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.
Periods of play
The match lasts two equal periods of 45 minutes, unless otherwise mutually agreed between the referee and the two teams. Any agreement to alter the duration of the periods of play (e.g. to reduce each half to 40 minutes because of insufficient light) must be made before the start of play and must comply with competition rules.
Definition of kick-off
A kick-off is a way of starting or restarting play:
- at the start of the match
- after a goal has been scored
- at the start of the second half of the match
- at the start of each period of extra time, where applicable A goal may be scored directly from the kick-off.
Ball out of play
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
- play has been stopped by the referee
A goal is scored when the whole of the ball passes over the goal line, between the goalposts and under the crossbar, provided that no infringement of the Laws of the Game has been committed previously by the team scoring the goal.
It is not an offence in itself to be in an offside position.
A player is in an offside position if:
- he is nearer to his opponents’ goal line than both the ball and the second-last opponent
A player is not in an offside position if:
- he is in his own half of the field of play or
- he is level with the second-last opponent or
- he is level with the last two opponents
Direct free kick
A direct free kick is awarded to the opposing team if a player commits any of the following seven 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
- tackles an opponent
A direct free kick is also awarded to the opposing team if a player commits any of the following three offences:
- 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 the place where the offence occurred (see Law 13 – Position of free kick).