Laws 1-6

Listed here are the initial definitions of the Laws. Click on the Title to see all the details including other rulings, definitions, and sanctions pertaining to that Law.

Law 1 – the field of play

Field surface

Matches may be played on natural or artificial surfaces, according to the rules of the competition.

The colour of artificial surfaces must be green.

Where artificial surfaces are used in either competition matches between representative teams of member associations affiliated to FIFA or international club competition matches, the surface must meet the requirements of the FIFA Quality Concept for Football Turf or the International Artificial Turf Standard, unless special dispensation is given by FIFA.

Law 2 – the ball

Qualities and measurements

The ball is:

  • Spherical
  • Made of leather or other suitable material
  • Of a circumference of not more than 70 cm (28 ins) and not less than 68 cm (27 ins)
  • Of a pressure equal to 0.6 – 1.1 atmosphere (600 – 1,100 g/cm2) at sea level (8.5 lbs/sq in – 15.6 lbs/sq in)

Law 3 – the number of players

Number of Players

A match is played by two teams, each consisting of not more than eleven players, one of whom is the goalkeeper. A match may not start if either team consists of fewer than seven players.

Law 4 – the players’ equipments


A player must not use equipment or wear anything that is dangerous to himself or another player (including any kind of jewelry).

Law 5 – the referee

The authority of the referee

Each match is controlled by a referee who has full authority to enforce the Laws of the Game in connection with the match to which he has been appointed.

Law 6 – the assistant referees


Two assistant referees may be appointed whose duties, subject to the decision of the referee, are to indicate:

  • when the whole of the ball leaves the field of play
  • which team is entitled to a corner kick, goal kick or throw-in
  • when a player may be penalised for being in an offside position
  • when a substitution is requested
  • when misconduct or any other incident occurs out of the view of the referee
  • when offences have been committed whenever the assistant referees have a better view than the referee (this includes, in certain circumstances, offences committed in the penalty area)
  • whether, at penalty kicks, the goalkeeper moves off the goal line before the ball is kicked and if the ball crosses the line