SOCCER FACTS AND RULES: Some football equipment may get modified in its application.
For example, some facility modifications will apply to players under the age of sixteen (16) and for female footballers.
FIFA also allows some rule adjustments for veteran soccer players (35+) and for disabled players.
There are some minimum standards on football equipment and facilities to play a soccer game. Let’s kick off the checklist with the measurements of a football pitch.
Soccer Pitch Dimensions
Note: Touchline length must be greater than the length of the goal line. All pitch lines must be the same width and not more than 12 cm thick. The diagram of a soccer pitch below shows all the touchlines.
- Pitch Length (touch line): The minimum length is 90 metres and the maximum length is 120 metres.
- Pitch Width (goal line): The minimum length is 45 metres and the maximum is 90 metres wide.
Note: Different competitions may determine the actual length of the touchline and goal line within the allowed dimensions.
There are specific football facts and rules for the corner flags used in soccer. A flag-post must not be less than 1.5 metres (5 feet) high.
Each of the 4 flag posts should have a non-pointed top and one ﬂag must get placed at each corner on the pitch.
The Technical Area
Most stadiums have a designated seated area for team officials, substitutes (and substituted players). If so, the technical area should only extend 1 metre on either side of the designated seated area and up to a distance of 1 metre from the touchline.
Soccer Goal Nets
The distance between the posts of a regulation soccer goal net is 7.32 metres (24 feet). The distance from the lower edge of the crossbar to the ground is 2.44 metres (8 feet).
Young footballers from the age of 13 and upwards should use goal post sizes according to these dimensions. For safety reasons, all goals must be firmly secured to the ground (including portable goals if used).
Note: All soccer goalposts and the crossbar must be white in colour. The rules on football facility and equipment management fall under the FIFA 17 Laws of the Game.
FIFA Approved Soccer Balls
FIFA govern all the match balls used in association football games. They regulate the football ball size, the material, and its inflated pressure.
You can read the full FIFA soccer ball specifications in a different section. There is further information about the balls used in football matches.
Any of the 10 outfield players can change places with the goalkeeper. But, the team must inform the soccer referee before the change takes place.
Note: Player rotation can only occur during a stoppage in the game.
The referee has the authority to punish players for fouls and misconduct. They do so by awarding yellow or red caution cards during the game.
Referees can also administer caution cards at the half-time interval and even before or after the match has ﬁnished.
The power of the officials also allows them to give out match cautions during any extra time played. The same rule applies during spot kicks from the penalty mark. The match remains under their jurisdiction at all of these times.
Players must not use any accessory equipment for football or wear anything that is dangerous to themselves or to any other player.
Check out the full soccer equipment list section. It explains the exclusions for wearing most items of jewelry.
Goal Line Technology (GLT)
The rules for goal-line technology systems are changing. GLT is getting used more often in the game. Officials can use it to verify whether a goal gets scored to support the referees rules and decisions.
Football rule modifications are necessary where GLT gets used. In particular, they allow some rule changes to the specifications of the goal frame. But, they must follow the FIFA Quality Programme for GLT as well as the Laws of the Game.
Principles of Goal Line Technology
GLT only applies to the goal line – and nothing else. The sole purpose is to determine whether it a team scored a valid goal – or not.
The GLT system must indicate whether a goal is ‘good’ as an immediate and automatic process. It must confirm within one (1) second to the match officials only. It does so by a vibration and a visual signal showing up on the referee’s wrist watch.
GLT Requirements and Specifications
Competition organisers must ensure any GLT system used in competition matches is certified according to one of the required standards.
- FIFA Quality PRO
- FIFA Quality
- IMS – INTERNATIONAL MATCH STANDARD
The referee must not use the GLT system if the technology fails to function according to the Testing Manual. They must also report the malfunction to the appropriate authority.
There can be no form of commercial advertising, whether real or virtual, allowed on:
- The field of play or on the ground within the area enclosed by the goal nets.
- The technical area or the referee review area (RRA).
- The ground within one (1) metre (1 yard) of the boundary lines.
- Note: This rule applies from the time teams enter the field of play until they have left it at half-time and from the time teams re-enter the field of play until the end of the match.
In addition, advertising is not permitted on the flagposts (or flags), goals, or goal nets. No extraneous equipment (e.g. cameras, microphones) can get attached to any of these items.
Any of the permitted and upright commercial advertising must be at least:
- 1 metre (1 yard) from the touchlines of the field of play.
- The same distance from the goal line as the depth of the goal net.
- 1 metre (1 yard) from the goal net.
Logos and Emblems
FIFA forbids the reproduction, real or virtual, of any representative logos or emblems of FIFA, national football associations, confederations, competitions, clubs or other bodies.
This applies to the field of play, the goal nets and areas they enclose, the goals, and the flagposts during playing time.
Video Assistant Referees (VAR)
Many of the modern elite matches use VARs. Those that do must have a video operation room (VOR) and at least one referee review area (RRA).