Rules and Regulations of Soccer

The rules of soccer are very simple, basically it is this: if it moves, kick it. If it doesn't move, kick it until it does.~ Phil Woosnam Is Phil Woosnam's statement contradicting the topic? Well, if you stress a little on the term 'basically', you'd agree with me that it doesn't contradict the topic, it indeed is right that the game is all about kicking the ball as the famous soccer player says. However, without any rules and regulations no game can be a game, be it football, tennis or any other sport. Rules and regulations apply to all games and soccer is no exception. I believe I don't need to introduce you to the popular game of soccer but, many of us are not aware of the rules and regulations of soccer. Laws of the Game Rules and regulations of soccer is officially termed as the 'Laws of the Game'. These rules and regulations are annually revised by the world soccer governing body FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association/ International Federation of Association Football). FIFA allows the laws to be modified for matches where the players are under the age of 16 years, for women footballers, for veteran footballers over the age of 35 years and for players with disability. Besides the aforementioned, modifications are permissible in the size of the field of play, the size, weight and material of the ball, width of the goalposts and the height of the crossbar from the ground, substitutions and duration of the periods of play. Given below are the rules and regulations of soccer game, these laws were first approved at a meeting of the Football Association held on 8th December 1863. Law 1: The Field of Play - According to this law, the football matches can be played on natural or artificial surfaces and the color of the artificial surfaces must be green. The artificial surfaces used in international club competition matches and matches between teams of member associations affiliated to FIFA must meet the International Artificial Turf Standard/ FIFA Quality Concept for Football Turf. The field of play includes the field markings, dimensions and lengths of the field markings, the goals and the goal area, the penalty area, flagposts and the corner arc. Law 2: The Ball - The second rule implies the quality and measurements of the ball where in the circumference of the ball should neither be more than 70cm or 28ins nor less than 68cm or 27ins. The weight of the ball must not be over 450g and not less than 410g at the start of the match. If the ball becomes defective during the course of a match then the ball can only be replaced with the authority of the referee. Official competition organized by FIFA, for example FIFA World Cup or the ones organized under the guidance of FIFA requires a ball bearing one of the three official logos and they are, 'FIFA Approved', 'FIFA Inspected' or 'International Match Ball Standard'. Law 3: The Number of Players - A soccer match is played by two teams consisting of even players each and one of these players is the goalkeeper. A match cannot start if any one of the team consists of less than seven players. In official competitions endorsed and organized by FIFA, a maximum of three substitutes can be used. The competition rules must state the number of substitutes that may be nominated, the minimum number of substitutes is three and the maximum is seven. There are certain conditions to be followed when replacing a player with a substitute. Before making a proposed substitution, the referee must be informed. Once the substitute joins in as a player, the player who goes out becomes the substituted player and cannot take part in the same game again. The change of goalkeeper can only be made during a stoppage in the match. Law 4: The Players' Equipment - For safety reasons, players should not use any equipment or wear anything that could be dangerous to themselves and other players. The basic compulsory equipment or items of a player comprises a jersey or shirt with sleeves, shorts, stockings, a shinguard and footwear. Players wearing undershorts must match its color with the main color of the shorts and if a t- shirt is to be worn underneath the jersey, then the it should match the color of the jersey sleeve. Law 5: The Referee - A referee has the authority to enforce the law of the game on the match that he is appointed for. Referee has the right to stop, suspend or abandon the match and he can also take disciplinary action against the players who are found committing an offense. Referee also reserves the right to take action against team officials who fail to conduct themselves. Law 6: The Assistant Referees - Assistant referees work along with the referee on the field. Two assistant referees are appointed to assist the referee and they keep an eye on things like which team is entitled to a goal kick, throw-in or a corner kick and to check whether the goalkeeper steps off the goal line before kicking the ball during penalty kicks. Law 7: The Duration of the Match - Altogether a football match lasts for 90 minutes and these 90 minutes are split in two periods with each period being of 45 minutes. Players are entitled to an interval at half time or after the first 45 minutes and the interval must not exceed 15 minutes. Time allowance is made in case of time lost because of substitutions, removal of injured players from the field or any other relevant cause. Be it the first or the second half of the game, the duration of the game is extended when the penalty kick is not completed. Law 8: The Start and Restart of Play - Team that wins the toss gets to decide which goal to be attacked during the first half of the match and the opposition team takes the kick-off. Kick-off is the way of starting or restarting the game and takes place at the start of the match, after a goal, at the start of the second half and at the start of each extra time period. The teams change ends and attack the opposite goals in the second half. If the player taking the kick-off happens to touch the ball again before it is touched by another player then in such a case, an indirect free kick must be awarded to the other team. Law 9: The Ball In and Out of Play - The ball is considered to be out of play when it either crosses the goal line or touch line and touches the ground or is in the air and also when the play is stopped by the referee. The ball is called to be in play at all the other instances such as when it rebounds off a crossbar, a corner flag post or a goalpost and remains within the field of play and when it hits or touches the referee or assistant referees when they are on the field of play. Law 10: The Method of Scoring - When the ball crosses the goal line, between the goalposts and under the crossbar, it is called a goal. The team that scores the maximum number of goals is declared the winner. When both teams score equal number of goals or when no goals are scored by both the teams then the match must be declared as drawn. In situations where the rules of the competition require there to be a winning team or in cases of home and away tie, the only permissible procedures for determining the winner are those that are approved by the International Football Association Board and the procedures include; away goals rule, kicks from the penalty mark and extra time. Law 11: Offside Position - A player is said to be on an offside position when he is closer to the opponents goal line than both the second last opponent or the ball and a player is not in this position when he is within his own half of the field of play, he is level with the second last opponent or when he is level with the last two opponents. Being in an offside position is not an offense unless the player is gaining advantage by being in that position or trying to disrupt the play by being in opinion of the referee involved in the active play by interfering with the opponent or the play. The player receiving the ball directly from a goal kick, a corner kick or a throw-in, is not an offside offense. In case of an offside offense, an indirect free kick is awarded by the referee to the opposing team. Law 12: Fouls and Misconduct - Fouls and misconduct are penalized in various forms. A direct free kick is rewarded to the opposing team when a player commits any offense in a careless, reckless or where he uses excessive force such as pushing an opponent, attempts to trip on an opponent, attempts to strike and strikes an opponent, tackles an opponent, kicks or tries to kick an opponent, jumps at an opponent, charges on an opponent. A direct kick is also awarded by the referee in cases where the player holds an opponent, spits at an opponent or when other than the goalkeeper; a player handles the ball deliberately. A direct free kick is to be taken from the place where the offense occurred. Penalty kick is rewarded when the aforementioned offenses are committed by a player within his own penalty area. When a goalkeeper within his own penalty area tries to or controls the ball with his hands for over six seconds before releasing it, touches the ball again after releasing the ball, touches the ball when it has deliberately been hit by his team member and when he touches the ball with his hands after receiving it directly from a throw-in taken by a team member, an indirect free kick is given to the opposing team. An indirect free kick is also given in cases where the referee feels that a player is playing in a dangerous manner or is preventing the goalkeeper from releasing the ball and when any other offense is committed. Some of the other disciplinary actions are taken by issuing cards such as yellow card which denotes that the substituted player has been cautioned. The red card is used to inform that the substituted player has been sent off the field of play and the player is sent off due to various reasons such as violent conduct, serious foul play and denying the opposing team's goal. A yellow card is also used to caution the players committing offenses such as unsporting behavior, delaying the start of play, failure to adhere to the required distance when the play is restarted with a corner kick, free kick or throw-in, entering or re-entering the field of play without taking a permission from the referee, persistent breaking of the laws of the game and in cases of dissent by word or action. Law 13: Free Kicks - Free kicks are of two types, direct and indirect. In direct free kick, the ball enters the goal when the direct free kick is directly kicked into the opponent's goal a goal is awarded and when it is kicked directly into the team's own goal, if this happens; a corner kick is awarded to the opposing team. The only condition in indirect free kick is that the ball needs to touch another player before it enters the goal of the opponent's team. Law 14: Penalty Kick - A penalty kick is awarded against a team that commits any offense for which a direct kick is awarded, inside its own penalty area. Additional time is allotted for a penalty kick to be taken at the end of each half of the game. Law 15: The Throw-In - Throw-in is nothing but a method of restarting the play and a goal cannot be scored directly from a throw-in. It is awarded to the opponents of that player who last touched the ball while the ball has crossed the touch line and remains either on the ground or stays in the air. Law 16: The Goal Kick - A goal kick is another method of restarting the play. It is awarded when the ball is last touched by a player of the attacking team and crosses the goal line, either on the ground or in the air and the goal is not scored. Law 17: The Corner Kick - Unlike the goal kick, a corner kick is awarded when the ball is last touched by a player of the defending team and crosses the goal line, either on the ground or in the air and the goal is not scored. That was a long... list of soccer rules and regulations. Having said that, I must accept that I could only list the rules and regulations in brief. You may visit the official website of FIFA to find a detailed version of rules and regulations of soccer.