Confusing football rules players don’t know exist

Football fans and players don’t always know the laws of the game. In fact, some of football’s rules can be confusing. Although the sport is less confusing than other sports such as rugby or American football, there are a few football rules that players may not know exist.

Goal kicks must leave the penalty area

Few players, coaches, and even pundits realise that goal kicks must leave the penalty area before another player can touch it. FIFA is actually considering amending this rule. If it is changed, defenders could move into the 18-yard box to receive a goal kick. The rule currently prevents goalkeepers from playing short goal kick passes when playing out from the back and encourages longer passes.

Teams can’t score own goals from free-kicks and throw-ins

This rule is quite simple, but surely there have been questions on youth pitches and during Sunday league games when this has happened. If an own goal is scored, the goal is chalked off and a corner kick is awarded.

Goalkeepers cannot handle a throw-in from a teammate

Goalkeepers are not allowed to pick up a throw-in from a teammate. The ball must be touched first by an opponent before the goalkeeper is able to handle the ball. Once again, this is a rule that many amateur and Sunday leagues may not be familiar with.

Kicking the ball out for injury

This is not actually a rule, but it is a gesture of sportsmanship. Games around the world seem to see this unofficial rule take place every week, and many players assume it is a real rule. While it isn’t official, this is a maddening part of the game that happens when players aren’t seriously injured. It often breaks up an attack and stops the momentum of a game.

Six-second rule

Once again, goalkeepers are prevented from doing something. The six-second rule means a goalkeeper has exactly six seconds to get rid of the ball after catching it. It is a rule rarely enforced at any level — especially the pro level — and is a maddening rule that should be changed or referees should be stricter on. Who came up with six seconds any?

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