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Laws of the Game


Complete FIFA Laws of the Game may be found at www.fifa.com.

Law 1 - The Field of Play

The field of play is to be rectangular. The length must exceed the width. Length = 100-130 yards. Width 50-100 yards.

Law 2 - The Ball

The ball is to be spherical, made of leather or other suitable material, properly inflated, and the proper size. The referee approves the ball before the start of the game.

Law 3 - Number of Players

A soccer match is played with two teams, each consisting of no more than 11 players one of whom is a goalkeeper. A minimum number of 7 players is required for a team to play a game.

Law 4 - Players' Equipment

The mandatory equipment of a player consists of: a jersey, shorts, socks, shinguards, and shoes. Socks must cover the shinguards. A player may not wear anything dangerous to another player. All jewelry must be removed. The goalkeeper must wear a color that distinguishes him/her from the other players and referee. Note: If a player decides to put padding over a cast on his/her arm. It is the referee's decision to allow him/her to participate in the game. Padding a cast does not guarantee that you may be able to play. 

Law 5 - Referee

A referee has the authority to enforce the Laws of the Game. The referee's decisions are final. A referee may refrain from calling a foul, if by doing so he/she would be giving an advantage to the team that committed the foul. At this time the referee may hold out both of his hands straight forward. This is a "Play On" or "Advantage" situation. The referee may stop the game if he/she feels that a player has become seriously injured. If a player is slightly injured the play will stop when the ball goes out of play. The referee shall stop the game if the conditions become necessary to do so. Yellow Cards are a caution to a player guilty of misconduct, unsportsmanlike behavior, or persistent infringes of the Laws of the Game. Red Cards are issued by the referee to a player who is guilty of violent conduct, serious foul play, foul or abusive language, or receives his/her second yellow card. When a player receives a red card he/she is removed from the game and his/her team plays down a player. A player who receives a red card will be suspended for the next game. The Donegal Youth Soccer Club will not tolerate unsportsmanlike behavior nor fighting. The club may suspend a player for fighting or continual unsportsmanlike behavior.

Law 6 - Assistant Referee

Assistant referees, or linesmen, signal when the ball is out of play, call offsides, indicate when a foul has been committed out of the view of the referee.

Law 7 - Duration of the Game

The game is played in two equal halves: U10 - 50 minutes; U12 - 60 minutes; U14 - 70 minutes; U16 - 80 minutes; U17 - 90 minutes; U19 - 90 minutes.

Law 8 - Start of Play

All players must be in their half of the field before the start of the game. The team not kicking-off must be at least ten yards from the ball. The game is started on the referees signal, after a player kicks the ball forward into the opposing half of the field. The ball is in play as soon as it moves forward, even if it moves slightly forward.

Law 9 - Ball In and Out of Bounds

The ball is out of play when it has wholly crossed the goal-line or touch-line, whether on the ground or in the air. On a throw-in, if any part of the ball passes over the touch-line, the ball is in play. In this case, the whole ball does not need to cross the touch-line completely.

Law 10 - Method of Scoring

A goal is scored when the whole ball has passed over the goal-line, between the goal-posts and under the cross-bar.

Law 11 - Off-Side

To be penalized for being offside, a player must, at the moment the ball is kicked by a teammate, be in an offside position, and become involved in the play or interfere with an opponent, or gain an advantage by being in an offside position. In order to be in an offside position a player must:

  1. be in the opponent's half of the field, and
  2. be ahead of the ball, and
  3. have less than two players between yourself and the opponents goal-line.

A player in an offside position, can be penalized for offside even if the ball deflects off of a defender, goalkeeper, the goal posts or crossbar. A player is not offside if receiving the ball directly form a goal kick or throw-in.

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct

Players will cause their opponent's to be awarded a Direct Free-Kick for the following offenses: kicking or attempting to kick an opponent, tripping an opponent, jumping at an opponent, striking an opponent, pushing, holding, spitting, or handling the ball deliberately. Players will cause their opponent's to be awarded an Indirect Free-Kick for the following offenses: playing dangerously, obstruction, and other fouls. Note: Not all hand balls are fouls. The referee determines if the ball played the hand or if the hand played the ball. There is no foul if the ball played the hand. Again, this is "in the opinion of the referee."

Law 13 - Free-Kick

Defending players must be 10 yards away from a Free-kick. A player may score directly, from a Direct Free-Kick. A goal cannot be scored from an Indirect Free-Kick unless another player touches it before it goes through the goal.

Law 14 - Penalty-Kick

Penalty Kicks are awarded for "Direct-Kick" fouls within the penalty area. A penalty-kick is taken from the penalty mark and all players except the kicker and opposing goalkeeper must be outside the penalty area , at least 10 yards away from the penalty mark.

Law 15 - Throw-in

The thrower at the moment of delivering the ball must face the field of play and part of each foot shall be either on the touch-line or out-of-bounds. The thrower shall use both hands and deliver the ball from behind and over his/her head. A goal may not be scored directly from a throw-in.

Law 16 - Goal-Kick

When the attacking team kicks the entire ball over the end-line (but not scoring a goal), a goal kick is awarded to the defending team. When taking a goal-kick, the ball may be placed anywhere within the goal area (6 yard box). If the ball does not leave the penalty area the kick is retaken.

Law 17 - Corner-Kick

When the defending team last touches the ball and the entire ball travels over the end-line (but not into the goal), a corner kick is awarded to the attacking team.