Soccer Referee Resources
Ask a Question
Recent Questions

RSS FEED Subscribe Now!

Q&A Quick Search
The Field of Play
The Ball
The Players
The Players Equipment
The Referee
The Other Match Officials
The Duration of the Match
The Start and Restart of Play
The Ball In and Out of Play
Fouls and Misconduct
Free Kicks
Penalty kick
Throw In
Goal Kick
Corner Kick

Common Sense
Kicks - Penalty Mark
The Technical Area
The Fourth Official
Attitude and Control
League Specific
High School

Common Acronyms
Meet The Ref
Contact AskTheRef
Help Wanted
About AskTheRef
Panel Login

Question Number: 30879

Law 8 - The Start and Restart of Play 10/10/2016

Brian of Brooklyn, Ny USA asks...

Hi Gents,

Question(s) regarding kickoff restart.

Must the team taking the kickoff have a player standing next to the ball? Is it legal for a player standing away from the ball (in or outside his team's semi-circle) to run toward the ball and kick it directly at goal given that play begins when the ball is touched as opposed to when the referee blows his whistle?
Lastly,how many players can legally be inside their own side of the semi-circle at kickoff?

Thanks as always for this invaluable service!


Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Brian
At a kick off just one player needs to be beside the ball to kick the ball in play. That was always the case yet teams always played the ball short to a 2nd team mate so that they could retain possession of the ball after it had been kicked forward slightly. The ball now can be kicked in any direction to be put into play
Any player on the kicking team can play the ball to put it into play so it is possible for a player to run forward and kick the ball. A goal can be scored directly from a kick off but not an own goal.
If a team wished it could have all 11 players inside the centre circle. The centre circle is there to prevent the opponents coming closer than 10 yards from the kick off which happens when the ball is kicked. It has no other purpose.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Brian,
it was advantageous, not mandatory, to have two team mates at the kick off close to the ball given the ball had to be played forward. Now that the ball can be played back, or in any direction, under the new LOTG, a single team mate can keep ball possession without necessarily having a team mate close. The important aspect of the centre circle, in fact its only importance, is to ensure that a 10 yard space is easily seen for the opponents to respect the ten yard mandated in law from the restart point.
There is NO limit on how many of the team mates of the kicker can be within the circle on their side of the midline , all 11 should they wish, but serves little practical or tactical purpose.

Read other questions answered by Referee Richard Dawson

View Referee Richard Dawson profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 30879
Read other Q & A regarding Law 8 - The Start and Restart of Play

Soccer Referee Extras

Did you Ask the Ref? Find your answer here.

Enter Question Number

If you received a response regarding a submitted question enter your question number above to find the answer

Offside Question?

Offside Explained by Chuck Fleischer & Richard Dawson, Former & Current Editor of AskTheRef

This web site and the answers to these questions are not sanctioned by or affiliated with any governing body of soccer. The opinions expressed on this site should not be considered official interpretations of the Laws of the Game and are merely opinions of AskTheRef and our panel members. If you need an official ruling you should contact your state or local representative through your club or league. On AskTheRef your questions are answered by a panel of licensed referees. See Meet The Ref for details about our panel members.