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FIFA SOCCER RULES

The Field of Play The Assistant Referees
Qualities and Measurement Offside
The Number of Players Fouls and Misconduct
Infringements/Sanctions Disciplinary Sanctions
The Referee Procedures to determine
the winner of a match

The Field of Play

Dimensions

The field of play must be rectangular. The length of the touch line must be greaterthan 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)

Field Markings

The field of play is marked with lines. These lines belong to the areas of which they areboundaries. 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 of9.15 m (10 yds) is marked around it.

The Goal Area

A goal area is defined at each end of the field as follows:Two lines are drawn at right angles to the goal line, 5.5 m (6 yds) from the inside ofeach goalpost. These lines extend into the field of play for a distance of 5.5 m (6 yds)and are joined by a line drawn parallel with the goal line. The area bounded by these linesand the goal line is the goal area.

Flagposts

A flagpost, not less than 1.5 m (5 ft) high, with a non-pointed top and a flag is placed at each corner. Flagposts may also be placed at each end of the halfway line, not less than 1 m (1 yd)outside the touch line.

The Corner ArcThe Corner Arc

A quarter circle with a radius of 1 m (1 yd) from each corner flagpost is drawn inside thefield of play.

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 ofeach 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 linesand the goal line is the penalty area. Within each penalty area a penalty markis made 11 m (12 yds) from the midpoint between the goalposts and equidistant tothem. An arc of a circle with a radius of 9.15 m (10 yds) from each penalty mark isdrawn outside the penalty area.

Goals

Goals must be placed on the centre of each goal line. They consist of two upright posts equidistant from the corner flagposts and joined at the top by a horizontal crossbar.The distance between the posts is 7.32 m (8 yds) 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.

Safety

Goals must be anchored securely to the ground. Portable goals may only be used if they satisfy this requirement.

Decisions of the International F.A. Board

Decision 1

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.

Decision 2

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 bedangerous to players.

Decision 3

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) fromthe time the teams enter the field of play until they have left it at half-time and fromthe time the teams re-enter the field of play until the end of the match. In particular, noadvertising 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.

Decision 4

There shall be no advertising of any kind within the technical area or within one meter from the touch line and outside the field of play on the ground. Further, no advertising shall be allowed in the area between the goal line and the goal nets.

Decision 5

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

Decision 6

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.

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Qualities and Measurement

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/cm 2 ) at sea level (8.5 lbs/sq in 15.6 lbs/sq in)

Replacement of a Defective Ball

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

  • Match is stopped
  • The match is restarted by dropping the replacement ball at the place where the first ball became defective
  • 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 match is restarted accordingly
  • The ball may not be changed during the match without the authority of the referee.

Decisions of the International F.A. Board

Decision 1

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 MATCH-BALL 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.

Decision 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.

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The Number of Players

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.

Official Competitions

Up to a maximum of three substitutes may be used in any match played in an officialcompetition organised under the auspices of FIFA, the confederations or the nationalassociations.The rules of the competition must state how many substitutes may be nominated, fromthree up to a maximum of seven.

Other Matches

In other matches, substitutes may be used, provided that:

  • The teams concerned reach agreement on a maximum number
  • The referee is informed before the match
  • 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:

  • The referee is informed before any proposed substitution is made
  • A substitute only enters the field of play after the player being replaced has left and after receiving a signal from the referee
  • A substitute only enters the field of play at the halfway line and during a stoppage in the match
  • A substitution is completed when a substitute enters the field of play
  • From that moment, the substitute becomes a player and the player he has replaced ceases to be a player
  • A player who has been replaced takes no further part in the match
  • All substitutes are subject to the authority and jurisdiction of the referee, whether called upon to play or not

Changing the Goalkeeper

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

  • The referee is informed before the change is made
  • The change is made during a stoppage in the match

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Infringements/Sanctions

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

  • Play is stopped
  • The substitute is cautioned, shown the yellow
  • Card and required to leave the field of play
  • Play is restarted with a dropped ball at the
  • Place it was located when play was stopped

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

  • Play continues
  • The players concerned are cautioned and shown the yellow card when the ball is next out of play

For any other infringements of this Law:

The players concerned are cautioned and shown the yellow card.

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

  • The match is restarted by an indirect free
  • Kick, to be taken by a player of the opposing
  • Team from the place where the ball was located
  • When play was stopped

Players and Substitutes Sent Off

A player who has been sent off before the kick-off may be replaced only by one of thenamed substitutes.A named substitute who has been sent off, either before the kick-off or after play has started, may not be replaced.

Decisions of the International F.A. Board

Decision 1

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.

Decision 2

A team official may convey tactical instructions to the players during the match and he must return to his position after giving these instructions. All officials must remain within the confines of the technical area, where such an area is provided, and they must behave in a responsible manner.

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:

  • A jersey or shirt
  • Shorts – if thermal undershorts are worn, they are of the same main colour as the shorts
  • Stockings
  • Shinguards
  • Footwear

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

The match is restarted by an indirect free kick taken by a player of the opposing side, from the place where the ball was located when the referee stopped the match.

Shinguards

Are covered entirely by the stockings are made of a suitable material (rubber, plastic, or similar substances) provide a reasonable degree of protection.

Goalkeepers

Each goalkeeper wears colours which distinguish him from the other players, the referee and the assistant referees.

For any infringement of this Law:

  • Play need not be stopped
    The player at fault is instructed by the referee to leave the field of play to correct his equip-ment.
  • The player leaves the field of play when the ball next ceases to be in play, unless he has already corrected his equipment.
  • Any player required to leave the field of play to correct his equipment does not re-enter without the referee’s permission.
  • The referee checks that the player’s equipment is correct before allowing him to re-enter the field of play.
  • The player is only allowed to re-enter the field of play when the ball is out of play.
  • 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.

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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:

  • Enforces the Laws of the Game.
  • Controls the match in co-operation with the assistant referees and, where applicable, with the fourth official.
  • Ensures that any ball used meets the requirements of  the Law.
  • Ensures that the players’ equipment meets the requirements of the Law.
  • Acts as timekeeper and keeps a record of the match.
  • Stops, suspends or terminates the match, at his discretion, for any infringements of the Laws.
  • Stops, suspends or terminates the match because of outside interference of any kind.
  • Stops the match if, in his opinion, a player is seriously injured and ensures that he is removed from the field of play.
  • Allows play to continue until the ball is out of play if a player is, in his opinion, only slightly injured.
  • Ensures that any player bleeding from a wound leaves the field of play.
    The player may only return on receiving a signal from the referee, who must be satisfied that the bleeding has stopped.
  • Allows play to continue when the team against which an offence has been committed will benefit from such an advantage and penalises the original offence if the anticipated advantage does not ensue at that time.
  • Punishes the more serious offence when a player commits more than one offence at the same time.
  • Takes disciplinary action against players guilty of cautionable and sending-off offences.

  • He is not obliged to take this action immedi-ately but must do so when the ball next goes out of play.
  • Takes action against team officials who fail to conduct themselves in a responsible manner and may at his discretion, expel them from the field of play and its immediate surrounds.
  • Acts on the advice of assistant referees regarding incidents which he has not seen.
  • Ensures that no unauthorised persons enter the field of play.
  • Restarts the match after it has been stopped.
  • Provides the appropriate authorities with a match report which includes information on any disciplinary action taken against players, and/or team officials and any other incidents which occurred before, during or after the match.

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 discre-tion, 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:

  • Any kind of injury suffered by a player, official or spectator.
  • Any damage to property of any kind.
  • Any other loss suffered by any individual, club, company, association or other body, which is due or which may be due to any decision which he may take under the terms of the Laws of the Game or in respect of the normal procedures required to hold, play and control a match.

This may include:

  • 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.

Decision 2

In tournaments or competitions where afourth 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.

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The Assistant Referees

Duties

Two assist ant 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 penalised 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 particular circumstances, 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.

Assistance

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 9.15m 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.

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.

Penalty Kick

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

Extra Time

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

Half-Time Interval

Players are entitled to an interval at half-time. The half-time interval must not exceed15 minutes. Competition rules must state the duration of the half-time interval.

The duration of the half-time interval may be altered only with the consent of the referee.

Allowance for Time Lost

  • 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.

Abandoned Match

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

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Offside

Offside Position

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

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

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.

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:

  • Interfering with play.
  • Or interfering with an opponent.
  • Or gaining an advantage by being in that position.

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Fouls and Misconduct

Fouls and misconduct are penalised as follows:

Direct Free Kick

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

  • Kicks or attempts to kick an opponent.
  • Trips or attempts to trip an opponent.
  • Jumps at an opponent.
  • Charges an opponent.
  • Strikes or attempts to strike an opponent.
  • Pushes an opponent.

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

  • Tackles an opponent to gain possession of the ball, making contact with the opponent before touching the ball.
  • Holds an opponent.
  • Spits at an opponent.
  • Handles the ball deliberately (except for the goalkeeper within his own penalty area)

A direct free kick is taken from where the offence occurred.

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:

  • Takes more than six seconds while controlling the ball with his hands before releasing it from his possession.
  • Touches the ball again with his hands after it has been released from his possession and has not touched any other player.
  • Touches the ball with his hands after it has been deliberately kicked to him by a team-mate.
  • Touches the ball with his hands after he has received it directly from a throw-in taken by a team-mate.

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

  • Plays in a dangerous manner.
  • Impedes the progress of an opponent.
  • Prevents the goalkeeper from releasing the ball from his hands.
  • Commits any other offence, not previously.
  • Mentioned in Law 12, for which play is stopped to caution or dismiss a player

  • The indirect free kick is taken from wherethe offence occurred.

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.

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Disciplinary Sanctions

Only a player or substitute or substituted player may be shown the red or yellow card.

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 theGame.
4. Delays the restart of play5. fails to respect the required distance when play is restarted with a corner kickor free kick.
6. Enters or re-enters the field of playwithout the referee’s permission.
7. Deliberately leaves the field of playwithout the referee’s permission.

Sending-Off Offences

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

1. Is guilty of serious foul play.
2. Is guilty of violent conduct.
3. Spits at an opponent or any other person.
4. Denies the opposing team a goal or anobvious goal-scoring opportunity bydeliberately handling the ball (this doesnot apply to a goalkeeper within his ownpenalty area).
5. Denies an obvious goal-scoring opportu-nity to an opponent moving towards theplayer’s goal by an offence punishable bya free kick or a penalty kick6. uses offensive or insulting or abusive language and/or gestures.
7. Receives a second caution in the samematchA player who has been sent off must leave the vicinity of the field of play and thetechnical area.

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.

Decisions of the International F.A. Board

Decision 1

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.

Decision 2

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.

Decision 3

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 oppos-ing team from the place where the infringe-ment occurred.

Decision 4

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

Decision 5

Any simulating action anywhere on the field, which is intended to deceive the referee, must be sanctioned as unsporting behaviour.

Free Kicks

Types of Free Kicks

Free kicks are either direct or indirect. For both direct and indirect free kicks, theball must be stationary when the kick is taken and the kicker does not touch the balla second time until it has touched another player.

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.

Signal

The referee indicates an indirect free kick by raising his arm above his head. He maintainshis arm in that position until the kick has been taken and the ball has touched anotherplayer 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.

Position of Free Kick

Free Kick Inside the Penalty Area
Direct or indirect free kick to the defending team:

  • All opponents are at least 9.15 m (10 yds) from the ball.
  • All opponents remain outside the penalty area until the ball is in play.
  • The ball is in play when it is kicked directly beyond the penalty area.
  • A free kick awarded in the goal area is taken from any point inside that area.

Indirect free kick to the attacking team:

  • All opponents are at least 9.15 m (10 yds) from the ball until it is in play, unless they are on their own goal line between the goalposts.
  • The ball is in play when it is kicked and moves.
  • An indirect free kick awarded inside the goal area is taken from that part of the goal area line which runs parallel to the goal line, at the point nearest to where the infringement occurred.

Free Kick Outside the Penalty Area

  • All opponents are at least 9.15 m (10 yds) from the ball until it is in play.
  • The ball is in play when it is kicked and moves.
  • The free kick is taken from the place where the infringement occurred.

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Procedures to determine the winner of a match

The Golden Goal and taking kicks from the penalty mark are methods of determiningthe winning team where competition rules require there to be a winning team after a match has been drawn.

The Golden Goal

Procedure

  • During the period of extra time played at the end of normal playing time, the team which scores the first goal is declared the winner.
  • If no goals are scored the match is decided by kicks from the penalty mark.

Kicks from the Penalty Mark

Procedure

  • The referee chooses the goal at which the kicks will be taken.
  • The referee tosses a coin and the team whose captain wins the toss takes the first kick.
  • The referee keeps a record of the kicks being taken.
  • Subject to the conditions explained below, both teams take five kicks.
  • The kicks are taken alternately by the teams.
  • If, before both teams have taken five kicks, one has scored more goals than the other could score, even if it were to complete its five kicks, no more kicks are taken.
  • If, after both teams have taken five kicks, both have scored the same number of goals, or have not scored any goals, kicks continue to be taken in the same order until one team has scored a goal more than the other from the same number of kicks.
  • A goalkeeper who is injured while kicks are being taken from the penalty mark and is unable to continue as goalkeeper may be replaced by a named substitute provided his team has not used the maximum number of substitutes permitted under the competition rules.
  • With the exception of the foregoing case, only players who are on the field of play at the end of the match, which includes extra time where appropriate, are allowed to take kicks from the penalty mark.
  • Each kick is taken by a different player and all eligible players must take a kick before any player can take a second kick.
  • An eligible player may change places with the goalkeeper at any time when kicks from the penalty mark are being taken.
  • Only the eligible players and match officials are permitted to remain on the field of play when kicks from the penalty mark are being taken.
  • All players, except the player taking the kick and the two goalkeepers, must remain within the centre circle.
  • The goalkeeper who is the team-mate of the kicker must remain on the field of play, outside the penalty area in which the kicks are being taken, on the goal line where it meets the penalty area boundary line.
  • Unless otherwise stated, the relevant Laws of the Game and International F.A. Board.
  • Decisions apply when kicks from the penalty mark are being taken.
  • When a team finishes the match with a greater number of players than their opponents, they shall reduce their numbers to equate with that of their opponents and inform the referee of the name and number of each player excluded. The team captain has this responsibility.
  • Before the start of kicks from the penalty mark the referee shall ensure that only an equal number of players from each team re main within the centre circle and they shall take the kicks.

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