Kick-off (association football)
A kick-off is the method of starting and restarting play in a game of association football.
A kick-off is used to start each half of play, and each period of extra time where applicable. The kick-off to start a game is awarded to the team that lost the pregame coin-toss (the team that won the coin-toss chooses which direction they wish to play). The kick-off begins when the referee blows the whistle. The kick-off to start the second half is taken by the other team. Another coin-toss is used at the beginning of extra time, where applicable.
A kick-off is also used to restart play after a goal is scored, and is taken by the team that conceded the goal.
The kick-off is taken from the center spot. All players must be in their own half of the field of play, and all opposing players must remain at least 10 yards (9.16m) from the ball (a distance marked by the center circle), until the ball is in play.
The ball initially stationary until it is put into play. The ball is in play when it is kicked and moves forward. The player who has first kicked the ball may not touch it again until it has been touched by another player. Because of this, play is almost always started with two players at the center spot - one to kick the ball forward a few inches, and the second to pass the ball backwards to the rest of the team.
A goal may be scored directly from a kick-off.
If a player moves from their required position as detailed above, or if the ball is not kicked forward, the kick is retaken. Failure to maintain position may constitute misconduct and be punished by a caution (yellow card).
It is an offence for the kicker to touch the ball a second time until it has been touched by another player; this is punishable by an indirect free kick to the defending team from where the offence occurred, unless the second touch was also a more serious handling offence, in which case it is punishable by a direct free kick.