Laws of the Game
for Officials, Referees, Players, and Fans

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.

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 offences:

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

The indirect free kick is taken from where the offence occurred.

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:

Sending-Off Offences

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

  1. is guilty of serious foul play
  2. is guilty of violent conduct
  3. spits at an opponent or any other person
  4. denies an opponent a goal or an obvious goal-scoring opportunity by deliberately handling the ball (this does not apply to a goalkeeper within his own penalty area)
  5. denies an obvious goal-scoring opportunity to an opponent moving towards the player's goal by an offence punishable by a free kick or a penalty kick
  6. uses offensive, insulting or abusive language
  7. receives a second caution in the same match

A player who has been sent off must leave the vicinity of the field of play and the technical area.

DECISIONS OF THE INTERNATIONAL F.A. BOARD

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.

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.

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 opposing team from the place where the infringement occurred. * (see preface)

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.

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

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