Laws of the Game & FA Rules

Law 9: The Ball In and Out of Play

IFAB Laws of the Game 2024-25

Law 9 The Ball In and Out of Play

1. Ball out of play

The ball is out of play when:
  • it has wholly passed over the goal line or touchline on the ground or in the air
  • play has been stopped by the referee
  • it touches a match official, remains on the field of play and:
    • a team starts a promising attack or
    • the ball goes directly into the goal or
    • the team in possession of the ball changes

In all these cases, play is restarted with a dropped ball.

2. Ball in play

The ball is in play at all other times when it touches a match official and when it rebounds off a goalpost, crossbar or corner flagpost and remains on the field of play.