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Kick-off (association football)

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Title: Kick-off (association football)  
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Language: English
Subject: The Start and Restart of Play (association football), Association football, 1930 FIFA World Cup, Ball in and out of play, Comparison of association football and rugby union
Collection: Laws of Association Football
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Kick-off (association football)

Kick-off at the final of the 2005 Confederations Cup

A kick-off is the method of starting and, in some cases, restarting play in a game of association football. The rules concerning the kick-off are part of Law 8 of the Laws of the Game.[1]


  • Award 1
  • Procedure 2
  • Infringements 3
  • References 4


A kick-off is used to start each half of play, and each period of extra time where applicable. The kick-off to start a game is awarded to the team that lost the pre-game coin toss (the team that won the coin-toss chooses which direction they wish to play). The kick-off begins when the referee blows the whistle. The kick-off to start the second half is taken by the other team. If extra time is played another coin-toss is used at the beginning of this period.

A kick-off is also used to restart play after a goal is scored, and is taken by the team that conceded the goal.


The kick-off is taken from the center spot. All players must be in their own half of the field of play, and all opposing players must remain at least 10 yards (9.16m) from the ball (a distance marked on the pitch by the centre circle), until the ball is in play.

The ball is initially stationary until it is put into play. The ball is in play when it is kicked and moves forward. The player who has first kicked the ball may not touch it again until it has been touched by another player. Because of this, play is almost always started with two players at the center spot - one to kick the ball forward a few inches, and the second to pass the ball backwards to the rest of the team.

A goal may be scored directly from a kick-off.


If a player moves from their required position as detailed above, or if the ball is not kicked forward, the kick is retaken. Failure to maintain position may constitute misconduct and be punished by a caution (yellow card).

It is an offence for the kicker to touch the ball a second time until it has been touched by another player; this is punishable by an indirect free kick to the defending team from where the offence occurred, unless the second touch was also a more serious handling offence, in which case it is punishable by a direct free kick.


  1. ^ "LAW 8 - THE START AND RESTART OF PLAY -". Retrieved 2014-02-04. 
  • FIFA Laws of the Game (PDF)
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