We are searching data for your request:
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.
A player will be sent off for committing a serious offense.
Scott Heavey/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images
Whether you're watching the top pro teams in the world battle it out for the Club World Cup or taking in a Major League Soccer game in America, professional teams around the world follow the same set of rules. These rules are laid out by FIFA -- soccer's international governing body -- in the "Laws of the Game." Familiarize yourself with the basics of the rules so you can focus on the play when you watch a game.
Field and Ball
Soccer is played on a rectangular field by two teams who can field as many as 11 players; a team cannot play with fewer than seven players on the field. For domestic games the field's length must be between 100 and 130 yards and the width must be between 50 and 100 yards. In international play the range for the length is 110 to 120 yards and the width ranges from 70 to 80 yards. The goals sit on the center of each end line and measure 8 feet tall by 8 yards wide. The game is played with a round ball with a circumference of 27 to 28 inches weighing 14 to 16 ounces at the beginning of the game.
The scoring procedure is basic in soccer: the whole of the ball must pass the whole of the end line, between the goal posts and under the crossbar. A ball that only partially crosses the goal line is still in play and does not count as a goal. A goal will not be allowed if the scoring team commits an offense prior to the goal.
Length of Games
Professional games are 90 minutes long. This is broken down into two 45-minute halves with a 15-minute break between them. The time runs continuously in soccer but the referee can add additional time to the end of each period to make up for delays in play. Most games can end in a tie but some -- like playoff games in MLS -- need a winner. Different professional leagues have different tie-breaking methods. In MLS they will go into two 15-minute overtime periods to decide the winner. If it's still tied at the end of these additional periods, the game is decided with a shootout.
A player will be shown a red card if he commits a serious offense such as spitting at an opponent, displaying violent conduct or using abusive language. A player will be cautioned and shown a yellow card for less serious offenses such as delaying the restart of play, unsporting behavior or persistently violating the rules. A player who receives two cautions in a game will be shown a red card and sent off. If a player commits a minor offense the opposing team will simply receive a free kick. A direct free kick -- which can be scored on -- is awarded for certain offenses such as charging or pushing an opponent. Indirect kicks -- which must touch a second player before a goal can be scored -- are awarded to the opposing team if a player commits an offense such as playing in a dangerous manner or impeding an opponent.
- Scott Heavey/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images