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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Soccer Referee Questions on Soccer Rules

Welcome to
a Soccer Law Question and Answer site. Providing answers to questions regarding soccer laws since October 11, 1999

To ask a question click Ask the Ref and pose your question and the panel will reply.

Those who have ideas or articles please feel free to contact the editor Richard Dawson at with suggestions.

Over the past 20 years we have amassed tens of thousands of questions & answers but the LOTG always change and/or portions no longer apply. Be SURE to reread the latest version IFAB 2020 - 2021 Laws of the Game.

You Call It!

After two years and many request - You Call It is back! Now it's your turn to test your knowledge in a scenario created by our panel of referees. If your answer is spot on we will publish it on our site! Good luck click here!

Law 5 - The Referee 7/31/2020

RE: competitive Under 13

Jeff of Richmond, VA USA asks...

Can a soccer goalkeeper place a water bottle in the goal?...

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Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 7/30/2020

RE: Adult

Billy Allan of London , United Kingdom asks...

Re the ‘pass back’ rule
If a defender passed the ball to another defender and lets say the ball was underhit or got held up somehow, since the ball wasn’t deliberately kicked to the goalkeeper by the letter of the law wouldn’t the goalkeeper be entitled to pick it up

Similarly, if a team mate was running out out with the ball and simply ‘left it’ and didn’t kick it towards the goalkeeper.


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Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 7/26/2020

RE: Adult

Roy Agyei of Burgess Hill , Sussex Great Britain asks...

In the English Premier League, is the rule where a player is sent off if they commit a foul where the referee deems they made no attempt to play the ball or could not have any chance of playing the ball fairly still in existence? Granit Xhaka was sent off for this playing for Arsenal versus Swansea for a foul on the halfway line a couple of years back and seems to be the only player who was ever punished in this way. I have seen similar challenges or worse since then with only either a verbal warning, a yellow card or a second yellow card awarded since, rather than a straight red. Thank you. ...

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Law 3 - The Players 7/26/2020

RE: Professional

Hussain jan Gramkani of muscat, Oman asks...

a player substitutes while ball is out of play without referees information. referee realizes on next out of play and cautions him. is it necessary to send the player back out of FOP the call him in? ...

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Law 16 - The Goal Kick 7/26/2020

RE: Professional

Hussain jan Gramkani of muscat, Oman asks...

according to new goal kick rule a ball is in play when it clearly moves and doesnt need to leave the penalty area, if a goalkick is kicked and before leaving the Penalty area strong wind brings it back in goalpost? what will be a restart? Corner K or goal K??...

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Law 4 - The Players Equipment 7/26/2020

RE: Professional

Hussain jan Gramkani of muscat, Oman asks...

can the goalkeeper wear same color socks as teamates wearing??

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Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 7/15/2020

RE: Rec Adult

Russell of Sydney, Australia asks...

Handling inconsistency.

In a recent reply to Petr of Prague - regarding handling - Ref McHugh provided a great example to illustrate the challenge we face of determining if a scenario of the ball hitting an arm/hand is deemed a offence or not. see clip foul.

As ref McHugh points out, this really should not have been a penalty as it is clearly unintentional from the defender.

While I will work with the LOTG, I find it inconsistent (in theory) that had this been an attacker and the ball fell to a teammate to shoot on goal - it would be pulled up.

I get it that IFAB dont like the idea of a goal coming from he ball hitting an arm or hand an resulting ...

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Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 7/12/2020

Petr of Prague, Czech Republic Czech Republic asks...

Thank you Mr McHugh, but its still not clear to me.


Defenders hand makes his body unnaturally bigger (or is above his shoulder level).

S1: Ball hits his body (or leg, head etc.). Then the ball deflects and hits his hand. It is not defende*ss deliberate play. Is it offence or not?

S2: A teammate kicks the ball and hits his hand. Is it offence or not? Who is *another player*? :-)

I find both variants of the answer in both cases on the web. :-)

And one more question please.

Part of the rule:

An indirect free kick is awarded if a goalkeeper, inside their penalty area,
commits any of the following offences:

- touches the ball with t...

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Law 4 - The Players Equipment 7/7/2020

RE: Alabama State League, Division One. Under 17

John-August of Huntsville , Alabama United States asks...

So if I’m wearing grip socks, do they have to match the color of the uniforms socks or can they be white. Most professionals use white grip socks but referees tell me they have to match the color of my uniform socks. ...

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Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 7/7/2020

Petr of Prague, Czech Republic Czech Republic asks...


one situation please.


Attacker kicks the ball. This ball touches a defender*s body and then his hand, which is over his shoulder level (or makes his body unnaturally bigger).

Q1: Is it offense or not? It does not seem clear to me.

These parts of the rules confuse me.

It is an offence if a player touches the ball with their hand/arm when:

-the hand/arm has made their body unnaturally bigger

-the hand/arm is above/beyond their shoulder level (unless the player DELIBERATELY !!! plays the ball which then touches their hand/arm)

Q2: What if it is unintentional as in my situation?

The above offences apply even if the b...

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