Laws of Football

Football can be a simple and hardworking sport in first glance.But as we get deep into it,it will get intense on and off the field.Before getting into the game,first things first.Let us look at the laws of it which are crucial to the success of it.There are 17 laws in total with each having their own significance.They are:

  1. The Field of Play
  2. The Ball
  3. The Number of Players
  4. The Player's Equipment
  5. The Referee
  6. The Assistant Referees
  7. The Duration of the Match
  8. The Start and Restart of Play
  9. The Ball in and out of Play
  10. The Method of Scoring
  11. Offside
  12. Fouls and Misconduct
  13. Free Kicks
  14. The Penalty Kick
  15. The Throw-in
  16. The Goal Kick
  17. The Corner Kick

Now we look at each one of them in detail.

1. The Field of Play


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The Field of Play is the area in which the players are allowed to play.The turf on which it played can be natural or artificial depends on the rules of the competition or match.The ground must be rectangular and the touch lines usually greater than goal line.All the required dimensions of lines are present in the above image.

Field Markings
The field of play is marked with lines. These lines belong to the areas of which they are boundaries.The two longer boundary lines are called touch lines. The two shorter lines are called goal lines.All lines are not more than 12 cm (5 ins) wide.The field of play is divided into two halves by a halfway line.The centre mark is indicated at the midpoint of the halfway line.
A circle with a radius of 9.15 m (10 yd) is marked around it.

Goals
Goals must be placed on the centre of each goal line.They consist of two upright posts equidistant from the corner flag posts and joined at the top by a horizontal crossbar.The distance between the posts is 7.32 m (8 yd) and the distance from the lower edge of the crossbar to the ground is 2.44 m (8 ft).Both goalposts and the crossbar have the same width and depth,which do not exceed 12 cm (5 ins). The goal lines are the same width as that of the goalposts and the crossbar. Nets may be attached to the goals and the ground behind the goal, provided that they are properly supported and do not interfere with the goalkeeper.The goalposts and crossbars must be white.

2. The Ball
The ball is:
  • Spherical
  • Made of leather or other suitable material of a circumference
  • of not more than 70 cm (28 ins) and not less than 68 cm (27 ins)
  • not more than 450 g (16 oz) in weight and not less than 410 g (14 oz) at the start of the match
  • of a pressure equal to 0.6 – 1.1 atmosphere (600 – 1100 g/cm2) at sea level (8.5 lbs/sq in 15.6 lbs/sq in)
3. The Number of Players
A match is played by two teams, each consisting of not more than eleven players, one of whom is the goalkeeper. A match may not start if either team consists of fewer than seven players.The rules of the competition must state how many substitutes may be nominated, from three up to a maximum of seven.The substitutes must be given to referee prior to a match.

4. The Player's Equipment
The basic compulsory equipment of a player comprises the following
separate items:
• a jersey or shirt – if undergarments are worn, the color of the
sleeve should be the same main color as the sleeve of the jersey
or shirt.
• shorts – if undershorts are worn, they are of the same main color
as the shorts
• stockings
• shin guards
• footwear
Safety must be given the priority and no player should use any equipment that harms himself or others.Each goalkeeper wears colours that distinguish him from the other players, the referee and the assistant referees.

5. The Referee
Referee considered to be complete controllers of the game who takes decisions in order to have a game to be played in right spirit.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.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 or terminated the match.

6. The Assistant Referees
Assistant referees are the ones who help Referee to control the match.Two assistant referees are appointed whose duties, subject to the decision of the referee, are to indicate:
• when the whole of the ball has passed out of the field of play
• which side is entitled to a corner kick, goal kick or throw-in
• when a player may be penalized for being in an offside position
• when a substitution is requested
• when misconduct or any other incident has occurred out of the
view of the referee
• when offences have been committed whenever the assistants are closer to the action than the
referee (this includes, in particularcircumstances, offences committed in the penalty area)
• whether, at penalty kicks, the goalkeeper has moved forward before the ball has been kicked
and if the ball has crossed the line.

The assistant referees also assist the referee to control the match in accordance with the Laws of the Game. In particular, they may enter the field of play to help control the 9.15 m distance.
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.

7. The Duration of the Match
The match lasts two equal periods of 45 minutes, unless otherwisemutually 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 insuffi cient light) must be made before the start of play and must comply with competition rules.Players are entitled to an interval at half-time.
The half-time interval must not exceed 15 minutes.
Allowance is made in either period for all time lost through:
• substitution(s)
• assessment of injury to players
• removal of injured players from the field of play for treatment
• wasting time
• any other cause
The allowance for time lost is at the discretion of the referee.

8. The Start and Restart of Play
A coin is tossed and the team that wins the toss decides which goal it will attack in the first half of the match.The other team takes the kick-off to start the match.The team that wins the toss takes the kick-off to start the second half of the match.In the second half of the match, the teams change ends and attack the opposite goals.
A kick-off is a way of starting or restarting play:
• at the start of the match
• after a goal has been scored
• at the start of the second half of the match
• at the start of each period of extra time, where applicable
A goal may be scored directly from the kick-off.

9. The Ball in and out of Play
Ball Out of Play
The ball is out of play when:
• It has wholly crossed the goal line or touch line whether on the
ground or in the air
• Play has been stopped by the referee

Ball In Play
The ball is in play at all other times, including when:
• It rebounds from a goalpost, crossbar or corner flagpost and
remains in the field of play
• It rebounds from either the referee or an assistant referee when
they are on the field of play

10. The Method of Scoring
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.The team which scores maximum goals will be the winner and if equal number of goals are scored or no goals scored,it is considered to be drawn match.If it is a draw,then winner can be decided depending on competition rules.When competition rules require there to be a winning team after a match or home-and-away tie, only the following procedures, which have been approved by the International F.A. Board, are permitted
• Away goals rule
• Extra time
• Kicks from the penalty mark

11. Offside
The most intriguing and controversial term in football terminology.It sometimes turns the course of a match and increases the excitement of the game.It is not an offence in itself to be in an offside position.
A player is in an offside position if:
• he is nearer to his opponents’ goal line than both the ball and the
second last opponent
A player is not in an offside position if:
• he is in his own half of the field of play or
• he is level with the second last opponent or
• he is level with the last two opponents
Offence
A player in an offside position is only penalized if, at the moment the
ball touches or is played by one of his team, he is, in the opinion of
the referee, involved in active play by:
• interfering with play or
• interfering with an opponent or
• gaining an advantage by being in that position
No Offence
There is no offside offence if a player receives the ball directly from:
• a goal kick or
• a throw-in or
• a corner kick

12. Fouls and Misconduct
Fouls are caused when a player misbehave or tackles other players intensionally which damages the spirit of the game.This causes matches to be delayed or even abandoned.So Referees are kept on their toes to avoid any type of fouls during a match.When a foul occured,free kick or penalty kick is taken depending on the place of foul.

13. 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.Free kicks are one of the methods of goal scoring.

The Direct Free Kick
• if a direct free kick is kicked directly into the opponents’ goal, a goal is awarded
• if a direct free kick is kicked directly into the team’s own goal, a corner kick is awarded to the opposing team

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.
• if an indirect free kick is kicked directly into the opponents’ goal,
a goal kick is awarded
• if an indirect free kick is kicked directly into the team’s own goal,
a corner kick is awarded to the opposing team

14. The Penalty Kick
A penalty kick is awarded against a team that 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:
• is placed on the penalty mark
The player taking the penalty kick:
• is properly identified
The defending goalkeeper:
• remains on his goal line, facing the kicker, between the goalposts
until the ball has been kicked
The players other than the kicker are located:
• inside the field of play
• outside the penalty area
• behind the penalty mark
• at least 9.15 m (10 yd) from the penalty mark
The Referee decides outcome of penalty kick and ensures that all the players are taken up position before penalty kick.

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:
• when the whole of the ball passes over the touch line, either on
the ground or in the air
• from the point where it crossed the touch line
• to the opponents of the player who last touched the ball

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 the whole of the ball, having last touched a player of the attackingteam, passes over the goal line, either on the ground or in the air and a goal is not scored in accordance with Law 10.


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 the whole of the ball, having last touched a player of the defending team, passes over the goal line, either on the ground or in the
air, and a goal is not scored in accordance with Law 10.

These are the Laws of the Football and are implemented strictly in any match by FIFA.For more detailed information,download pdf file Click here.
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