An institution known as IFAB is responsible for maintaining and updating soccer’s rules and regulations every year (the International Football Association Board).
Eight people make up the board, four from FIFA, which oversees sports. The remaining four come from the England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland football associations.
Three-quarters of the IFAB’s members must vote in favor of any change to the soccer regulations. Seventeen fundamental soccer regulations apply to all competitive matches played at the professional level. However, there may be modifications at the national and regional league levels.
Here are the 12 most important rules of soccer
Rule 1: The playing field
Soccer can be played on grass or an artificial surface like Astroturf. The field needs to be rectangular in shape, and green in color, with two long touchlines and two shorter goal lines. All synthetic fields must adhere to the FIFA Quality Program for Football Turf.
The midway of the soccer field is marked by a center mark, dividing the pitch into two halves. The radius of the center circle is 10 yards. A rectangle that measures 18 yards from each goal post down the goal line to the border of the penalty box delineates each goal area.
Two vertical posts that are 8 yards wide and 8 feet high make up the goal. The penalty area is 12 yards perpendicular to the goal’s center.
A soccer field’s length and breadth are not set measurements. Instead, a field must stay inside certain maximum and minimum bounds. The corner zone is delineated by a quarter of a 1-yard circle. Measurements from the outside of each line should be a minimum of 5 inches (12 cm) wide for all lines.
Rule 2: The Ball
The circumference of a soccer ball should be between 27 and 28 inches and be spherical. The pressure should range from 8.5 to 15.6 pounds per square inch at sea level.
Modern soccer balls are typically constructed with polyurethane or polyvinyl chloride and lighter materials like synthetic leather. It is sewn around an inflated bladder with a rubbery appearance. A damaged ball may be replaced in the middle of a match with the referees’ approval.
Rule 3. The players
Two teams often compete in matches. Each squad has 11 players total, including the striker. A game may be declared a forfeit if a team cannot field at least seven players before the start of a match. According to the fundamental regulations, a match may only have five replacements. The precise number of substitutes, however, may change depending on the competition. With the Referee’s prior approval, a substitute can enter the field. Keep reading more about soccer on SoccerFeed for all the information you need on the game and find out the latest news.
Rule 4: Players’ equipment
All players must wear the following five pieces of equipment: a shirt, shorts, socks, shin guards, and shoes or cleats. Goalkeepers are allowed to substitute tracksuit bottoms for shorts.
Other protective gear that poses no risk to teammates or opposing players, including headgear, facemasks, knee, and arm protectors, may be worn.
A player may be sent off if the Referee determines their low gear until the issue is resolved. The Referee has the right to prohibit players from wearing equipment that could endanger them or another player.
Rule 5. The Referee
On the pitch, the Referee has the last say on all decisions. They should be respected for their ultimate decisions and acts. Only they have the authority to begin and end play or determine whether it is necessary to take disciplinary action against a player or official.
In addition to keeping score and punishing the offensive team, guilty players, and team officials, the Referee also serves as the official timekeeper. This includes the authority to display red or yellow cards and halt play if a player sustains a severe injury.
Rule 6: Match Official, Including Assistant Referees
The two assistant referees on either side of the field, historically known as linesmen, are among the additional match officials. Throughout the game, they support the Referee. When the ball crosses the sidelines, their primary responsibility is to decide which team is in line for a throw-in, corner kick, or goal kick. They can also assist in putting offside rules into practice and notify the Referee if a severe offense occurs.
The fourth official will be in charge of managing substitutions and ball replacements in the leading professional leagues. The amount of extra time the Referee adds at the end of each half is also announced to the audience.
There will be two additional assistant referees in elite competitions, including the Champions League and the Europa League. They stand on each goal line and keep an eye out for any incidents that occur close to the goals.
Rule 7: The length of the game
A soccer game consists of two 45-minute halves separated by a halftime break. The intermission should last up to 15 minutes. Each half may be extended at the Referee’s discretion to account for injuries, substitutions, and violations like time-wasting.
In professional leagues, the fourth official typically indicates how much extra time has been added to each half. Any time displayed is merely suggestive; the Referee decides how much time is used. The half is extended in the event of a penalty kick until the kicker attempts the penalty shot.
Rule 8: Play may be started and restarted
The kickoff is decided by the Referee using a coin toss. Depending on whether the team wins the toss, the first half of the game will either begin with a kickoff or an attack on one of the ends. The ends are altered in the second period.
When play has been paused for no fault of either team, a drop ball can restart the match. This may occur due to a player suffering a severe injury, a faulty ball, or spectators entering the field of play.
Rule 9: The ball enters and exits play
When the ball’s circumference completely crosses the goal line or the touchline, it is deemed out of play. Otherwise, the ball is always regarded as infield unless the Referee pauses the play. Even if the ball contacts a referee or bounces off the goalposts or corner flag, it is still in play.
There are eight ways to resume a game based on how it originally ended. Some examples are kickoffs, goal kicks, throw-ins, corner kicks, direct free kicks, indirect free kicks, penalties, and dropping the ball.
Rule 10: How a match’s outcome is determined
The team wins a game with the most goals scored. When the ball’s circumference completely crosses the goal line, and the Referee declares a goal, the goal has been scored.
The Referee awards a goal kick if an opponent’s goalie throws the ball directly into their goal.
If the scores between two teams are tied after 90 minutes of play in tournaments like the World Cup, 30 minutes of overtime can be used to try to choose a winner. A penalty shootout may be held to decide the game’s result if the scores are still tied after that session.
11th rule: Offside
The laws controlling offsides in soccer are arguably the most contentious. Soccer coaches must make sure their players are aware of these guidelines.
The following circumstances result in an offside being called:
- If a player’s head, body, or feet are in the opponent’s half, they are considered offside.
- If the opponent’s second-last opponent and the soccer ball are farther away from the opponent’s goal line.
Rule 12: Misconduct and fouls
Acts by players that the referee deems to be against the game’s rules are considered fouls and misconduct. Charges, kicks, pushes, strikes, trips, or attempts to do such acts are examples.
A player may commit misconduct in addition to committing a foul. A set list of infractions calls for a direct or indirect free kick or specifies when a yellow or red card may be shown. A player who receives a red card must leave the field immediately and cannot be substituted.
For players, coaches, and soccer parents alike, understanding the fundamental rules of soccer is crucial. Keep in mind that these laws are sensitive to different circumstances and might not be able to handle every eventuality that could arise during a game.
Remember that soccer’s rules and regulations can be changed for various local leagues and competitions. Keep yourself informed by asking the coach, your teammates, or the officials.