Laws of the Game - 1998

LAW 1 - The Field of Play

Dimensions

The field of play must be rectangular. The length of the touch line must be greater than the length of the goal line.

Length: minimum 90 m (100 yds)
maximum 120 m (130 yds)

Width: minimum 45 m (50 yds)
maximum 90 m (100 yds)

International Matches

Length: minimum 100 m (110 yds)
maximum 110 m (120 yds)

Width: minimum 64 m (70 yds)
maximum 75 m (80 yds)

Field Markings

The Goal Area

The Penalty Area

A penalty area is defined at each end of the field as follows:

Two lines are drawn at right angles to the goal line, 16.5 m (18 yds) from the inside of each goalpost. These lines extend into the field of play for a distance of 16.5 m (18 yds) and are joined by a line drawn parallel with the goal line. The area bounded by these lines and the goal line is the penalty area.

Within each penalty area a penalty mark is made 11 m (12 yds) from the midpoint between the goalposts and equidistant to them. An arc of a circle with a radius of 9.15 m (10 yds) from each penalty mark is drawn outside the penalty area.

Flagposts

The Corner Arc

Goals

Safety

The Field of Play

Corner Flagpost

Metric Measurements

Imperial Measurements

Decisions of the International F.A. Board

If the crossbar becomes displaced or broken, play is stopped until it has been repaired or replaced in position. If a repair is not possible, the match is abandoned. The use of a rope to replace the crossbar is not permitted. If the crossbar can be repaired, the match is restarted with a dropped ball at the place where the ball was located when play was stopped. * (see page 3)

Goalposts and crossbars must be made of wood, metal or other approved material. Their shape may be square, rectangular, round or elliptical and they must not be dangerous to players.

No kind of commercial advertising, whether real or virtual, is permitted on the field of play and field equipment (including the goal nets and the areas they enclose) from the time the teams enter the field of play until they have left it at half-time and from the time the teams re-enter the field of play until the end of the match. In particular, no advertising material of any kind may be displayed on goals, nets, flagposts or their flags. No extraneous equipment (cameras, microphones, etc.) may be attached to these items.

The reproduction, whether real or virtual, of representative logos or emblems of FIFA, confederations, national associations, leagues, clubs or other bodies, is forbidden on the field of play and field equipment (including the goal nets and the areas they enclose) during playing time, as described in Decision 3.

A mark may be made off the field of play, 9.15 metres (10 yds) from the corner arc and at right angles to the goal lines to ensure that this distance is observed when a corner kick is being taken.

LAW 2 - The Ball

Qualities and Measurements

The ball is:

Replacement of a Defective Ball

If the ball bursts or becomes defective during the course of a match:

If the ball bursts or becomes defective whilst not in play at a kick-off, goal kick, corner kick, free kick, penalty kick or throw-in:

The ball may not be changed during the match without the authority of the referee.

Decisions of the International F.A. Board

In competition matches, only footballs which meet the minimum technical requirements stipulated in Law 2 are permitted for use.

In FIFA competition matches, and in competition matches organised under the auspices of the confederations, acceptance of a football for use is conditional upon the football bearing one of the following three designations:

the official "FIFA APPROVED" logo,
or
the official "FIFA INSPECTED" logo,
or
the reference "International Matchball Standard"

Such a designation on a football indicates that it has been tested officially and found to be in compliance with specific technical requirements, different for each category and additional to the minimum specifications stipulated in Law 2. The list of the additional requirements specific to each of the respective categories must be approved by the International F.A. Board. The institutes conducting the tests are subject to the approval of FIFA.

National association competitions may require the use of balls bearing any one of these three designations.

In all other matches the ball used must satisfy the requirements of Law 2.

In FIFA competition matches and in competition matches organised under the auspices of the confederations and national associations, no kind of commercial advertising on the ball is permitted, except for the emblem of the competition, the competition organiser and the authorised trademark of the manufacturer. The competition regulations may restrict the size and number of such markings.

LAW 3 - The Number of Players

Players

Official Competitions

Other Matches

In other matches, up to five substitutes may be used, provided that:

If the referee is not informed, or if no agreement is reached before the start of the match, no more than three substitutes are allowed.

All Matches

In all matches the names of the substitutes must be given to the referee prior to the start of the match. Substitutes not so named may not take part in the match.

Substitution Procedure

To replace a player by a substitute, the following conditions must be observed:

Changing the Goalkeeper

Any of the other players may change places with the goalkeeper, provided that:

Infringements/Sanctions

If a substitute enters the field of play without the referee’s permission:

If a player changes places with the goalkeeper without the referee’s permission before the change is made:

For any other infringements of this Law:

Restart of Play

If play is stopped by the referee to administer a caution:

Players and Substitutes Sent Off

Decisions of the International F.A. Board

Subject to the overriding conditions of Law 3, the minimum number of players in a team is left to the discretion of national associations. The Board is of the opinion, however, that a match should not continue if there are fewer than seven players in either team.

The coach may convey tactical instructions to the players during the match. He and the other officials must remain within the confines of the technical area, where such an area is provided, and they must behave in a responsible manner.

LAW 4 - The Players’ Equipment

Safety

A player must not use equipment or wear anything which is dangerous to himself or another player (including any kind of jewellery).

Basic Equipment

The basic compulsory equipment of a player is:

Shinguards

Goalkeepers

Infringements/Sanctions

For any infringement of this Law:

A player who has been required to leave the field of play because of an infringement of this Law and who enters (or re-enters) the field of play without the referee’s permission is cautioned and shown the yellow card.

Restart of Play

If play is stopped by the referee to administer a caution:

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 to which he has been appointed.

Powers and Duties

The Referee:

Decisions of the Referee

The decisions of the referee regarding facts connected with play are final.

The referee may only change a decision on realising that it is incorrect or, at his discretion, on the advice of an assistant referee, provided that he has not restarted play.

Decisions of the International F.A. Board

Decision 1

A referee (or where applicable, an assistant referee or fourth official) is not held liable for:

  • a decision that the condition of the field of play or its surrounds or that the weather conditions are such as to allow or not to allow a match to take place
  • a decision to abandon a match for whatever reason
  • a decision as to the condition of the fixtures or equipment used during a match including the goalposts, crossbar, flagposts and the ball
  • a decision to stop or not to stop a match due to spectator interference or any problem in the spectator area
  • a decision to stop or not to stop play to allow an injured player to be removed from the field of play for treatment
  • a decision to request or insist that an injured player be removed from the field of play for treatment
  • a decision to allow or not to allow a player to wear certain apparel or equipment
  • a decision (in so far as this may be his responsibility) to allow or not to allow any persons (including team or stadium officials, security officers, photographers or other media representatives) to be present in the vicinity of the field of play
  • any other decision which he may take in accordance with the Laws of the Game or in conformity with his duties under the terms of FIFA, confederation, national association or league rules or regulations under which the match is played

In tournaments or competitions where a fourth official is appointed, his role and duties must be in accordance with the guidelines approved by the International F.A. Board.

Facts connected with play shall include whether a goal is scored or not and the result of the match.

LAW 6 - The Assistant Referees

Duties

Two assistant referees are appointed whose duties, subject to the decision of the referee, are to indicate:

Assistance

The assistant referees also assist the referee to control the match in accordance with the Laws of the Game.

In the event of undue interference or improper conduct, the referee will relieve an assistant referee of his duties and make a report to the appropriate authorities.

LAW 7 - The Duration of the Match

Periods of Play

The match lasts two equal periods of 45 minutes, unless otherwise mutually agreed between the referee and the two participating teams. Any agreement to alter the periods of play (for example to reduce each half to
40 minutes because of insufficient light) must be made before the start of play and must comply with competition rules.

Half-Time Interval

Allowance for Time Lost

Allowance is made in either period for all time lost through:

The allowance for time lost is at the discretion of the referee.

Penalty Kick

If a penalty kick has to be taken or retaken, the duration of either half is extended until the penalty kick is completed.

Extra Time

Competition rules may provide for two further equal periods to be played. The conditions of Law 8 will apply.

Abandoned Match

An abandoned match is replayed unless the competition rules provide otherwise.

LAW 8 - The Start and Restart of Play

Preliminaries

Kick-off

A kick-off is a way of starting or restarting play:

A goal may be scored directly from the kick-off.

Procedure

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

Infringements/Sanctions

If the kicker touches the ball a second time before it has touched another player:

For any other infringement of the kick-off procedure:

Dropped Ball

A dropped ball is a way of restarting the match after a temporary stoppage which becomes necessary, while the ball is in play, for any reason not mentioned elsewhere in the Laws of the Game.

Procedure

The referee drops the ball at the place where it was located when play was stopped. * (see page 3)

Play restarts when the ball touches the ground.

Infringements/Sanctions

The ball is dropped again:

Special Circumstances

A free kick awarded to the defending team inside its own goal area is taken from any point within the goal area.

An indirect free kick awarded to the attacking team in its opponents’ goal area is taken from the goal area line parallel to the goal line at the point nearest to where the infringement occurred.

A dropped ball to restart the match after play has been temporarily stopped inside the goal area takes place on the goal area line parallel to the goal line at the point nearest to where the ball was located when play was stopped.

LAW 9 - The Ball In and Out of Play

Ball Out of Play

The ball is out of play when:

Ball In Play

The ball is in play at all other times, including when:

LAW 10 - The Method of Scoring

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 infringement of the Laws of the Game has been committed previously by the team scoring the goal.

Winning Team

The team scoring the greater number of goals during a match is the winner. If both teams score an equal number of goals, or if no goals are scored, the match is drawn.

Competition Rules

For matches ending in a draw, competition rules may state provisions involving extra time, or other procedures approved by the International F.A. Board to determine the winner of a match.

LAW 11 - Offside

Offside Position

It is not an offence in itself to be in an offside position. 

A player is in an offside position if:

A player is not in an offside position if:

Offence

A player in an offside position is only penalised if, at the moment the ball touches or is played by one of his team, he is, in the opinion of the referee, involved in active play by:

No Offence

There is no offside offence if a player receives the ball directly from:

Infringements/Sanctions

For any offside offence, the referee awards an indirect free kick to the opposing team to be taken from the place where the infringement occurred. * (see page 3)

LAW 12 - Fouls and Misconduct

Fouls and misconduct are penalised as follows:

Direct Free Kick

A direct free kick is awarded to the opposing team if a player commits any of the following six offences in a manner considered by the referee to be careless, reckless or using excessive force:

A direct free kick is also awarded to the opposing team if a player commits any of the following four offences:

A direct free kick is taken from where the offence occurred. * (see page 3)

Penalty Kick

A penalty kick is awarded if any of the above ten offences is committed by a player inside his own penalty area, irrespective of the position of the ball, provided it is in play.

Indirect Free Kick

An indirect free kick is awarded to the opposing team if a goalkeeper, inside his own penalty area, commits any of the following five offences:

An indirect free kick is also awarded to the opposing team if a player, in the opinion of the referee:

The indirect free kick is taken from where the offence occurred. * (see page 3)

Disciplinary Sanctions

Cautionable Offences

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

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

Sending-Off Offences

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

Decisions of the International F.A. Board

A penalty kick is awarded if, while the ball is in play, the goalkeeper, inside his own penalty area, strikes or attempts to strike an opponent by throwing the ball at him.

A player who commits a cautionable or sending-off offence, either on or off the field of play, whether directed towards an opponent, a team-mate, the referee, an assistant referee or any other person, is disciplined according to the nature of the offence committed.

The goalkeeper is considered to be in control of the ball by touching it with any part of his hand or arms. Possession of the ball includes the goalkeeper deliberately parrying the ball, but does not include the circumstances where, in the opinion of the referee, the ball rebounds accidentally from the goalkeeper, for example after he has made a save.

The goalkeeper is considered to be guilty of time-wasting if he holds the ball in his hands or arms for more than 5-6 seconds.

Subject to the terms of Law 12, a player may pass the ball to his own goalkeeper using his head or chest or knee, etc. If, however, in the opinion of the referee, a player uses a deliberate trick while the ball is in play in order to circumvent the Law, the player is guilty of unsporting behaviour. He is cautioned, shown the yellow card and an indirect free kick is awarded to the opposing team from the place where the infringement occurred. * (see page 3)

A player using a deliberate trick to circumvent the Law while he is taking a free kick, is cautioned for unsporting behaviour and shown the yellow card. The free kick is retaken.

In such circumstances, it is irrelevant whether the goalkeeper subsequently touches the ball with his hands or not. The offence is committed by the player in attempting to circumvent both the letter and the spirit of Law 12.

A tackle from behind, which endangers the safety of an opponent, must be sanctioned as serious foul play.

LAW 13 - Free Kicks

Types of Free Kicks

Free kicks are either direct or indirect.

For both direct and indirect free kicks, the ball must be stationary when the kick is taken and the kicker does not touch the ball a second time until it has touched another player.

The Direct Free Kick

The Indirect Free Kick

Signal

The referee indicates an indirect free kick by raising his arm above his head. He maintains his arm in that position until the kick has been taken and the ball has touched another player or goes out of play.

Ball Enters the Goal

A goal can be scored only if the ball subsequently touches another player before it enters the goal.

Position of Free Kick

Free Kick Inside the Penalty Area

Direct or indirect free kick to the defending team:

Indirect free kick to the attacking team:

Free Kick Outside the Penalty Area

Infringements/Sanctions

If, when a free kick is taken, an opponent is closer to the ball than the required distance:

If, when a free kick is taken by the defending team from inside its own penalty area, the ball is not kicked directly into play:

Free kick taken by a player other than the goalkeeper

If, after the ball is in play, the kicker touches the ball a second time (except with his hands) before it has touched another player:

If, after the ball is in play, the kicker deliberately handles the ball before it has touched another player:

Free kick taken by the goalkeeper

If, after the ball is in play, the goalkeeper touches the ball a second time (except with his hands), before it has touched another player:

If, after the ball is in play, the goalkeeper deliberately handles the ball before it has touched another player:

LAW 14 - The Penalty Kick

A penalty kick is awarded against a team which commits one of the ten offences for which a direct free kick is awarded, inside its own penalty area and while the ball is in play.

A goal may be scored directly from a penalty kick.

Additional time is allowed for a penalty kick to be taken at the end of each half or at the end of periods of extra time.

Position of the Ball and the Players

The ball:

The player taking the penalty kick:

The defending goalkeeper:

The players other than the kicker are located:

The Referee

Procedure

When a penalty kick is taken during the normal course of play, or time has been extended at half-time or full time to allow a penalty kick to be taken or retaken, a goal is awarded if, before passing between the goalposts and under the crossbar:

Infringements/Sanctions

If the referee gives the signal for a penalty kick to be taken and, before the ball is in play, one of the following situations occurs:

The player taking the penalty kick infringes the Laws of the Game:

The goalkeeper infringes the Laws of the Game:

A team-mate of the player taking the kick enters the penalty area or moves in front of or within 9.15 m (10 yds) of the penalty mark:

A team-mate of the goalkeeper enters the penalty area or moves in front of or within 9.15 m (10 yds) of the penalty mark:

A player of both the defending team and the attacking team infringe the Laws of the Game:

If, after the penalty kick has been taken:

The kicker touches the ball a second time (except with his hands) before it has touched another player:

The kicker deliberately handles the ball before it has touched another player:

The ball is touched by an outside agent as it moves forward:

The ball rebounds into the field of play from the goalkeeper, the crossbar or the goalposts, and is then touched by an outside agent:

LAW 15 - The Throw-In

A throw-in is a method of restarting play.

A goal cannot be scored directly from a throw-in.

A throw-in is awarded:

Procedure

At the moment of delivering the ball, the thrower:

The thrower may not touch the ball again until it has touched another player.

The ball is in play immediately it enters the field of play.

Infringements/Sanctions

Throw-in taken by a player other than the goalkeeper

If, after the ball is in play, the thrower touches the ball a second time (except with his hands) before it has touched another player:

If, after the ball is in play, the thrower deliberately handles the ball before it has touched another player:

Throw-in taken by the goalkeeper

If, after the ball is in play, the goalkeeper touches the ball a second time (except with his hands), before it has touched another player:

If, after the ball is in play, the goalkeeper deliberately handles the ball before it has touched another player:

If an opponent unfairly distracts or impedes the thrower:

For any other infringement of this Law:

LAW 16 - The Goal Kick

A goal kick is a method of restarting play.

A goal may be scored directly from a goal kick, but only against the opposing team.

 

A goal kick is awarded when:

Procedure

Infringements/Sanctions

If the ball is not kicked directly into play beyond the penalty area:

Goal kick taken by a player other than the goalkeeper

If, after the ball is in play, the kicker touches the ball a second time (except with his hands) before it has touched another player:

If, after the ball is in play, the kicker deliberately handles the ball before it has touched another player:

Goal kick taken by the goalkeeper

If, after the ball is in play, the goalkeeper touches the ball a second time (except with his hands) before it has touched another player:

If, after the ball is in play, the goalkeeper deliberately handles the ball before it has touched another player:

For any other infringement of this Law:

LAW 17 - The Corner Kick

A corner kick is a method of restarting play.

A goal may be scored directly from a corner kick, but only against the opposing team.

A corner kick is awarded when:

Procedure

Infringements/Sanctions

Corner kick taken by a player other than the goalkeeper

If, after the ball is in play, the kicker touches the ball a second time (except with his hands) before it has touched another player:

If, after the ball is in play, the kicker deliberately handles the ball before it has touched another player:

Corner kick taken by the goalkeeper

If, after the ball is in play, the goalkeeper touches the ball a second time (except with his hands) before it has touched another player:

If, after the ball is in play, the goalkeeper deliberately handles the ball before it has touched another player:

For any other infringement:


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