Kick-off (association football)

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Kick-off at the final of the 2005 Confederations Cup Anstoss im Finale Confed-Cup 2005.JPG
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]

Association football Team field sport

Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a team sport played with a spherical ball between two teams of eleven players. It is played by 250 million players in over 200 countries and dependencies, making it the world's most popular sport. The game is played on a rectangular field called a pitch with a goal at each end. The object of the game is to score by moving the ball beyond the goal line into the opposing goal.

The Start and Restart of Play (association football) 8th of the Laws of the Game of association football

The Start and Restart of Play is the 8th of the Laws of the Game of association football. It concerns the methods of starting or restarting play in a game via the kick-off and dropped ball. Other methods of restarting play are addressed in other laws.

The Laws of the Game (LOTG) are the codified rules that help define association football. They are the only rules of association football subscribed to by FIFA. The laws mention the number of players a team should have, the game length, the size of the field and ball, the type and nature of fouls that referees may penalise, the frequently misinterpreted offside law, and many other laws that define the sport. During a match, it is the task of the referee to interpret and enforce the Laws of the Game.

Contents

Award

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 pre-game 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. If extra time is played another coin-toss is used at the beginning of this period.

In association football, the referee is the person responsible for enforcing the Laws of the Game during the course of a match. He or she is the final decision-making authority on all facts connected with play, and is the only official on the pitch with the authority to start and stop play and impose disciplinary action against players during a match. At most levels of play the referee is assisted by two assistant referees, who are empowered to advise the referee in certain situations such as the ball leaving play or infringements of the Laws of the Game occurring out of the view of the referee; however, the assistant referees' decisions are not binding and the referee has authority to overrule an assistant referee. At higher levels of play the referee may also be assisted by a fourth official who supervises the teams' technical areas and assists the referee with administrative tasks, and, at the very highest levels, additional assistant referees and/or video assistant referees.

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

Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll preparing to kick-off. Suarez and Carroll crop.jpg
Luis Suárez and Andy Carroll preparing to kick-off.

The kick-off is taken from 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 (9.16m) from the ball (a distance marked on the pitch by the centre circle), until the ball is in play.

The ball is initially stationary until it is put into play by being kicked. The player who has first kicked the ball may not touch it again until it has been touched by another player.

A stipulation that this kick must be towards the opponents' goal existed in the rules from 1883 [2] until 2016. [3] This resulted in kick-offs typically involving two people (as pictured), with one tapping the ball forward and the other passing it back to the rest of the team. Now a team may kick the ball backwards explaining why the kicker may be in the other half of the field when kicking the ball.

A goal may be scored directly from a kick-off against the opponent. [4]

Infringements

If a player moves from their required position as detailed above 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.

History

Before 1863

Illustration of the kick-off used at Rugby School (1845) Kick Off (Harcourt Chambers, 1845).jpg
Illustration of the kick-off used at Rugby School (1845)

One of the few things we know 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. [5] [6] [7] 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". [8]

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. [9]

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. [10] 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, [11] the Sheffield rules of 1858, [12] and the rules for Harrow football of 1858. [13] 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). [14]

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: [15]

[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, [16] while in the Melbourne FC Rules of 1859 and 1860 the winner of the toss chose goals, while the loser kicked off. [17]

The FA Laws of 1863

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". Another law states that "[a]fter a goal is won the losing side shall kick off and the goals shall be changed." [18]

Subsequent developments

The initial kick-off

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. [19] In 1997, the law was changed back, so that the initial kick-off was once again taken by the team losing the toss. [20]

Kick-off in the second half

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. [21] 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. [22] 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. [23]

Players' position

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. [24] As of 2016, the kicker is allowed to be in the opponents' half (within 10 yards of the ball when the whistle is blown is assumed). [25]

Direction of the kick

In 1883, the kick-off was required to be kicked forwards. [26] This restriction was removed in 2016. [27]

Dribbling

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. [28]

Scoring a goal from the kick-off

In 1875, it was forbidden to score a goal directly from the kick-off. [28] This restriction was reversed in 1997, when it was permitted once again to score a goal directly from the kick-off. [29] 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. [30]

Pitch markings

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. [31]

Summary

DateAwarded at beginning of matchAwarded after goal scoredAwarded at start of second halfOpponents may approach within 10 yardsPlayers may be in opponents' halfBall may be kicked backwardsKicker may play ball again before it is touched by another playerAttacking goal may be scoredOwn goal may be scored
1863Yes; to the side losing the tossYes; to the side conceding the goalNoNoYesYesYesYesYes
1873Yes; the side winning the toss may choose to take the kickoff or to have choice of goals
1874Only if no goals were scored in the first half; awarded to the same team as kicked off the matchNo
1875Yes; to the opposite side to that which kicked off the matchNoNoNo
1883No
1997Yes; to the side losing the tossYesYes
2016Yes; kicker onlyYesNo

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References

  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. Laws of the Game (1883)  . The Football Association. 1883 via Wikisource.
  3. Football: IFAB Confirm Series of Changes to Football Rules Ahead of Next Season Yahoo! Sport, 16 April 2016
  4. http://www.theifab.com/#!/laws/the-start-and-restart-of-play/chapters/kick-off The IFAB Laws of the Game, Law 8
  5. "Foot-Ball Match". Morning Chronicle. London (14555): 4. 1815-12-27. The ball was thrown up between the parties by the Duke of Buccleuch
  6. "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
  7. "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
  8. Rules of Surrey Football Club (1849)  via Wikisource.
  9. "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
  10. Laws of Football as played at Rugby School (1845)  via Wikisource.
  11. 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
  12. Sheffield Rules (1858)  via Wikisource. Kick off from middle must be a place kick
  13. Rules of Harrow Football (1858)  via Wikisource. The Ball must be kicked off from the middle of the ground, halfway between the two Bases
  14. 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
  15. "An Old Boy" [Thomas Hughes] (1857). Tom Brown's School Days. Cambridge: Macmillan. pp. 113, 115.
  16. Cambridge Rules (1863)  via Wikisource. The choice of goals and kick off shall be determined by tossing
  17. {cite wikisource |title=Rules of Melbourne Football Club (1860) |quote=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}}
  18. Laws of the Game (1863)  via Wikisource.
  19. Laws of the Game (1873)  via Wikisource. The winners of the toss shall have the option of kick off or choice of goals.
  20. "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
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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
  24. 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.
  25. 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. ...all players, except the player taking the kick-off, must be in their own half of the field of play.
  26. 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
  27. "Kick-offs can now go backwards, and other rule changes newly approved". Guardian. 2016-01-08.
  28. 1 2 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.
  29. "International Football Assocation 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
  30. "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
  31. Laws of the Game (1891)  via Wikisource.