Laws of the Game

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The Laws of the Game

The Laws of the Game are the set of laws for football. They were first written by The Football Association in 1863. In 1886 the control of the laws were passed over to the International Football Association Board who have remained in charge to the present day.

Original Laws[edit]

  1. The maximum length of the ground shall be 200 yds. and the maximum breadth shall be 100 yards. The length and breadth shall be marked off with flags. The goals shall be defined by two upright posts 8 yds. apart, without any tape or bar across them.
  2. The winner of the toss shall have choice of goals. The game shall be commenced by a place-kick from the centre of the ground by the side losing the toss. The other side shall not approach within 10 yds. of the ball until it is kicked off.
  3. After a goal is won, the losing side shall kick off, and the goals shall be changed.
  4. A goal shall be won when the ball passes between the goal-posts or over the space between the goal-posts (at whatever height), not being thrown, knocked on, or carried.
  5. When the ball is in touch, the first player who touches it shall throw it from the point on the boundary line where it left the ground in a direction at right angles with the boundary line, and it shall not be in play until it has touched the ground.
  6. When a player has kicked the ball any one of the same side who is nearer to the opponent's goal line is out of play and may not touch the ball himself, nor in any way whatever prevent any other player from doing so until the ball has been played, but no player is out of play when the ball is kicked from behind the goal line.
  7. In case the ball goes behind the goal line, if a player on the side to whom the goal belongs first touches the ball, one of his side shall be entitled to a free kick from the goal line at the point opposite the place where the ball shall be touched. If a player of the opposite side first touches the ball, one of his side shall be entitled to a free kick (but at the goal only) from a point 15 yds. from the goal line opposite the place where the ball is touched; the opposing side shall stand behind their goal line until he has had his kick.
  8. If a player makes a fair catch, he shall be entitled to a free kick, provided he claims it by making a mark with his heel at once; and in order to take such a kick he may go back as far as he pleases, and no player on the opposite side shall advance beyond his mark until he has kicked.
  9. No player shall carry the ball.
  10. Neither tripping nor hacking shall be allowed and no player shall use his hands to hold or push an adversary.
  11. A player shall not throw the ball or pass it to another.
  12. No player shall be allowed to take the ball from the ground with his hands while it is in play under any pretence whatever.
  13. A player shall be allowed to throw the ball or pass it to another if he made a fair catch or catches the ball on the first bounce.
  14. No player shall be allowed to wear projecting nails, iron plates, or gutta-percha on the soles or heels of his boots.