The Laws of the Game (LOTG) are the codified rules that help define association football. 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.
There were various attempts to codify rules of football in England in the mid-19th century. The extant Laws date back to 1863 where a ruleset was formally adopted by the newly formed Football Association. Over time, the Laws have been amended, and since 1886 they have been maintained by the International Football Association Board.
They are the only rules of association football FIFA permits its members to use. The Laws allow some minor optional variations which can be implemented by national football associations, including some for play at the lowest levels, but otherwise almost all organised football worldwide is played under the same ruleset.
The current Laws of the Game (LOTG) consist of seventeen individual laws, each law containing several rules and directions:
In 1997, a major revision dropped whole paragraphs and clarified many sections to simplify and strengthen the principles. These laws are written in English Common Law style and are meant to be guidelines and goals of principle that are then clarified through practice, tradition, and enforcement by the referees.
The actual law book had long contained 50 pages more of material, organized in numerous sections, that included many diagrams but were not officially part of the main 17 laws. In 2007, many of these additional sections along with much of the material from the FIFA Questions and Answers (Q&A), were restructured and put into a new "Additional Instructions and Guidelines for the Referee" section. In the 2016/2017 revision of the Laws, the material from this section was folded into the Laws themselves.
The laws are administered by the International Football Association Board (IFAB). They meet at least once a year to debate and decide any changes to the text as it exists at that time. The meeting in winter generally leads to an update to the laws on 1 July of each year that take effect immediately. The laws govern all international matches and national matches of member organizations. A minimum of six of the eight seat IFAB board needs to vote to accept a rule change. Four seats are held by FIFA to represent their 200+ member Nations, with the other four going to each of the British associations (the FA representing England, the SFA representing Scotland, FAW representing Wales and the IFA representing Northern Ireland), meaning that no change can be made without FIFA's approval, but FIFA cannot change the Laws without the approval of at least two of the British governing bodies.
In the nineteenth century, the word "football" could signify a wide variety of games in which players attempted to move a ball into an opponent's goal. The first published rules of "football" were those of Rugby School (1845), which permitted extensive handling, quickly followed by the Eton field game (1847), which was much more restrictive of handling the ball. Between the 1830s and 1850s, a number of sets of rules were created for use at Cambridge University — but they were generally not published at the time, and many have subsequently been lost. The first detailed sets of rules published by football clubs (rather than a school or university) were those of Sheffield FC (written 1858, published 1859) which codified a game played for 20 years until being discontinued in favour of the Football Association code, and those of Melbourne FC (1859) which are the origins of Australian rules football. By the time the Football Association met in late 1863, many different sets of rules had been published, varying widely on such questions as the extent to which the ball could be handled, the treatment of offside, the amount of physical contact allowed with opponents, and the height at which a goal could be scored.
In 1863, some football clubs followed the example of Rugby School by allowing the ball to be carried in the hands, with players allowed to "hack" (kick in the shins) opponents who were carrying the ball. Other clubs forbade both practices. During the FA meetings to draw up the first version of the laws, there was an acrimonious division between the "hacking" and "non-hacking" clubs. An FA meeting of 17 November 1863 discussed this question, with the "hacking" clubs predominating. The first draft of the Football Association's laws, drawn up by FA's secretary Ebenezer Cobb Morley, reflected this preference, containing many features that would today be considered closer to rugby than association football.
A further meeting was scheduled in order to finalize ("settle") the laws. At this crucial November 24 meeting, the "hackers" were again in a narrow majority. During the meeting, however, Morley brought the delegates' attention to a recently-published set of football laws from Cambridge University which banned carrying and hacking. Discussion of the Cambridge rules, and suggestions for possible communication with Cambridge on the subject, served to delay the final "settlement" of the laws to a further meeting, on December 1st. A number of representatives who supported rugby-style football did not attend this additional meeting, resulting in hacking and carrying being banned.
Francis Campbell of Blackheath, the most prominent "hacking" club, accused FA President Arthur Pember, Morley, and their allies of managing the 24 November meeting improperly in order to prevent the "pro-hacking" laws from being adopted. Pember strongly denied such an "accusation of ungentlemanly conduct". The verdicts of later historians have been mixed: Young accuses Campbell of "arrogance", while Harvey supports Campbell's allegations, accusing the non-hackers of a "coup" against the pro-hacking clubs.. Blackheath, along with the other "hacking" clubs, would leave the FA as a result of this dispute.
The final version of the FA's laws was formally adopted and published in December 1863. Some notable differences from the modern game are listed below:
At its meeting on 8 December 1863, the FA agreed that, as reported in Bell's Life in London, John Lillywhite would publish the Laws. The first game to be played under the new rules was a 0-0 draw between Barnes and Richmond. Adoption of the laws was not universal among English football clubs. The Sheffield Rules continued to be used by many. Additionally, in preference of a more physical game with greater emphasis on handling of the ball, several decided against being part of the FA in its early years and would later form the Rugby Football Union in 1871.
Minor variations between the rules used in England (the jurisdiction of the Football Association) and the other Home Nations of the United Kingdom, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, led to the creation of the International Football Association Board to oversee the rules for all the home nations. Their first meeting was in 1886. Before this, teams from different countries had to agree to which country's rules were used before playing.
When the international football body on the continent FIFA was founded in Paris in 1904, it immediately declared that FIFA would adhere to the rules laid down by the IFAB. The growing popularity of the international game led to the admittance of FIFA representatives to the IFAB in 1913. Up until 1958, it was still possible for the British associations to vote together to impose changes against the wishes of FIFA. This changed with the adoption of the current voting system whereby FIFA's support is necessary, but not sufficient, for any amendment to pass.
Each Member of FIFA shall play Association Football in compliance with the Laws of the Game issued by IFAB. Only IFAB may lay down and alter the Laws of the Game.
The PRESIDENT pointed out that the vote just passed to all intents and purposes annulled the business of the evening, whereupon Mr. ALCOCK said it was too late to proceed further, and moved that the meeting do adjourn till Tuesday next, Dec. 1, and it was so resolved.
MR CAMPBELL: [...] When the last meeting was held for the express purpose [...] of settling the proposed laws, they ought to have gone on with the rules as proposed by the association, and not taken the course they did as to the Cambridge rules, but the resolution and amendments had been proposed and passed in the way they had been without being properly put to the meeting, because it was found that the "hacking" party were too strong
The Cambridge Rules are several formulations of the rules of football made at the University of Cambridge during the nineteenth century. One of these codes, dating from 1863, had a significant influence on the creation of the original Laws of the Game of the Football Association.FIFA
The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA FEEF-ə; French for International Federation of Association Football, Spanish: Federación Internacional
de Fútbol Asociación, German: Internationaler Verband des Association Football) is a non-profit organization which describes itself as an international governing body of association football, fútsal, beach soccer, and efootball. It is the highest governing body of football.
FIFA was founded in 1904 to oversee international competition among the national associations of Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. Headquartered in Zürich, its membership now comprises 211 national associations. Member countries must each also be members of one of the six regional confederations into which the world is divided: Africa, Asia, Europe, North & Central America and the Caribbean, Oceania, and South America.
Today, FIFA outlines a number of objectives in the organizational Statues, including growing football internationally, providing efforts to ensure football is accessible to everyone, and advocating for integrity and fair play. FIFA is responsible for the organization and promotion of football's major international tournaments, notably the World Cup which commenced in 1930 and the Women's World Cup which commenced in 1991. Although FIFA does not set the rules of football, that being the responsibility of the International Football Association Board, it applies and enforces the rules across all FIFA competitions. All FIFA tournaments generate revenue from sponsorship; in 2018, FIFA had revenues of over US $4.6 billion, ending the 2015-2018 cycle with a net positive of US $1.2 billion, and had cash reserves of over US $2.7 billion.
Reports by investigative journalists have linked FIFA leadership with corruption, bribery, and vote-rigging related to the election of FIFA president Sepp Blatter and the organization's decision to award the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar, respectively. These allegations led to the indictments of nine high-ranking FIFA officials and five corporate executives by the U.S. Department of Justice on charges including racketeering, wire fraud, and money laundering. On 27 May 2015, several of these officials were arrested by Swiss authorities, who were launching a simultaneous but separate criminal investigation into how the organization awarded the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. Those among these officials who were also indicted in the U.S. are expected to be extradited to face charges there as well. Many officials were suspended by FIFA's ethics committee including Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini. In early 2017 reports became public about FIFA president Gianni Infantino attempting to prevent the re-elections of both chairmen of the ethics committee, Cornel Borbély and Hans-Joachim Eckert, during the FIFA congress in May 2017. On May 9, 2017, following Infantino's proposal, FIFA Council decided not to renew the mandates of Borbély and Eckert. Together with the chairmen, 11 of 13 committee members were removed.FIFA eligibility rules
As the governing body of association football, FIFA is responsible for maintaining and implementing the rules that determine whether an association football player is eligible to represent a particular country in officially recognised international competitions and friendly matches. In the 20th century, FIFA allowed a player to represent any national team, as long as the player held citizenship of that country. In 2004, in reaction to the growing trend towards naturalisation of foreign players in some countries, FIFA implemented a significant new ruling that requires a player to demonstrate a "clear connection" to any country they wish to represent. FIFA has used its authority to overturn results of competitive international matches that feature ineligible players.Fouls and misconduct (association football)
In the sport of association football, fouls and misconduct are acts committed by players which are deemed by the referee to be unfair and are subsequently penalized. An offense may be a foul, misconduct or both depending on the nature of the offence and the circumstances in which it occurs. Fouls and misconduct are addressed in Law 12 of the Laws of the Game.
A foul is an unfair act by a player, deemed by the referee to contravene the game's laws, that interferes with the active play of the game. Fouls are punished by the award of a free kick (possibly a penalty kick) to the opposing team. A list of specific offences that can be fouls are detailed in Law 12 of the Laws of the Game (other infractions, such as technical infractions at restarts, are not deemed to be fouls); these mostly concern unnecessarily aggressive physical play and the offence of handling the ball. An infringement is classified as a foul when the infringement meets ALL of conditions of: 1) It is committed by a player (not a substitute), 2) on the field of play, 3) while the ball is in play and 4) committed against an opponent. For example, a player striking the referee or a teammate is not a foul, but is misconduct.Misconduct is any conduct by a player that is deemed by the referee to warrant a disciplinary sanction (caution or dismissal). Misconduct may include acts which are, additionally, fouls. Unlike fouls, misconduct may occur at any time, including when the ball is out of play, during half-time and before and after the game, and both players and substitutes may be sanctioned for misconduct.
Misconduct will result in the player either receiving a caution (indicated by a yellow card) or being dismissed ("sent off") from the field (indicated by a red card). A dismissed player cannot be replaced; their team is required to play the remainder of the game with one fewer player. A second caution results in the player being dismissed. The referee has considerable discretion in applying the Laws; in particular, the offence of unsporting behavior may be used to deal with most events that violate the spirit of the game, even if they are not listed as specific offences.The system of cautioning and dismissal has existed in the Laws since 1881. Association football was the first major sport to introduce penalty cards to indicate the referee's decisions; a practice since adopted by many other sports. The first major use of the cards was in the 1970 FIFA World Cup, but they were not made mandatory at all levels until 1992.Laws of football (disambiguation)
Laws of football may refer to:
Laws of rugby league
Laws of rugby union
Laws of the Game (association football)
Laws of Australian rules football
American football rulesSheffield Rules
The Sheffield Rules was a code of football devised and played in the English city of Sheffield between 1858 and 1877. The rules were initially created and revised by Sheffield Football Club, with responsibility for the laws passing to the Sheffield Football Association upon that body's creation in 1867. The rules spread beyond the city boundaries to other clubs and associations in the north and midlands of England, making them one of the most popular forms of football during the 1860s and 70s.In 1863, the newly-formed London-based Football Association (FA) published its own laws of football. Between 1863 and 1877, the FA and Sheffield laws co-existed, with each code at times influencing the other. Several games were played between Sheffield and London, using both sets of rules. After several disputes, the two codes were unified in 1877 when the Sheffield Football Association voted to adopt the FA laws, following the adoption of a compromise throw-in law by the FA.The Sheffield rules had a major influence on how the modern game of football developed. Among other things they introduced into the laws of the game the concepts of corners, and free kicks for fouls. Games played under the rules are also credited with the development of heading, following the abolition of the fair catch, and the origins of the goalkeeper and forward positions. The first competitive football tournament was both played using Sheffield Rules.Swedish football (code)
Swedish football (Swedish: Svensk fotboll) was a code of football devised and played in Sweden from the 1870s to the early 1890s, when the modern association football was introduced. Swedish football rules were a mix of the association football rules and the rugby football rules, most closely resembling the former.
Laws of the Game (rules of association football)
Association football terminology