A Review of the Laws for Coaches and Others

Background | Contents | Purpose | Copyright | Reproduction | Links

This is the main page for the SOCCER-COACH-L Laws of The Game (LOTG) Project: a collective effort to produce a set of frequently asked questions about the laws of soccer together with answers.


The project was conceived, organized and coordinated by Chris Mohr. It was a collaborative effort by interested members of the SOCCER-COACH-L mailing list to make the Laws of the Game more accessible to coaches and to answer some frequently asked questions about the Laws. Many of the questions are ones, or resemble ones, that have been asked by members of the mailing list at one time or another. From November 1997 to January 1998, members of the LOTG Project drafted various sections of this FAQ. The drafts were circulated to all members, criticized and redrafted before being posted here.

If after you consult this FAQ you wish to reproduce any part of it, please read the notes on copyright and reproduction below. If you'd like to suggest a question for inclusion in the FAQ on one of the Laws, by all means send it to any member of the project team.


The material connected with the LOTG Project consists of the following parts:

  1. a thumbnail sketch of each Law, a commentary for coaches about the implications and workings of the Law, and a FAQ connected with problems arising from the Law;
  2. a set of supplementary documents which amplify certain parts of the FAQ or deal with material ancillary to the Laws but not actually contained in them, or distributed throughout them;
  3. such other similar material as may be added from time to time by the authors.


This work is intended for the benefit of any of the following people:
  1. Novice coaches, who want and need to acquire a solid, basic understanding of the LOTG;
  2. Intermediate coaches who are familiar with the main provisions of the LOTG, but who may have many unresolved questions about significant details;
  3. Coaches who consider themselves more advanced and know the LOTG fairly well, for whom this FAQ may provide a stimulating review of points from a fresh, practical perspective;
  4. Anyone else -- parent, player, fan, administrator or official -- with an interest in soccer's Laws and a desire to find out more about how they work in practice.

Licensed referees who wander in may find this FAQ interesting and helpful for your own purposes, and you are more than welcome to stop in. Keep in mind, though, that this is written primarily as a practical field guide to the LOTG for coaches, and not as a referee certification review course. We don't promise that you'll find it told in here quite the way you learned it in referee school; instead, we've been watching y'all in the field and what you actually do, as much as what the letter of the LOTG says you should do, even while our descriptions of the rules remain faithful to the latter. So please don't write to us to say that your interpretation of Law such-and-such is different from anything found here -- we already know that referees interpret (and must interpret) the Laws in light of their own conception of the Spirit of the Game. That's why we added this disclaimer:

Disclaimer: the material contained in these pages is provided for the information of soccer (association football) coaches and other interested persons everywhere. Much of the information involves interpretation of the Laws of the Game, and there is no guarantee that the opinions given herein will invariably apply: one of the joys and frustrations of soccer is precisely that referees have a great deal of latitude in applying many of the provisions of the Laws.

Note on copyright: This work is a creation of the SOCCER-COACH-L LOTG collective, which is a pseudonym for a joint project among several individuals for explaining the laws of the game of soccer, for the benefit of all who love this wonderful game.

The copyright in this jointly created work is jointly held by the following individuals, who created and wrote this work:

© 1998 Jim Geissman, David Graham, Jim MacQueen, Connie Matthies, Jim Meinhold, Chris Mohr, Gary Rue, Ken Smith, Dave Teetz, Ron Tremper.

Note on reproduction: all copyrighted material contained in these pages (including the thumbnail sketches of the Laws, the commentaries on or discussions of the Laws, and the Questions and Answers) may be copied and distributed subject to the following restrictions:

  1. no fee of any kind may be charged for the material;
  2. all copied material must clearly identify its source and contain the statement on copyright shown above.

The FAQ is available for downloading in its entirety or as separate parts, for those who would like to have a printed version.

Links to FAQs on specific laws:

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | Glossary | Supplements

Other useful links

SOCCER-COACH-L page (the coaches' mailing list)
MWSRA Soccer Referee Related Links (everything for the referee)
The Laws of the Game (as revised 1997)
Questions and Answers on the Laws of the Game

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Updated 12 September 2001 by David Graham