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Law 3 - The Players

  • A match may not start / continue if a team has fewer than 7 players.
  • Substitutes may take a restart but must first step onto the field of play.
  • The referee can send off a player before the kick-off (from the pre-match inspection of the field of play onwards), but does not show a RC.  The player sent off can be replaced by a named substitute (who cannot be replaced but the team still retains the full number of substitutions).
  • If a substitute/substituted player/sent-off player/team official enters the field and interferes with play, the restart is a DFK (or PK).
  • If something/someone (other than a player) touches a ball going into the goal, the referee can award the goal if the ball goes into the goal and the touch had no impact on the defenders’ ability to play the ball.


Law 4 - The Players’ Equipment

  • Any tape or other material (like extra socks and ankle supports) on or covering the sock must be the same color as the sock.
  • Undershorts must be the color of the shorts or their hem; all team members must wear the same color.


    Law 5 - The Referee

  • Referee cannot change a decision once play has restarted or the referee has left the field of play at the end of the half.
  • Referee can only use the RC and YC after entering the field of play at the start of the match.
  • Player injured by RC/YC foul can be quickly assessed/treated and stay on the field.


    Law 8 - The Start and Restart of Play

  • Ball must clearly move to be in play for all kicked restarts.
  • Ball can be kicked in any direction at kick-off, so players must be in own half.
  • Referee cannot ‘manufacture’ the outcome of a dropped ball.
  • From a dropped ball, a goal cannot be scored unless the ball is touched by at least two players before entering the goal.


    Law 10 - 
    Determining the Outcome of a Match

  • Halfway line is ‘neutral’ for offside; player must be in the opponents’ half.
  • Offside offence is not judged at the moment the ball is played but when involvement in active play occurs, so the offside IFK is always taken where the offside offence occurs (even in a player’s own half).  Offside position is judged (no penalty) when the ball is played; offside offense is penalized when involvement is judged.
  • Interfering with an opponent after a deliberate save or a rebound is an offside offence.
  • A defender off the field is only ‘active’ until play stops or the defending team clears the ball away from their penalty area towards the half-way line. Same for an attacker returning to the field being I an offside position.
  • A goal is scored even if an attacking player is inside the goal unless (s)he commits an offence, either offside or a foul.


    Law 12/13 - Fouls and Misconduct/Free Kicks

  • For “Kicks from the Penalty Mark” only:
    • Referee will toss a coin to choose the goal (unless there are weather, field of play or safety considerations, etc.).
    • A 2nd coin toss will determine which team takes the first kick.
    • Goalkeeper, who is unable to continue before or during the kicks, may be replaced by a listed substitute (unless all substitutions have already been made) or a player excluded to equalize the number of players, but the GK takes no further part and may not take a kick.
    • Player temporarily off the field (e.g., injured) at the final whistle can take part.
    • Both teams must have the same number of players before and during the kicks.
    • A kick is over/completed when the ball crosses a boundary line or stops moving (including held by the GK) or when the referee stops play for an infringement.
    • Kicks are not delayed if a player leaves the field; if the player is not back in time for his/her kick, kick is forfeited (not scored).


      Law 11 - Offside

  •  DFK, PK and IFK can only be awarded if the ball is in play – DFK/PK no longer requires “against an opponent” and occur “on the field of play”.
  • With the ball in play, any offense by a player on the field of play against a team mate/substitute/substituted player/team official/match official is always a DFK (or PK).

    •    If a player leaves the field as part of normal play and commits an offence against another player, the restart is now a FK on the boundary line, nearest to the offence (or a PK if DFK foul within the offender’s own penalty area).

  • If the referee plays advantage after a RC offence and the offending player then gets involved in play, it is an IFK restart (for stoppage to administer RC).

    •    Attempted violent conduct is a RC, even if no contact occurs.

  • An eleventh DFK offence is for contact with an opponent while impeding his/her progress.


For DOGSO offenses:

  • If a player denies the opposing team a goal or an obvious goal-scoring opportunity by a deliberate handball offence, the player is sent off (RC) wherever the offence occurs.
  • If a player denies an opponent an obvious goal-scoring opportunity within that player’s own penalty area and the referee awards a penalty kick, the offending player is cautioned (YC) unless:
  • the offence is holding, or pushing; or
  • the offending player does not attempt to play the ball or there is no possibility for the challenging player to play the ball; or
  • the offence is one which is punishable by a RC wherever it occurs on the field of play (e.g., serious foul play, violent conduct, etc.)
  • In any of these circumstances, the player is sent off (RC).


Law 14 - The Penalty Kick

• The following offences by the kicking team are now an IFK at the penalty mark whether or not the PK enters the goal:

  • IFK if the ‘wrong’ player deliberately takes the PK plus a YC to that player.
  • IFK if the ball is kicked backwards.
  • IFK and a YC to the kicker if ‘illegal’ feinting occurs.

• If the GK infringes and the PK is missed, the GK receives a YC and the kick is retaken.


Referee signals

Advantage signal: In addition to the current ‘two-armed’ referee signal for advantage, a ‘one-arm signal’ is now permitted.


2016-17 Laws of the Game (206 pages).  Laws and Interpretations are merged together, Section comparing Old Text to New Text, Section on Practical Guidelines for Match Officials:


FIFA’s 2016-17 LOTG can be downloaded from:


International Football Association Board (IFAB) Summary of the Law Changes (12 pages):


2016-17 IFAB LOTG Changes Presentation (65 pages):


IFAB Revision to the LOTG Frequently Asked Questions (12 pages):

New Rule Changes to the Laws


Culpeper Soccer Club
145 W. Davis St. (Mailing Address: PO Box 1105), Office Hours: by appointment
Culpeper, Virginia 22701

Phone: 540-825-0886
Email: [email protected]

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