The Official Soccer Site
for Officials, Referees, Players, and Fans
Laws of the Game
The Start and Restart of Play
A coin is tossed and the team which 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 which 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
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.
- all players are in their own half of the field
- the opponents of the team taking the kick-off are at least 9.15 m
(10 yds) from the ball until it is in play
- the ball is stationary on the centre mark
- the referee gives a signal
- the ball is in play when it is kicked and moves forward
- the kicker does not touch the ball a second time until it has
touched another player
- After a team scores a goal, the kick-off is taken by the other
If the kicker touches the ball a second time before it has touched
For any other infringement of the kick-off procedure:
- an indirect free kick is awarded to the opposing team to be taken
from the place where the infringement occurred
A dropped ball is a way of
restarting the match after a
temporary stoppage which
becomes necessary, while
the ball is in play, for any
reason not mentioned
elsewhere in the Laws of the
The referee drops the ball at the place where it was located when play
Play restarts when the ball touches the ground.
The ball is dropped again:
- if it is touched by a player before it makes contact with the
- if the ball leaves the field of play after it makes contact with the
ground, without a player touching it
A free kick awarded to the defending team inside its own goal area is
taken from any point within the goal area.
An indirect free kick awarded to the attacking team in its opponents'
goal area is taken from the goal area line parallel to the goal line at the
point nearest to where the infringement occurred.
A dropped ball to restart the match after play has been temporarily
stopped inside the goal area takes place on the goal area line parallel to
the goal line at the point nearest to where the ball was located when
play was stopped.