What is Not Allowed in Soccer? Game Rules Explained

  • By: Dale Horton
  • Time to read: 19 min.
Dale Horton
Dale Horton, the driving force behind Crossfire United ECNL, is a seasoned leader in youth soccer development. With a wealth of coaching experience and a passion for nurturing talent, Dale founded Crossfire United ECNL to create a soccer environment that goes beyond the pitch. His vision extends beyond victories, focusing on character development, leadership, and fostering a love for the beautiful game.

In order to ensure fair play, soccer has specific rules that outline what actions are not allowed. These rules are enforced by referees, who can penalize players for various offenses. The penalties may range from a free kick to a caution (yellow card) to expulsion (red card). The referee has the final say in determining what constitutes a foul.

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Some common fouls include kicking an opponent, tripping, charging into an opponent, and touching the ball with your hands (unless you are the goalkeeper). Violating these rules can result in penalties and disciplinary action.

Key Takeaways:

  • Understanding the rules of soccer is important to ensure fair play and avoid penalties.
  • Fouls such as kicking an opponent, tripping, and touching the ball with your hands are not allowed.
  • Referees have the authority to penalize players with yellow and red cards for violating the rules.
  • Disciplinary actions can range from free kicks to expulsion from the game.
  • By following the rules, players can enjoy the sport while promoting sportsmanship and respect for fellow athletes.

Types of Fouls and Penalties in Soccer

In soccer, there are different types of fouls, each carrying its own penalty. Understanding these fouls is essential for players and fans alike to grasp the dynamics of the game. Here are some common fouls and their corresponding penalties:

Direct Free Kick

This is awarded to the opposing team when a foul is committed. The fouled team can take a direct shot at the goal without any intervening touches by other players.

Indirect Free Kick

An indirect free kick is awarded when less serious fouls occur. The ball must touch another player before a goal can be scored.

FoulPenalty
Kicking an opponentDirect free kick or penalty kick if committed within the penalty box.
Tripping an opponentDirect or indirect free kick, depending on the severity.
Charging into an opponentDirect or indirect free kick, depending on the severity.
Touching the ball with hands (unless you are the goalkeeper)Indirect free kick

Repeated fouls or unsportsmanlike behavior can result in receiving a caution (yellow card) from the referee. If a player receives a second yellow card or commits a particularly serious offense, they will receive an expulsion (red card) and be sent off the field. These disciplinary measures aim to maintain fairness and sportsmanship in the game.

Actions Not Allowed in Soccer

When playing soccer, it is essential to be aware of the actions that are not allowed, as they can result in fouls and penalties. Engaging in these prohibited moves hinders fair play and can lead to disciplinary measures. Here are some of the actions that are not allowed in soccer:

  1. Kicking an opponent: Deliberately kicking or attempting to kick an opponent is considered a foul.
  2. Tripping: Tripping an opponent, whether it’s with your foot or any other part of your body, is strictly prohibited.
  3. Jumping into an opponent: Launching yourself into an opponent, either with or without contact, is not allowed and can be dangerous.
  4. Charging into an opponent: Charging or running into an opponent in a reckless or aggressive manner is considered a foul.
  5. Pushing: Pushing or shoving an opponent with excessive force can result in a foul.
  6. Tackling from behind: Tackling an opponent from behind, especially when they are not in possession of the ball, is illegal and can cause injury.
  7. Tackling an opponent before touching the ball: Engaging in a tackle or challenge against an opponent before making contact with the ball is not allowed.
  8. Holding: Grabbing, holding, or restraining an opponent, impeding their movement, is considered a foul.
  9. Touching the ball with your hands: Players, except for the designated goalkeeper, are prohibited from touching the ball intentionally with their hands.

It is crucial for players to abide by these rules and avoid engaging in actions that are not allowed in soccer. By playing within the boundaries of fair play and sportsmanship, we can enjoy the beautiful game while fostering a safe and respectful environment for all.

Caution (Yellow Card) and Expulsion (Red Card) in Soccer

In the game of soccer, the referee plays a crucial role in maintaining fairness and order on the field. Part of their responsibility includes issuing disciplinary actions in the form of cautions and expulsions. These measures help ensure that players adhere to the rules and promote sportsmanship throughout the game.

The yellow card serves as a cautionary measure for players who engage in unsportsmanlike behavior, argue with the referee, foul excessively, delay the game, or enter/leave the field without the referee’s permission. When a player receives a yellow card, it serves as a warning, indicating that their actions are not in line with the spirit of the game.

The red card is a more severe form of disciplinary action and results in the expulsion of a player from the game. It is given for offenses such as committing a serious foul, engaging in violent actions against players or the referee, using hands to stop a goal (when not the goalkeeper), using offensive language, or receiving a second caution after already being issued a yellow card. When a player is shown a red card, they must leave the field immediately and their team must continue the game with one player less.

These measures of caution and expulsion play a vital role in maintaining the integrity of the game and ensuring fair play. By enforcing these disciplinary actions, referees uphold the rules of soccer and help create an environment that is respectful, competitive, and enjoyable for all involved.

Caution (Yellow Card)Expulsion (Red Card)
Issued as a warning for unsportsmanlike behavior, arguing with the referee, fouling excessively, delaying the game, or entering/leaving the field without permission.Given for more serious offenses, such as a serious foul, violent actions against players or the referee, using hands to stop a goal (when not the goalkeeper), using offensive language, or receiving a second caution.
The player remains in the game but should be cautious to avoid further violations.The player is expelled from the game and their team continues with one player less.

Goalkeeper Rules and Fouls in Soccer

Goalkeepers play a vital role in soccer, but they also have specific rules and fouls that apply to them. Understanding these rules is crucial for both goalkeepers and their teams. Here are some important guidelines for goalkeepers:

Goalkeeper Actions Not Allowed:

  • Holding the ball for more than 6 seconds: Goalkeepers must release the ball within 6 seconds of gaining control. Failure to do so will result in a foul and a free kick for the opposing team.
  • Touching the ball again after a teammate kicks it: Once a teammate has kicked the ball to the goalkeeper, they cannot touch it again with their hands. If they do, it will be considered a foul, and the opposing team will be awarded a free kick.
  • Touching the ball with hands after a throw-in: If a teammate throws the ball into play via a throw-in, the goalkeeper cannot touch the ball with their hands directly. Doing so will result in a foul and a free kick for the opposing team.

It’s important to note that goalkeepers are not exempt from following the same rules as other players in soccer. They cannot use their hands for actions that are not allowed in the game, such as intentionally handling the ball outside their designated area.

As a goalkeeper, understanding and adhering to these rules will help you avoid fouls and contribute to a fair and exciting game. It’s also crucial to communicate with your teammates to ensure everyone is on the same page regarding these goalkeeper-specific rules.

Laws of the Game in Soccer

In the world of soccer, the laws of the game are maintained and updated by the International Football Association Board (IFAB). These laws act as the foundation for the sport, governing various aspects of the game that ensure fair play and a consistent understanding among players, coaches, and referees. Familiarizing ourselves with these laws is essential for both enjoying the game and promoting sportsmanship on and off the field.

The Field of Play

Before delving into the rules and regulations, let’s begin with the soccer field itself. The field of play must be rectangular in shape, with specific dimensions for the touchlines (sidelines) and goal lines. The length and width of the field should meet certain standards, providing consistency across different matches and competitions. There are markings on the field, including the center point, center circle, goal box, penalty box, and corner flags, that help define various areas of play.

The Ball

A soccer ball has a distinct appearance and set of specifications. It should be spherical in shape and made of leather or a comparable material. The circumference of the ball typically ranges from 27 to 28 inches, ensuring uniformity in size and construction. Different variations of soccer balls may be used for various age groups and playing conditions, but they must still adhere to the standards set forth by the governing bodies of the game.

The Number of Players

Each soccer team is composed of 11 players, including the goalkeeper. The number of players on the field can significantly impact the dynamics of the game, as teams strategize and coordinate their movements to achieve success. However, if a team is unable to field at least seven players, they may be forced to forfeit the game. Additionally, FIFA-sanctioned matches generally allow three substitutions per game, providing teams with the opportunity to make tactical changes or respond to injuries.

Players’ Equipment

Players’ equipment in soccer is regulated to ensure safety and fairness. It is mandatory for all players to wear jerseys, shorts, shin guards, socks, and cleats. Referees have the authority to inspect players’ equipment and temporarily send them off the field if it does not meet the required standards. Proper equipment not only helps protect players from injuries but also contributes to the overall aesthetics and professionalism of the game.

Role of the Referee

Referees play a crucial role in enforcing the laws of the game and maintaining order on the field. They have the final say in decision-making and are responsible for ensuring fair play. Referees have the authority to issue penalties, award free kicks or penalties, caution players, or even expel players from the game for serious misconduct. They rely on their judgment, knowledge of the game, and assistance from assistant referees to make accurate calls.

Duration of the Match

A standard soccer match is divided into two halves, typically lasting 45 minutes each. These halves are separated by a halftime interval, during which players can rest and regroup. However, the actual time played may be extended due to stoppages and added time determined by the referee. Matches that result in a tie or require a winner may enter additional periods of extra time or a penalty shootout, depending on the competition’s rules.

Start and Restart of Play

The start and restart of play in soccer follow specific protocols. The game kicks off at the start of each half from the center of the field. After a goal is scored, the team that conceded the goal restarts the game from the center as well. Other instances of restarting play include throw-ins, goal kicks, and corner kicks, each of which has its own procedures and requirements.

Methods of Scoring

The ultimate objective in soccer is, of course, to score goals. A goal is scored when the entire ball crosses the goal line between the goalposts and underneath the crossbar, provided no infringements or fouls have occurred. The team with the most goals at the end of the game is declared the winner.

LawDescription
Law 1The Field of Play
Law 2The Ball
Law 3The Number of Players
Law 4Players’ Equipment
Law 5The Referee
Law 6The Other Match Officials
Law 7The Duration of the Match
Law 8The Start and Restart of Play
Law 9The Ball In and Out of Play
Law 10The Method of Scoring

Understanding the laws of the game in soccer is crucial for players, coaches, and referees alike. By following these regulations, we can ensure fair play, sportsmanship, and an enjoyable experience for all involved. The laws and principles outlined by the governing bodies of soccer uphold the integrity of the sport and contribute to its rich history and global popularity.

The Field of Play in Soccer

When it comes to soccer, the field of play is a crucial element that must adhere to specific rules and regulations. Let’s explore the dimensions, markings, and rules that govern the soccer field.

Soccer Field Dimensions

The soccer field is rectangular in shape and must meet certain dimensions to ensure consistency across different matches and competitions. While the exact measurements may vary, the length of the field is typically between 100 and 130 yards, while the width ranges from 50 to 100 yards.

Soccer Field Markings

Various markings on the soccer field help dictate the gameplay and positions of players. Here are some key markings you’ll find on a soccer field:

  • Touchlines: These are the lines that run the length of the field and mark its boundaries.
  • Goal lines: Goal lines are located at each end of the field and indicate the area where goals can be scored.
  • Halfway line: This line divides the field into two equal halves, separating the teams’ territories.
  • Center circle: Located at the center of the field, the circle marks the spot where the game starts with a kick-off.
  • Goal box: Positioned in front of each goal, the goal box indicates the area from which goal kicks are taken.
  • Penalty box: The penalty box, also known as the 18-yard box, is the larger rectangular area adjacent to each goal. It is where penalties and certain free kicks are awarded.
  • Corner flags: Each corner of the soccer field is marked by a flag, indicating the spot where corner kicks are taken.

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Soccer Field Rules

In addition to the dimensions and markings, there are specific rules that govern the field of play in soccer. These rules ensure fair play and maintain the integrity of the game. Here are a few key field-related rules:

  1. Playing surface: Soccer can be played on natural grass or artificial turf, as long as the surface is green and meets safety standards.
  2. Out of bounds: The ball is considered out of bounds when it fully crosses the touchlines or goal lines.
  3. Offside rule: The offside rule comes into play when an attacking player is beyond the last defending player at the time the ball is played to them.

Soccer provides a thrilling experience for players and fans alike, and understanding the field of play is essential to fully enjoy the game. Now that we know the dimensions, markings, and rules that govern the soccer field, we can better appreciate the skill and strategy on display.

The Ball in Soccer

A soccer ball is an essential element of the game. It must meet specific specifications to ensure fairness and consistency. Here are the basic rules and requirements for soccer balls:

  • Spherical Shape: A soccer ball must be perfectly round, allowing for accurate play and predictable movement on the field.
  • Material: The ball should be made of leather or a comparable material that provides durability and good performance.
  • Circumference: The circumference of the ball typically ranges between 27 to 28 inches (68 to 70 centimeters). This standard size ensures uniformity and fairness in official matches.
  • Weight: The weight of a soccer ball should be around 14 to 16 ounces (400 to 450 grams). This weight allows for easy maneuverability and control.

It’s important to note that youth leagues may use smaller balls that are better suited for younger players. These specifications ensure that soccer balls have consistent quality and performance across different matches and competitions.

The Number of Players and Equipment in Soccer

In a game of soccer, each team typically consists of 11 players, including the goalkeeper. The number of players on the field is an important aspect of the game, as it determines the team’s composition and tactics. If a team fails to field at least seven players, they may be forced to forfeit the match.

FIFA-sanctioned matches generally allow for three substitutions per team per match, although there are exceptions for friendly matches. Substitutions provide teams with the opportunity to replace players who are injured, fatigued, or not performing well, allowing for fresh energy and tactical adjustments.

When it comes to equipment, soccer players are required to wear specific gear to ensure their safety and distinguish themselves on the field. The standard soccer player equipment includes:

  1. Jerseys: Players wear jerseys with distinct colors and numbers to identify themselves and their team.
  2. Shorts: Short, lightweight shorts are worn for ease of movement during the game.
  3. Shin Guards: Shin guards, typically made of a hard plastic shell with foam padding, are worn to protect the shins from injury during tackles and collisions.
  4. Socks: Long socks, usually reaching up to the knee, are worn to cover the shin guards and keep them in place.
  5. Cleats: Soccer players wear cleats, specialized shoes with studs on the sole, to provide traction and stability on the field.

It’s important for players to have appropriate and well-fitting equipment to ensure comfort and safety during the game. If a player’s equipment is deemed unsatisfactory or unsafe by the referee, they may be temporarily sent off the field until the issue is resolved.

Now let’s take a look at a typical soccer team composition:

PositionDescription
GoalkeeperThe last line of defense, responsible for protecting the goal and stopping the opposing team from scoring.
DefendersPlayers positioned in front of the goalkeeper to prevent the opposing team from advancing and scoring.
MidfieldersPlayers who control the game by distributing the ball, transitioning between defense and attack, and providing support to both the defense and the forwards.
ForwardsPlayers responsible for scoring goals and creating scoring opportunities for their team.

Each player has a specific role and contributes to the overall strategy and success of the team. The combination of different positions allows for a diverse range of skills and playing styles, making soccer an exciting and dynamic sport.

The Role of Referees and Assistant Referees in Soccer

In the world of soccer, referees play a vital role in ensuring fair play and upholding the rules of the game. They have the authority on the field and their decisions are final. Let’s take a closer look at the responsibilities of referees and the important role that assistant referees play in maintaining fairness and accuracy during matches.

Referees: Enforcing the Rules

When it comes to enforcing the rules of the game, soccer referees have the ultimate authority. They are responsible for making decisions on fouls, penalties, and other infractions. Referees use their knowledge, experience, and judgment to ensure that the game is played within the boundaries of the established rules and regulations.

To maintain order on the field, referees use a variety of signals and gestures to communicate with players, coaches, and assistant referees. These referee signals in soccer allow them to convey important information and make their rulings clear to all involved.

Assistant Referees: Assisting the Referee

In addition to the referee, matches are typically assisted by two assistant referees. These assistant referees, sometimes referred to as linesmen, play a crucial role in supporting the referee and ensuring the accuracy of decisions.

Assistant referees have several duties during a match. They help determine when the ball goes out of play, signaling with their flags to indicate a throw-in, corner kick, or goal kick. Assistant referees also assist in making offside decisions, indicating whether a player is in an offside position.

Their presence on the field provides an additional set of eyes and helps the referee make well-informed decisions. Assistant referees work in collaboration with the referee, and their observations contribute to the fairness and integrity of the game.

ResponsibilitiesRefereeAssistant Referees
Enforcement of rules
Signaling fouls and penalties
Communication with players, coaches, and officials
Indicating when the ball goes out of play
Assisting with offside decisions

Referees and assistant referees work together to create a fair and enjoyable game for players and spectators alike. Their collective efforts ensure that the rules of soccer are upheld and that the game is played with integrity.

Restart of Play in Soccer

There are specific rules for restarting play in soccer. Understanding these restarts is crucial for players and teams to maintain the flow of the game and capitalize on scoring opportunities. Let’s take a closer look at the various restarts in soccer:

Kick-off

The kick-off is used to start the game at the beginning of each half and after a goal is scored. It is taken from the center of the halfway line. The team that won the coin toss chooses which goal to attack, while the opposing team kicks off. The ball must move forward and players must be in their respective halves before the ball is considered in play.

Throw-ins

When the ball goes out of bounds over the touchline, a throw-in is awarded to the opposing team. The player who takes the throw-in must use both hands and deliver the ball from behind and over their head while keeping both feet on the ground. The throw-in allows players to quickly resume play and keep the ball in play near the touchline.

Goal Kicks

Goal kicks occur when the offensive team plays the ball out of bounds over the defensive team’s goal line. From their own six-yard box, the defending team takes a goal kick. The ball must leave the penalty area before any other player touches it. A goal kick provides an opportunity for the defending team to regain possession and begin an attack from their defensive zone.

Corner Kicks

When the defending team plays the ball out of bounds over their own goal line, a corner kick is awarded to the attacking team. A corner kick is taken from the corner arc nearest to where the ball went out of bounds. It provides an advantageous position for the attacking team to cross the ball into the penalty area and create scoring opportunities.

In soccer, these restarts play a vital role in maintaining the rhythm of the game and keeping the action alive. Familiarity with the rules and execution of these restarts can give teams a strategic advantage on the field.

RestartDefinition
Kick-offUsed to start the game, each half, and after a goal. The ball is placed at the center of the halfway line, and a player from the team that did not kick-off at the beginning of the game takes the kick.
Throw-insOccur when the ball goes out of bounds over the touchline. A player from the opposing team throws the ball back into play using both hands while standing behind and over their head.
Goal KicksTaken by the defending team when the ball is played out of bounds over their own goal line by the attacking team. The kick is taken from within the six-yard box and must leave the penalty area before being touched by another player.
Corner KicksAwarded to the attacking team when the defending team plays the ball out of bounds over their own goal line. The kick is taken from the corner arc nearest to where the ball went out of bounds.

Conclusion

Understanding soccer rules is crucial for players, coaches, and fans alike. These rules and regulations play a vital role in ensuring fair play and an exciting game experience. From fouls and penalties to prohibited actions, soccer rules uphold the integrity of the sport. By adhering to these rules, players can fully enjoy the game while promoting sportsmanship and respect for fellow athletes.

The key takeaways from soccer rules can be summarized as follows: a player must avoid acts such as kicking, tripping, charging into opponents, and touching the ball with their hands (unless they are the goalkeeper). Different types of fouls carry specific penalties, ranging from indirect and direct free kicks to penalty kicks. Referees can issue cautions (yellow cards) and expulsions (red cards) to maintain discipline on the field. Goalkeepers have their own set of rules and fouls, such as limitations on ball holding and restrictions after a teammate’s throw-in.

By abiding by these regulations, soccer players contribute to the excitement, fairness, and sportsmanship that make the sport so beloved around the world. So, whether you are a player striving for excellence, a coach guiding your team, or a passionate fan supporting your favorite club, remember to keep the spirit of the game alive by respecting and understanding the rules of soccer.

FAQ

What actions are not allowed in soccer?

Actions not allowed in soccer include kicking an opponent, tripping, jumping into an opponent, charging into an opponent, pushing, tackling from behind, tackling an opponent before touching the ball, holding, and touching the ball with your hands (unless you are the goalkeeper).

What are the types of fouls and penalties in soccer?

The types of fouls in soccer include direct free kicks, indirect free kicks, and penalty kicks. Minor offenses result in an indirect free kick, while more serious offenses lead to a direct free kick. Fouls that occur within the penalty box result in a penalty kick.

What happens when a player receives a caution (yellow card) or expulsion (red card)?

A caution (yellow card) is given for unsportsmanlike behavior, excessive fouling, arguing with the referee, delaying the game, or entering/leaving the game without permission. An expulsion (red card) is given for serious offenses, receiving a second yellow card, or for violent actions against players or the referee.

What are the rules and fouls specific to goalkeepers in soccer?

Goalkeepers are not allowed to hold the ball for more than 6 seconds, touch the ball again with their hands after a teammate has kicked it to them, or touch the ball with their hands directly after a throw-in by a teammate. Violating these rules results in a foul and a free kick for the opposing team.

Who maintains the laws of the game in soccer?

The laws of the game in soccer are maintained and updated by the International Football Association Board (IFAB).

What are the rules for the field of play in soccer?

The field of play in soccer must be rectangular and meet specific dimensions for the touchlines and goal lines. It can be played on grass or artificial turf as long as the surface is green. The field is divided into halves with various markings for center points, center circles, goal boxes, penalty boxes, and corner flags.

What are the specifications for a soccer ball?

A soccer ball must be spherical and made of leather or comparable material. It has specific circumference measurements, typically ranging from 27 to 28 inches.

How many players are allowed in a soccer team?

A soccer match is generally played by two teams of 11 players each, including the goalkeeper.

What is the role of referees and assistant referees in soccer?

The referee enforces the rules of the game and their decisions are final. Assistant referees assist the referee in performing their duties, such as signaling when the ball goes out of play, when a player is fouled, or when a player is in an offside position.

How is play restarted in soccer?

Play is restarted with a kick-off at the start of each half, after each goal scored, and at the center of the halfway line. Throw-ins, goal kicks, and corner kicks are awarded for specific situations during the game.