Kick-off (association football)

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Kick-off at the final of the 2005 Confederations Cup

A kick-off is the method of starting and, in some cases, restarting play in a game of association football. The rules concerning the kick-off are part of Law 8 of the Laws of the Game.[1]

Award[edit]

A kick-off is used to start each half of play, and each period of extra time where applicable. The team that wins the pre-game coin toss may choose either

  • to take the initial kick-off (in which case the team losing the toss chooses which end of the pitch to attack in the first half), or
  • to choose which end of the pitch to attack in the first half (in which case the team losing the toss takes the initial kick-off).

The kick-off to start the second half is taken by team which did not take the initial kick-off. If extra time is played, another coin-toss is used at the beginning of this period.

A kick-off is also used to restart play after a goal is scored, and is taken by the team that conceded the goal.

Procedure[edit]

Luis Suárez and Andy Carroll preparing to kick-off.

The ball must be stationary and on the centre spot. All players, except for the kicker, must be in their own half of the field of play, and all opposing players must remain at least 10 yards (9.15 m) from the ball (a distance marked on the pitch by the centre circle), until the ball is in play.

Once the referee has given the signal for the kick-off, the ball is kicked in any direction. The ball is in play once it is kicked and clearly moves. The player taking the kick-off may not touch the ball again until it has been touched by another player.

A goal may be scored directly from a kick-off against the opposing team.[2] An own goal may not be scored directly from the kick-off; if the ball goes directly into the goal of the team taking the kick-off, a corner kick is awarded to the opposing team.

Infringements[edit]

If the kick-off is taken with a moving ball, or from the wrong place, the kick-off is retaken. A retake is also required if a player other than the kicker is in the opponents' half, or an opponent is less than 10 yards from the centre spot. A player who excessively delays the restart of play is cautioned.[3]

It is an offence for the kicker to touch the ball a second time before it has been touched by another player; this is punishable by an indirect free kick to the opposing 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.

History[edit]

Before 1863[edit]

Illustration of the kick-off used at Rugby School (1845)

One of the few things known about the rules of English traditional football is the means by which the matches were started: it appears to have been the custom in several places for the game to start with the ball being "thrown up" in the middle of the field of play by a neutral official. The players would then contest for possession of the ball as it descended.[4][5][6] The rules of Surrey Football Club, published in 1849, likewise specify that the game is started by the ball being "tossed up in the centre of the ground".[7]

A game played on Christmas Day 1841 is recorded as having been started with the ball placed in the middle of the field of play, with each team attempting to play the ball as soon as possible after the firing of a pistol.[8]

The oldest published laws of football (Rugby School, 1845) specify that the game is to be started with a "kick off" from the middle of the field of play, which must be a place-kick.[9] Most codes of laws from this era provide for a similar "kick off" from the centre of the ground; these include the Cambridge rules of 1856,[10] the Sheffield rules of 1858,[11] and the rules for Harrow football of 1858.[12] One exception is the laws for the Eton field game (1862), which specify instead a "bully" in the middle of the field (similar to a scrummage in rugby union).[13]

The novel Tom Brown's School Days (published in 1857 but based on the author's experiences at Rugby School from 1834 to 1842) gives a detailed description of the kick-off:[14]

[H]as'nt old Brooke won the toss, with his lucky halfpenny, and got choice of goals, and kick-off? The new ball you may see lie there quite by itself, in the middle, pointing towards the school or island goal; in another minute it will be well on its way there [...] [O]ld Brooke takes a half-a-dozen quick steps, and away goes the ball spinning towards the School goal; seventy yards before it touches ground, and at no point above twelve or fifteen feet high, a model kick-off; and the School-house cheer and rush on; the ball is returned, and they meet it and drive it back amongst the masses of the School already in motion.

The passage above suggests that the winner of the toss, in the Rugby game, was awarded both kick-off and choice of goals. This was also the case in the Cambridge Rules of 1863,[15] while in the Melbourne FC Rules of 1859 and 1860 the winner of the toss chose goals, while the loser kicked off.[16]

The FA Laws of 1863[edit]

The original FA laws of 1863 specify that "[t]he winner of the toss shall have the choice of goals. The game shall be commenced by a place kick from the centre of the ground by the side losing the toss, the other side shall not approach within 10 yards of the ball until it is kicked off". A "place kick" is further defined as "a kick at the ball while on the ground, in any position in which the kicker may choose to place it". The kick-off, which required the ball to be on the ground, was thus distinguished from the free kick, which could be taken "in such manner as the kicker may think fit", language which was interpreted as permitting a kick from hand (a drop-kick or a punt).[17][18]

Another law states that "[a]fter a goal is won the losing side shall kick off and the goals shall be changed."[19]

Subsequent developments[edit]

The initial kick-off[edit]

The original laws of 1863 specified that the initial kick-off should be taken by the side losing the toss. In 1873, the team winning the toss was given the option of whether to choose ends or to take the initial kick-off.[20] In 1997, the law was changed back, so that the initial kick-off was once again taken by the team losing the toss.[21] The law was changed once again so beginning on June 1, 2019, the side winning the toss once again has the choice between kicking-off and choosing ends. The justification for this rule-change was that "[r]ecent law changes have made the kick-off more dynamic (e.g. a goal can be scored directly from the kick-off) so captains winning the toss often ask to take the kick-off."[22]

Kick-off in the second half[edit]

The original laws of 1863 made no provision for half-time. In 1870, based on a proposal by Wanderers F.C., a change of ends was introduced at half-time, but only if no goals had been scored in the first half; the law did not specify the means by which play should be started in the second half.[23] In 1874, a change in the laws proposed by Harrow Chequers specified that a kick-off should occur at the start of the second half, provided no goal had been scored up to that point; this kick-off was taken by same side as originally kicked off the game.[24] In 1875 a further change proposed by Queen's Park F.C. was accepted; there is always a break and change of ends at half-time, and the kick-off for the second half is taken by the opposite team to that which kicked off the first half.[25]

Players' position[edit]

The original laws of 1863 placed no restriction (other than offside) on the players' position during the kick-off, except that opponents could not approach within 10 yards of the ball. In 1874, a new restriction was added that all players had to be in their own half of the field.[26] In 2017, the law was altered to allow the kicker to be in the opponents' half.[27]

Direction of the kick[edit]

As a result of the International Football Conference of December 1882, it was decided that the kick-off had to be kicked forwards. This change was implemented in the Laws of the Game in 1883.[28] This restriction was removed in 2016.[29]

Putting the ball into play[edit]

In 1905, it was specified that the ball "must make a complete circuit or travel the distance of its circumference" before being in play.[30] In 1997, this requirement was eliminated: the ball became in play as soon as it was kicked and moved.[31] In 2016, it was specified that the ball must "clearly" move.[32]

Dribbling[edit]

In 1875, it was forbidden for the player taking the kick-off to play the ball again until it had been kicked by another player. [33]

Scoring a goal from the kick-off[edit]

In 1875, it was forbidden to score a goal directly from the kick-off.[33] This restriction was reversed in 1997, when it was permitted once again to score a goal directly from the kick-off.[34] In 2016, at the same time the backwards kick-off was legalized, the possibility of scoring an own goal directly from the kick-off (an extremely unlikely situation) was removed, with a corner kick being awarded to the opponents instead.[35]

Pitch markings[edit]

In 1891, internal pitch-markings were introduced. These included a "suitable mark" at the centre of the pitch and a "circle of radius 10 yards" to mark the area within which opponents were forbidden.[36]

Remedy for infringements of the laws[edit]

In 1882, an indirect free kick was awarded to the opposition when the player taking the kick-off touched the ball a second time before it had touched another player.[37] In 1887, an indirect free kick was also awarded for any other infringement of the laws:[38] in 1903 this was changed to a retake.[39]

Summary[edit]

Date Awarded at beginning of match Awarded after goal scored Awarded at start of second half Opponents may approach within 10 yards Players may be in opponents' half Ball may be kicked backwards Kicker may play ball again before it is touched by another player Attacking goal may be scored Own goal may be scored Remedy for double touch Remedy for other infringement Date
1863 Yes; to the side losing the toss Yes; to the side conceding the goal No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes N/A None specified 1863
1873 Yes; the side winning the toss may choose to take the kickoff or to have choice of goals 1873
1874 Only if no goals were scored in the first half; awarded to the same team as kicked off the match No 1874
1875 Yes; to the opposite side to that which kicked off the match No No No None specified 1875
1882 Indirect free-kick 1882
1883 No 1883
1887 Indirect free-kick 1887
1903 Retake 1903
1997 Yes; to the side losing the toss Yes Yes 1997
2016 Yes No 2016
2017 kicker only


2017
2019 Yes; the side winning the toss may choose to take the kickoff or to have choice of goals 2019

References[edit]

  1. ^ IFAB (1 June 2018). "Laws of the Game 2018/19 - Law 8 - The Start and Restart of Play - 1. Kick-off". theifab.com. Zurich: International Football Association Board. Retrieved 10 October 2018. A kick-off starts both halves of a match, both halves of extra time and restarts play after a goal has been scored. Free kicks (direct or indirect), penalty kicks, throw-ins, goal kicks and corner kicks are other restarts (see Laws 13–17).
  2. ^ http://www.theifab.com/#!/laws/the-start-and-restart-of-play/chapters/kick-off The IFAB Laws of the Game, Law 8
  3. ^ "Laws of the Game 2019/20" (PDF). p. 110. Retrieved 2020-02-09.
  4. ^ "Foot-Ball Match". Morning Chronicle. London (14555): 4. 1815-12-27. The ball was thrown up between the parties by the Duke of Buccleuch
  5. ^ "London". Kentish Gazette. Canterbury (358): 3. 1771-10-26. On beginning a second time, two of the gentlemen of opposite parties met together at the ball with such violence, the one of them had his leg broke, and the other his shoulder dislocated
  6. ^ "Lincoln Municipality". Lincoln, Rutland, and Stamford Mercury. Stamford. 144 (7489): 3. 1839-02-15. Through the interference of the authorities at Market Rasen, the annual nuisance of foot-ball playing in the streets of that town on Shrove Tuesday has been discontinued [...] This year, although several groups of men and boys were observed in various parts of the town, no attempt was made to throw up the ball
  7. ^ Rules of Surrey Football Club (1849)  – via Wikisource.
  8. ^ "Foot-ball". Bell's Life in London: 4. 1842-01-02. the ball was placed in the middle of the field, and both parties, at the fire of the pistol, started for the game, the Fearnoughts getting the first kick
  9. ^ Laws of Football as played at Rugby School (1845)  – via Wikisource.
  10. ^ Cambridge Rules (1856)  – via Wikisource. At the commencement of the play the ball shall be kicked off from the middle of the ground: after every goal there shall be a kick-off in the same way
  11. ^ Sheffield Rules (1858)  – via Wikisource. Kick off from middle must be a place kick
  12. ^ Rules of Harrow Football (1858)  – via Wikisource. The Ball must be kicked off from the middle of the ground, halfway between the two Bases
  13. ^ Laws of the Eton Field Game (1862)  – via Wikisource. The game lasts an hour, and is commenced by a "bully" in the middle of the field
  14. ^ "An Old Boy" [Thomas Hughes] (1857). Tom Brown's School Days. Cambridge: Macmillan. pp. 113, 115.
  15. ^ Cambridge Rules (1863)  – via Wikisource. The choice of goals and kick off shall be determined by tossing
  16. ^ Rules of Melbourne Football Club (1860)  – via Wikisource. The Captains on each side shall toss for choice of goal; the side losing the toss has the kick-off from the centre point between the Goals
  17. ^ See e.g. "Eleven of Barnes v. Mr. Greaves's Eleven". Sporting Life: 1. 1864-01-27. Hay, on the part of Barnes, touched the ball down behind his adversary's goal. Being by the new rules entitled to a free kick from fifteen yards outside the goal line, he punted the ball very neatly between the posts [emphasis added]
  18. ^ Although the terminology was no longer necessary, the kick-off continued to be referred to as a "place-kick" in the laws of the game as late as 1996
  19. ^ Laws of the Game (1863)  – via Wikisource.
  20. ^ Laws of the Game (1873)  – via Wikisource. The winners of the toss shall have the option of kick off or choice of goals.
  21. ^ "International Football Association Board: 1997 Minutes of the Annual General Meeting" (PDF). p. 124. Retrieved 2018-10-08. A coin is tossed and the team which wins the toss decides which goal it will attack in the first half of the match. The other team takes the kick-off to start the match
  22. ^ "Laws of the Game 2019/20" (PDF). p. 150.
  23. ^ Laws of the Game (1870)  – via Wikisource. In the event, however, of no goal having fallen to either party at the lapse of half the allotted time, ends shall then be changed.
  24. ^ Laws of the Game (1874)  – via Wikisource. In the event, however, of no goal having fallen to either side at the lapse of half the allotted time, ends shall then be changed. [...] After the change of ends at half-time the same side as originally kicked off shall kick off as provided in the second part of Rule II.
  25. ^ Laws of the Game (1875)  – via Wikisource. [A]fter the change of ends at half-time the ball shall be kicked off by the opposite side from that which originally did so
  26. ^ Laws of the Game (1874)  – via Wikisource. nor shall any player on either side pass the centre of the ground in the direction of his opponents' goal until the ball is kicked off.
  27. ^ IFAB (2017). "Laws of the Game 2017-18" (PDF). Zurich: International Football Association Board. p. 81. Retrieved 2019-12-25. ...all players, except the player taking the kick-off, must be in their own half of the field of play.
  28. ^ Laws of the Game (1883)  – via Wikisource. The game shall be commenced by a place-kick from the centre of the ground in the direction of the opposite goal-line
  29. ^ "Kick-offs can now go backwards, and other rule changes newly approved". Guardian. 2016-01-08.
  30. ^ Laws of the Game (1905)  – via Wikisource. When a free kick has been awarded, the kicker's opponents shall not approach within 6 yards of the ball unless they are standing on their own goal-line. The ball must at least be rolled over before it shall be considered played; i.e., it must make a complete circuit or travel the distance of its circumference. The kicker shall not play the ball a second time until it has been played by another player. The kick-off (except as provided by Law 2), corner-kick, and goal-kick, shall be free kicks within the meaning of this Law. [emphasis added]
  31. ^ "International Football Association Board: 1997 Minutes of the Annual General Meeting" (PDF). p. 124. Retrieved 2019-12-03.
  32. ^ "IFAB: Law Changes 2016-17" (PDF). p. 24. Retrieved 2019-12-03.
  33. ^ a b Laws of the Game (1875)  – via Wikisource. In no case shall a goal be scored from any free kick, nor shall the ball be again played by the kicker until it has been played by another player. The kick-off and corner-flag kick shall be free kicks within the meaning of this rule.
  34. ^ "International Football Association Board: 1997 Minutes of the Annual General Meeting" (PDF). p. 124. Retrieved 2018-10-08. A goal may be scored directly from the kick-off
  35. ^ "Laws of the Game 2016/17" (PDF). p. 65. Retrieved 2018-10-09. A goal may be scored directly against the opponents from the kick-off
  36. ^ Laws of the Game (1891)  – via Wikisource.
  37. ^ Laws of the Game (1882)  – via Wikisource. 11. In the event of any infringement of Rules 5, 6, 8, or 9, 12, or 14, a free kick shall be forfeited to the opposite side from the spot where the infringement took place.
    12. In no case shall a goal be scored from any free kick, nor shall the ball be again played by the kicker until it has been played by another player. The kick-off and corner-flag kick shall be free kicks within the meaning of this rule [emphasis added].
  38. ^ Laws of the Game (1887)  – via Wikisource. In the event of any infringement of rules 2, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10, a free kick shall be forfeited to the opposite side, from the spot where the infringement took place [emphasis added].
  39. ^ Laws of the Game (1903)  – via Wikisource. [Law 2] Decision of International Board:-- If this law is not complied with, the kick-off must be taken over again