Laws of the Game & FA Rules

Law 1: The Field of Play

IFAB Laws of the Game 2021-22

Law 1 The Field of Play

Field surface

The field of play must be a wholly natural or, if competition rules permit, a wholly artificial playing surface except where competition rules permit an integrated combination of artificial and natural materials (hybrid system).

The colour of artificial surfaces must be green.

Where artificial surfaces are used in competition matches between representative teams of national football associations affiliated to FIFA or international club competition matches, the surface must meet the requirements of the FIFA Quality Programme for Football Turf or the International Match Standard, unless special dispensation is given by The IFAB.

Field markings

The field of play must be rectangular and marked with continuous lines which must not be dangerous; artificial playing surface material may be used for the field markings on natural fields if it is not dangerous. These lines belong to the areas of which they are boundaries.

Only the lines indicated in Law 1 are to be marked on the field of play. Where artificial surfaces are used, other lines are permitted provided they are a different colour and clearly distinguishable from the football lines.

The two longer boundary lines are touchlines. The two shorter lines are goal lines.

The field of play is divided into two halves by a halfway line, which joins the midpoint of the two touchlines.

The centre mark is at the midpoint of the halfway line. A circle with a radius of 9.15m (10yds) is marked around it.

Marks may be made off the field of play 9.15m (10yds) from the corner arc at right angles to the goal lines and the touchlines.

All lines must be of the same width, which must not be more than 12cm (5ins). The goal lines must be of the same width as the goalposts and the crossbar.

A player who makes unauthorised marks on the field of play must be cautioned for unsporting behaviour. If the referee notices this being done during the match, the player is cautioned when the ball next goes out of play.

 
Field Dimensions

 

  • Measurements are from the outside of the lines as the lines are part of the area they enclose.
  • The penalty mark is measured from the centre of the mark to the back edge of the goal line.

Dimensions

The touchline must be longer than the goal-line.

  • Length (touchline):
    minimum 90m (100yds)
    maximum 120m (130yds)
  • Length (goal-line):
    minimum 45m (50yds)
    maximum 90m (100yds)

Competitions may determine the length of the goal-line and touchline within the above dimensions.

Dimensions for international matches

  • Length (touchline):
    minimum 100m (100yds)
    maximum 110m (120yds)
  • Length (goal-line):
    minimum 64m (70yds)
    maximum 75m (80yds)

Competitions may determine the length of the goal-line and touchline within the above dimensions.

The goal area
 
Two lines are drawn at right angles to the goal-line, 5.5m (6yds) from the inside of each goalpost. These lines extend into the field of play for 5.5m (6yds) and are joined by a line drawn parallel with the goal-line. The area bounded by these lines and the goal-line is the goal area.
  

The penalty area

Two lines are drawn at right angles to the goal-line, 16.5m (18yds) from the inside of each goalpost. These lines extend into the field of play for 16.5m (18yds) and are joined by a line drawn parallel with the goal-line. The area bounded by these lines and the goal-line is the penalty area.

Within each penalty area, a penalty mark is made 11m (12yds) from the midpoint between the goalposts.

An arc of a circle with a radius of 9.15m (10yds) from the centre of each penalty mark is drawn outside the penalty area.

The corner area

The corner area is defined by a quarter circle with a radius of 1m (1yd) from each corner flagpost drawn inside the field of play.

Corner Area

Flagposts
 
A flagpost, at least 1.5m (5ft) high, with a non-pointed top and a flag must be placed at each corner.

Flagposts may be placed at each end of the halfway line, at least 1m (1yd) outside the touchline.
  

The Technical Area

The technical area relates to matches played in stadiums with a designated seated area for team officials, substitutes and substituted players as outlined below:

 
  • the technical area should only extend 1m (1yd) on either side of the designated seated area and up to a distance of 1m (1yd) from the touchline
  • markings should be used to define the area
  • the number of persons permitted to occupy the technical area is defined by the competition rules
  • the occupants of the technical area:
    • are identified before the start of the match in accordance with the competition rules
    • must behave in a responsible manner
    • must remain within its confines except in special circumstances, e.g. a physiotherapist/doctor entering the field of play, with the referee’s permission, to assess an injured player
  • only one person at a time is authorised to convey tactical instructions from the technical area

Goals

A goal must be placed on the centre of each goal line.

A goal consists of two vertical posts equidistant from the corner flagposts and joined at the top by a horizontal crossbar. The goalposts and crossbar must be made of approved material and must not be dangerous. The goalposts and crossbar of both goals must be the same shape, which must be square, rectangular, round, elliptical or a hybrid of these options.

It is recommended that all goals used in an official competition organised under the auspices of FIFA or confederations meet the requirements of the FIFA Quality Programme for Football Goals.

The distance between the inside of the posts is 7.32m (8yds) and the distance from the lower edge of the crossbar to the ground is 2.44m (8ft).

The position of the goalposts in relation to the goal line must be in accordance with the graphics.

The goalposts and the crossbar must be white and have the same width and depth, which must not exceed 12cm (5ins).

If the crossbar becomes displaced or broken, play is stopped until it has been repaired or replaced in position. Play is restarted with a dropped ball. If it can not be repaired the match must be abandoned. A rope or any flexible or dangerous material may not replace the crossbar.

Nets may be attached to the goals and the ground behind the goal; they must be properly supported and must not interfere with the goalkeeper.

SAFETY

Goals (including portable goals) must be firmly secured to the ground.

Position of the goalposts

Goal-line Technology (GLT)

GLT systems may be used to verify whether a goal has been scored to support the referee’s decision.

The use of GLT must be stipulated in the competition rules.

PRINCIPLES OF GLT

GLT applies solely to the goal line and is only used to determine whether a goal has been scored.

The indication of whether a goal has been scored must be immediate, and automatically confirmed within one second by the GLT system only to the match officials (via the referee’s watch, by vibration and visual signal); it may also be sent to the video operation room (VOR).

REQUIREMENTS AND SPECIFICATIONS OF GLT

If GLT is used in competition matches, the competition organisers must ensure that the system (including any potentially permitted modifications to the goal frame or technology in the ball) meets the requirements of the FIFA Quality Programme for GLT.

Where GLT is used, the referee must test the technology’s functionality before the match as set out in the Testing Manual. If the technology does not function in accordance with the Testing Manual, the referee must not use the GLT system and must report this to the appropriate authorities.

Commercial Advertising

No form of commercial advertising, whether real or virtual, is permitted on the field of play, on the ground within the area enclosed by the goal nets, the technical area or the referee review area (RRA), or on the ground within 1m (1yd) of the boundary lines from the time the teams enter the field of play until they have left it at half-time and from the time the teams re-enter the field of play until the end of the match. Advertising is not permitted on the goals, nets, flagposts or their flags and no extraneous equipment (cameras, microphones, etc.) may be attached to these items.

In addition, upright advertising must be at least:
  • 1 m (1 yd) from the touchlines
  • the same distance from the goal line as the depth of the goal net
  • 1m (1yd) from the goal net

Logos and Emblems

The reproduction, whether real or virtual, of representative logos or emblems of FIFA, confederations, national football associations, competitions, clubs or other bodies is forbidden on the field of play, the goal nets and the areas they enclose, the goals, and the flagposts during playing time. They are permitted on the flags on the flagposts.

Video Assistant Referees (VARs)

In matches using VARs there must be a video operation room (VOR) and at least one referee review area (RRA).

VIDEO OPERATION ROOM (VOR)

The VOR is where the video assistant referee (VAR), assistant VAR (AVAR) and replay operator (RO) work; it may be in/close to the stadium or at a more distant location. Only authorised persons are permitted to enter the VOR or communicate with VAR, AVAR and RO during the match.

A player, substitute, substituted player or team official who enters the VOR will be sent off.

REFEREE REVIEW AREA

In matches using VARs there must be at least one RRA where the referee undertakes an 'on-field' review (OFR). The RRA must be:

  • in a visible location outside the field of play
  • clearly marked

A player, substitute, substituted player or team official who enters the RRA will be cautioned.