The UK Rules
Soccer Goal Celebrations

FIFA Rules On Goal Celebrations

Can players make a shirt over head celebration? Football goal celebrations are an integral part of scoring. So what are FIFA's rules on celebrating player and team achievement?

CELEBRATING GOALS: FIFA rules on goal scoring do not allow excessive celebration. Where do we find these football regulations on outrageous or unsporting goal celebrations?

FIFA Law 12 provides us with the directives and answers below. The rule is clear about soccer team and player football goal celebrations.

Note the section on soccer fouls and misconduct rules and regulations. The laws govern unsporting behavior by all players in association football.

The football laws apply throughout the game and especially when players over-celebrate after shooting the ball into the back of the net.

FIFA Law 12 penalizes excessive, time-wasting, and choreographed goal celebrations. Does that include a football shirt over head celebration? Well it most certainly can - yes!

It might seem harsh to admonish a player for an overzealous reaction. Especially having scored the vital goal in injury time with a 30 yard screaming volley.

We've all seen soccer players performing impromptu cartwheels and dancing with the corner flag. Not to mention the ever-controversial football celebration shirt over head and occasional removal.

You might be wondering:

A football referee rules all games in the interest of fair play and reasonable sportsmanship. Even so, that might mean dishing out the punishment with a yellow card for celebrating with fans.

So, what exactly does FIFA consider to be an excessive celebration in soccer? What are unsporting football goal celebrations and how should soccer teams celebrate 'sportingly'? Let's examine the top goal celebration rules in football.

FIFA Football Goal Celebration

  1. Reacting with joy after scoring is permissible. But, that is providing the goal celebration is not excessive.
  2. Soccer referees have instructions to discourage any rehearsed or choreographed football goal celebrations.
  3. The match officials should intervene and caution players for immoderate time-wasting.
  4. Players can celebrate a goal by leaving the pitch 'momentarily'. But they should then make a prompt return to the playing field.

Note: FIFA decided to change the law on football celebration rules in 2004. It became mandatory for referees to administer a yellow caution card to any player who removes their shirt while celebrating goals.

FIFA Celebration Rules and Cautions

  1. FIFA Rules on Goal Celebrations: Shirt Over Head CelebrationAny player deemed by the referee to be performing provocative or inflammatory behaviour. That also applies to most derisory gestures made by any player or manager.
  2. A caution is imminent if any player celebrates a goal by climbing on to a perimeter fence.
  3. FIFA says cautions are also administered for removing a shirt over the player's head.
  4. Therefore, face covering with the cursory shirt over head behavior is a cautionable offence in football.

Pictured: A red card goal celebration! The ref sent off Tim Cahill for overstepping the mark with his shirt over head goal celebration. He did so after scoring against Manchester City in 2004.

3 Famous Goal Celebrations

There are too many Premier League goal celebrations to list on a single page. But here are three bizarre ways of marking a goal:

FIFA Law 12: Fouls and Misconduct

3. Disciplinary Action on Celebration of a Goal

Note: This is a direct extract taken from the official FIFA rules on goal celebrations. Section three explains why footballers get a yellow card for taking their shirt off.

FIFA expect all match officials to display relative common sense in officiating the game. As such, football referee rules extend to interpreting the extent of unsporting and excessive football goal celebrations.

Often the best referees, and the most popular ones, are those who display some leniency and tolerance. They use preventive tactics to deal with potentially inflammatory or seditious situations on the field.

Soccer Celebration Rules: FIFA Law 12 Fouls and Misconduct