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Question Number: 33470

Law 16 - The Goal Kick 6/21/2019

RE: Comp and Select Adult

Tony of Whitehorse, Yukon Canada asks...

In the Copa America game between Chile and Ecuador, in the 45th minute first half, there was a goal kick awarded to Chile and the goalie took the goal kick directly 2 a teammate located inside the penalty area. In other words the ball did not go outside the penalty area and isn't it therefore not in play.? Thank you

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Tony
I believe you have not been watching too many of these games nor the Women's WC not the Africa Cup of Nations!.
The reason I say that is that this has been a feature in all of the games in theses tournaments under the new 2019/20 Laws of the Game.
Law 16 has been amended from the 1st June which does away with the requirement for the ball to leave the penalty area to be in play. All kicked restarts inside the penalty area including goal kicks are in play now once the ball is kicked and moved. The requirement for the ball to leave the penalty area is removed. Attackers are still obliged to leave the penalty area yet if the GK goes with a quick goalkick there is no restriction on their participation in play any longer.
From the start of your next new season this change along with a good many others will be in force. These included changes to most laws included the outcome of the kick off toss where the team can now take the kick off, no contested dropped balls anymore with the ball given to the team that last touched it and to the GK only inside the penalty area, yellow and red cards for technical staff, DB where the ball hits the referee changing possession or starting a promising attack, no attacker can be within a metre of a three person defensive wall. These are the key ones yet there are other changes.
It is important that you familiarize yourself with those changes to be up to speed for the season ahead.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Tony,
As of June 1, the law on this has changed (along with several others, as ref McHugh mentions).

For goal kicks (and free kicks to a team inside their own penalty area) the law now says that:

''The ball is in play when it is kicked and clearly moves.''

The new laws apply to all competitions starting after June 1. Competitions that started before that date and are still ongoing, can choose to delay implementing the changes until a later date (but no later than the start of their next season)..

Details of all the 2019/20 law changes can be found on:

The full text of all the Laws is also available on

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Tony,
the LOTG were recently changed. It maybe in your area the new laws will not take effect until your next season? Often new laws are applied at the start of the season not implemented during the season. Law 16 & 13 now state all outgoing free kicks including the goal kick no longer is the ball required to leave the PA to be in play. Kicked and moved. We are still waiting to see when the free kick occurs and is intercepted by an opponent who remained inside the PA . Cheers

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