Law 12 - Fouls & 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:

  • kicks or attempts to kick an opponent
  • trips or attempts to trip an opponent
  • jumps at an opponent
  • charges an opponent
  • strikes or attempts to strike an opponent
  • pushes an opponent

A direct free kick is also awarded to the opposing team if a player commits any of the following four offences:

  • tackles an opponent to gain possession of the ball, making contact with the opponent before touching the ball
  • holds an opponent
  • spits at an opponent
  • handles the ball deliberately (except for the goalkeeper within his own penalty area)

A direct free kick is taken from where the offence occurred.* (see preface)

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 player, in the opinion of the referee, commits any of the following three offences:

  • plays in a dangerous manner
  • impedes the progress of an opponent
  • prevents the goalkeeper from releasing the ball from his hands

An indirect free kick is also awarded to the opposing team if a goalkeeper, inside his own penalty area, commits any of the following five offences:

  • takes more than four steps while controlling the ball with his hands, before releasing it from his possession
  • touches the ball again with his hands after it has been released from his possession and has not touched any other player
  • touches the ball with his hands after it has been deliberately kicked to him by a team-mate
  • touches the ball with his hands after he has received it directly from a throw-in taken by a team-mate
  • wastes time

The indirect free kick is taken from where the offence occurred. * (see preface)

Disciplinary Sanctions

Cautionable Offences

A player is cautioned and shown the yellow card if he commits any of the following seven offences:

  • is guilty of unsporting behaviour
  • shows dissent by word or action
  • persistently infringes the Laws of the Game
  • delays the restart of play
  • fails to respect the required distance when play is restarted with a corner kick or free kick
  • enters or re-enters the field of play without the referee's permission
  • deliberately leaves the field of play without the referee's permission

Sending-Off Offences

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

  • is guilty of serious foul play
  • is guilty of violent conduct
  • spits at an opponent or any other person
  • 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)
  • 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
  • uses offensive, insulting or abusive language
  • receives a second caution in the same match

DECISIONS OF THE INTERNATIONAL F.A. BOARD

1.A penalty kick is awarded if, while the ball is in play, the goalkeeper, inside his own penalty area, strikes or attempts to strike an opponent by throwing the ball at him.

2.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.

3.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.

4.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.

 

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Revised: 09-07-2001