of play A match lasts for two equal halves of 45 minutes which may only be reduced if agreed between the referee and the two teams before the start of the match and is in accordance with competition rules. 2. Half-time interval Players are entitled to an interval at half-time, not exceeding 15 minutes. Competition rules must state the duration of the half-time interval and it may be altered only with the referee’s permission. 3. Allowance for time lost Allowance is made by the referee in each half for all time lost in that half through: • substitutions • assessment and/or removal of injured players • wasting time • disciplinary sanctions • stoppages for drinks or other medical reasons permitted by competition rules • any other cause, including any significant delay to a restart (e.g. goal celebrations) The fourth official indicates the minimum additional time decided by the referee at the end of the final minute of each half. The additional time may be increased by the referee but not reduced. The referee must not compensate for a timekeeping error during the first half by changing the length of the second half.
Law 8 – The Start and Restart of Play
A kick-off starts both halves of a match, both halves of extra time and restarts play after a goal has been scored. Free kicks (direct or indirect), penalty kicks, throw-ins, goal kicks and corner kicks are other restarts (see Laws 13 – 17). A dropped ball is the restart when the referee stops play and the Law does not require one of the above restarts. If an infringement occurs when the ball is not in play this does not change how play is restarted. 1. Kick-off Procedure • the team that wins the toss of a coin decides which goal it will attack in the first half • their opponents take the kick-off • the team that wins the toss takes the kick-off to start the second half • for the second half, the teams change ends and attack the opposite goals • after a team scores a goal, the kick-off is taken by their opponents For every kick-off: • all players must be in their own half of the field of play • the opponents of the team taking the kick-off must be at least 9.15 m (10 yds) from the ball until it is in play • the ball must be stationary on the centre mark • the referee gives a signal • the ball is in play when it is kicked and clearly moves • a goal may be scored directly against the opponents from the kick-off
Law 9 – The Ball In and Out of Play
Ball out of play The ball is out of play when: • it has wholly passed over the goal line or touchline on the ground or in the air • play has been stopped by the referee 2. Ball in play The ball is in play at all other times, including when it rebounds off a match official, goalpost, crossbar or corner flagpost and remains in the field of play
Law 10 – Determining the outcome of a match
Goal scored A goal is scored when the whole of the ball passes over the goal line, between the goalposts and under the crossbar, provided that no offence or infringement of the Laws of the Game has been committed by the team scoring the goal. If a referee signals a goal before the ball has passed wholly over the goal line, play is restarted with a dropped ball. 2. Winning team The team scoring the greater number of goals is the winner. If both teams score no goals or an equal number of goals the match is drawn. When competition rules require a winning team after a drawn match or homeand-away tie, the only permitted procedures to determine the winning team are: • away goals rule • extra time • kicks from the penalty mark 3. Kicks from the penalty mark Kicks from the penalty mark are taken after the match has ended and unless otherwise stated, the relevant Laws of the Game apply. Procedure Before kicks from the penalty mark start • Unless there are other considerations (e.g. ground conditions, safety etc.), the referee tosses a coin to decide the goal at which the kicks will be taken which may only be changed for safety reasons or if the goal or playing surface becomes unusable
Law 11 – Offside
Offside position It is not an offence to be in an offside position. A player is in an offside position if: • any part of the head, body or feet is in the opponents’ half (excluding the halfway line) and • any part of the head, body or feet is nearer to the opponents’ goal line than both the ball and the second-last opponent The hands and arms of all players, including the goalkeepers, are not considered. A player is not in an offside position if level with the: • second-last opponent or • last two opponents 2. Offside offence A player in an offside position at the moment the ball is played or touched by a team-mate is only penalised on becoming involved in active play by: • interfering with play by playing or touching a ball passed or touched by a team-mate or • interfering with an opponent by: Offside 78 • preventing an opponent from playing or being able to play the ball by clearly obstructing the opponent’s line of vision or • challenging an opponent for the ball or • clearly attempting to play a ball which is close to him when this action impacts on an opponent or • making an obvious action which clearly impacts on the ability of an opponent to play the ball or • gaining an advantage by playing the ball or interfering with an opponent when it has: • rebounded or been deflected off the goalpost, crossbar or an opponent • been deliberately saved by any opponent A player in an offside position receiving the ball from an opponent who deliberately plays the ball (except from a deliberate save by any opponent) is not considered to have gained an advantage. A ‘save’ is when a player stops a ball which is going into or very close to the goal with any part of the body except the hands (unless the goalkeeper within the penalty area). 3. No offence There is no offside offence if a player receives the ball directly from: • a goal kick • a throw-in • a corner kick
Law 12 – Fouls and Misconduct
Direct and indirect free kicks and penalty kicks can only be awarded for offences and infringements committed when the ball is in play. 1. Direct free kick A direct free kick is awarded if a player commits any of the following offences against an opponent in a manner considered by the referee to be careless, reckless or using excessive force: • charges • jumps at • kicks or attempts to kick • pushes • strikes or attempts to strike (including head-butt) • tackles or challenges • trips or attempts to trip If an offence involves contact it is penalised by a direct free kick or penalty kick. • Careless is when a player shows a lack of attention or consideration when making a challenge or acts without precaution. No disciplinary sanction is needed • Reckless is when a player acts with disregard to the danger to, or consequences for, an opponent and must be cautioned • Using excessive force is when a player exceeds the necessary use of force and endangers the safety of an opponent and must be sent off Fouls and Misconduct 82 A direct free kick is awarded if a player commits any of the following offences: • handles the ball deliberately (except for the goalkeeper within their penalty area) • holds an opponent • impedes an opponent with contact • spits at an opponent See also offences in Law 3 Handling the ball Handling the ball involves a deliberate act of a player making contact with the ball with the hand or arm. The following must be considered: • the movement of the hand towards the ball (not the ball towards the hand) • the distance between the opponent and the ball (unexpected ball) • the position of the hand does not necessarily mean that there is an infringement • touching the ball with an object held in the hand (clothing, shinguard, etc.) is an infringement • hitting the ball with a thrown object (boot, shinguard, etc.) is an infringement The goalkeeper has the same restrictions on handling the ball as any other player outside the penalty area. Inside their penalty area, the goalkeeper cannot be guilty of a handling offence incurring a direct free kick or any related sanction but can be guilty of handling offences that incur an indirect free kick.
Law 13 – Free Kicks
Types of free kick Direct and indirect free kicks are awarded to the opposing team of a player guilty of an offence or infringement. Indirect free kick signal The referee indicates an indirect free kick by raising the arm above the head; this signal is maintained until the kick has been taken and the ball touches another player or goes out of play. An indirect free kick must be retaken if the referee fails to signal that the kick is indirect and the ball is kicked directly into the goal. Ball enters the goal • if a direct free kick is kicked directly into the opponents’ goal, a goal is awarded • if an indirect free kick is kicked directly into the opponents’ goal, a goal kick is awarded • if a direct or indirect free kick is kicked directly into the team’s own goal, a corner kick is awarded 2. Procedure All free kicks are taken from the place where the infringement occurred, except: • indirect free kicks to the attacking team for an offence inside the opponents’ goal area are taken from the nearest point on the goal area line which runs parallel to the goal line • free kicks to the defending team in their goal area may be taken from anywhere in that area Free Kicks 92 • free kicks for offences involving a player entering, re-entering or leaving the field of play without permission are taken from the position of the ball when play was stopped. However, if a player leaves the field of play as part of play and commits an offence
against another player, play is restarted with a free kick taken on the boundary line nearest to where the offence occurred; for direct free kick offences a penalty kick is awarded if this is within the offender’s penalty area • the Law designates another position (see Laws 3, 11, 12) The ball: • must be stationary and the kicker must not touch the ball again until it has touched another player • is in play when it is kicked and clearly moves except for a free kick to the defending team in their penalty area where the ball is in play when it is kicked directly out of the penalty area Until the ball is in play all opponents must remain: • at least 9.15 m (10 yds) from the ball, unless they are on their own goal line between the goalposts • outside the penalty area for free kicks inside the opponents’ penalty area A free kick can be taken by lifting the ball with a foot or both feet simultaneously. Feinting to take a free kick to confuse opponents is permitted as part of football. If a player, while correctly taking a free kick, intentionally kicks the ball at an opponent in order to play the ball again but not in a careless or reckless manner or using excessive force, the referee allows play to continue.
Law 14 – The Penalty Kick
A penalty kick is awarded if a player commits a direct free kick offence inside their penalty area or off the field as part of play as outlined in Laws 12 and 13. A goal may be scored directly from a penalty kick. 1. Procedure The ball must be stationary on the penalty mark. The player taking the penalty kick must be properly identified. The defending goalkeeper must remain on the goal line, facing the kicker, between the goalposts until the ball has been kicked. The players other than the kicker and goalkeeper must be: • at least 9.15 m (10 yds) from the penalty mark • behind the penalty mark • inside the field of play • outside the penalty area After the players have taken positions in accordance with this Law, the referee signals for the penalty kick to be taken. The player taking the penalty kick must kick the ball forward; backheeling is permitted provided the ball moves forward. The ball is in play when it is kicked and clearly moves. The kicker must not play the ball again until it has touched another player. The penalty kick is completed when the ball stops moving, goes out of play or the referee stops play for any infringement of the Laws. Additional time is allowed for a penalty kick to be taken and completed at the end of each half of the match or extra time.
Law 15 – The Throw-In
A throw-in is awarded to the opponents of the player who last touched the ball when the whole of the ball passes over the touchline, on the ground or in the air. A goal cannot be scored directly from a throw-in: • if the ball enters the opponents’ goal – a goal kick is awarded • if the ball enters the thrower’s goal – a corner kick is awarded 1. Procedure At the moment of delivering the ball, the thrower must: • face the field of play • have part of each foot on the touchline or on the ground outside the touchline • throw the ball with both hands from behind and over the head from the point where it left the field of play All opponents must stand at least 2 m (2 yds) from the point at which the throw-in is taken. The ball is in play when it enters the field of play. If the ball touches the ground before entering, the throw-in is retaken by the same team from the same position. If the throw-in is not taken correctly it is retaken by the opposing team. If a player, while correctly taking a throw-in, intentionally throws the ball at an opponent in order to play the ball again but neither in a careless nor a reckless manner nor using excessive force, the referee allows play to continue. The thrower must not touch the ball again until it has touched another player
Law 16 – The Goal Kick
A goal kick is awarded when the whole of the ball passes over the goal line, on the ground or in the air, having last touched a player of the attacking team, and a goal is not scored. A goal may be scored directly from a goal kick, but only against the opposing team; if the ball directly enters the kicker’s goal a corner kick is awarded to the opponents if the ball left the penalty area. 1. Procedure • The ball must be stationary and is kicked from any point within the goal area by a player of the defending team • The ball is in play when it leaves the penalty area • Opponents must be outside the penalty area until the ball is in play 2. Infringements and sanctions If the ball does not leave the penalty area or is touched by a player before it leaves the penalty area the kick is retaken. If, after the ball is in play, the kicker touches the ball again before it has touched another player an indirect free kick is awarded; if the kicker deliberately handles the ball: • a direct free kick is awarded • a
penalty kick is awarded if the infringement occurred inside the kicker’s penalty area unless the kicker was the goalkeeper in which case an indirect free kick is awarded
Law 17 – The Corner Kick
A corner kick is awarded when the whole of the ball passes over the goal line, on the ground or in the air, having last touched a player of the defending team, and a goal is not scored. A goal may be scored directly from a corner kick, but only against the opposing team; if the ball directly enters the kicker’s goal a corner kick is awarded to the opponents. 1. Procedure • The ball must be placed in the corner area nearest to the point where the ball passed over the goal line • The ball must be stationary and is kicked by a player of the attacking team • The ball is in play when it is kicked and clearly moves; it does not need to leave the corner area • The corner flagpost must not be moved • Opponents must remain at least 9.15 m (10 yds) from the corner arc until the ball is in play 2. Infringements and sanctions If, after the ball is in play, the kicker touches the ball again before it has touched another player an indirect free kick is awarded; if the kicker deliberately handles the ball: • a direct free kick is awarded • a penalty kick is awarded if the infringement occurred inside the kicker’s penalty area unless the kicker was the goalkeeper in which case an indirect free kick is awarded