Basic Football Rules And The Penalty For Violating Them

Like any game, football has its own set of rules, and consequently the penalties for violating them. They were established back in 1963, at the time there were 13 rules. Since then many changes have been made and today there are 17 of them. Their purpose is to prevent the game from becoming uncontrollable. The established rules apply to all games and teams. The controlling functions for the implementation of the rules are the responsibility of FIFA and IFAB.

Active fans and football enthusiasts can find interesting, up-to-date sports information on the website.

Basic football rules


It is the responsibility of every player on the field to know the main rules. During training and the game itself, they reduce the overall number of conflict situations and increase the quality of the process.
Everyone knows that football is a team ball game aimed at kicking as many goals as possible into the opponent’s net. The team consists of 11 players and 7 substitutes. Their uniforms must be completely different from those of the goalkeeper and referees. Let’s look at the basic rules that apply to the game at all levels:

  1. The playing field is to be rectangular with grass or artificial turf. Minimum length — 90 meters, maximum 120. Minimum width — 45 meters, maximum 90. For international competitions: length is 100-110 meters, width is 64-75 meters. The field is divided into 2 parts by the centerline with the marked center, circumference 9.15 meters. The marking is done by a line with a width of no more than 12 centimeters. The marking line for the length is called the sideline, the line drawn across the width is the goal line.
  2. The ball is round and made of leather. It has a circumference of 70 centimeters, but no less than 68 centimeters, and weighs 450 grams.
  3. The number of players is two teams with 11 players each, including the goalkeeper. There are from 3 to 7 players on the sidelines, according to the rules.
  4. Uniforms consist of a shirt or T-shirt in the same color for the whole team, except the goalkeeper. The shorts are also in the same color. The uniform is supplemented with stockings, shin guards, and cleats.
  5. The referee’s role is to keep an eye on a football match and to ensure that it is played according to the rules.
  6. The game is played in two halves of 45 minutes each with an interval of 15 minutes. After the interval, the teams change their goals.
  7. Starts and returns to play — the first pass is made by a player from the center of the field.
  8. The status of the ball — an offside ball is when it has gone out of the marking lines or when the match has been stopped following a decision of the referee. As long as it remains within the marking lines, it is considered to be “onside”.
  9. A goal is a complete crossing by the ball of the line between the goalposts without violating the rules. The changes implemented in 2019 completely prohibit kicking a goal with the hands, even by unintentional action.
  10. Off-side — the player is on the opponent’s side closer to the goal line than the ball and the opponent’s last player.
  11. Violation of rules and discipline, the playing process must be free from any misconduct. Kicking, pushing, dangerous sliding, and violation of discipline is not allowed. The referee has the right to punish a player with a yellow or red card. It all depends on the seriousness of the violation. According to the new rules, the coach can also be given a red card for boorish behavior and aggression.
  12. Penalty and free kick are judged by the referee when a foul has been committed. The opponents line up at least 9 meters from the ball.
  13. A penalty kick takes place when the referee finds a foul in the penalty area. One player is designated for the try, the others leave the penalty area, and the goalkeeper has the right to stand with one foot on the goal line. The kick is taken when the referee blows the whistle.
  14. The throw-in is the only playing period where the hands are used. They are wound up behind the head and the feet stand firmly on the ground. It is applied when the ball is outside the touchline.
  15. A kick from the goal line occurs when the ball has touched a player of the attacking team last, has flown over the goal line, but no goal has been scored.
  16. The corner kick takes place when the ball goes over the goal line from a player of the team that was leading the defense. The ball is kicked in from the corner flag.
  17. The referee’s assistants’ main function is to assist the head referee. Two assistants are usually placed on the sidelines.

Football leagues, championships: rules, main violations


Fans and supporters alike need to be aware of some of the rules that apply to the Europa League, the World Cup, the Champions League, and other competitions. International sporting football has its specifics:

  • There can be no more than three substitutions during the game.
  • The long side of the field must run north to reduce the influence of light on the course of play.
  • The ball must be unmarked, except for the tournament symbol and the manufacturer’s logo.


Players who violate discipline or who commit a foul are penalized by the referee in the form of a penalty kick, free kick; the referee may give a warning or send off the player. Penalties are imposed for physical aggression. A free-kick is given for touching the ball with the hand. A yellow card is issued for arguing with the referee, violating the distance during kicks, and not following the rules. Red card results in being sent off till the end of the game for two yellow cards, a serious violation of the rules, foul language, extremely aggressive behavior. One important nuance — if 4 players from the team are removed, the match ends.


All football fans need to understand that the existing rules are necessary not only for the players but also for the fans. Knowing the basic rules of the game makes it easier to get a handle on the way matches are played, objectively rate the referee’s work and simply enjoy a high quality, exciting and entertaining game.