Football is a game that requires a lot of intelligence, skill and physical fitness. A lot of brain power is required to cover the whole stadium and outplay a worthy opponent. But even with so much tactical play and details, the game works around some really weird rules.
At the top and in most official leagues, players usually are aware of these rules but fans and supporters don’t usually know them entirely.
In this blog, we are covering 11 such weird football rules that many football fans are not aware of:
1. The offside rule
For new football fans, offside rule is very confusing.
A player is offside if they are closer to the opponent’s goal than both the ball and the second-to-last defender when the ball is passed to them.
However, there are exceptions to this rule, such as when the player receiving the ball is in their own half of the field or when they receive the ball directly from a throw-in.
It’s also important to note that if the goalkeeper is out of their goal area, the attacking team must stay behind two opposing defenders in their passing to avoid falling into an offside trap.
2. The extra substitute for head injury/concussion
It’s weird but also necessary! In past there were no such rules in football…
As per the new rule, in any competition, when a player suffers from a concussion, the team is allowed to introduce an additional substitute who does not count towards the five substitutions each team can make.
This additional substitute for concussion cases has been implemented to prioritize player safety during matches.
If a player sustains a head injury or a concussion during a game, they may need to be immediately replaced to avoid further harm.
Before this rule was introduced, teams were only allowed to make five substitutions during a game.
However, in recognition of the seriousness of concussion cases, teams are now permitted to use an additional substitute for such instances.
And it’s not limited to only football. Other sports like Cricket implemented this rule way before especially after the death of Aussie cricketer Philip Hughes:
3. Penalty kick details
The penalty kick is a thrilling moment in a football match. Everyone knows the basic rules like:
- The ball must be stationary when the kick is taken.
- The kicker must not touch the ball again until another player has touched it or the ball has touched the crossbar.
- The penalty taker is not allowed to pause their run towards taking the penalty. If a goal is scored in this manner, it will be disallowed, and the kicker will receive a yellow card.
- The penalty taker can choose to pass the ball instead of kicking it at the goal.
They are all well known and not weird rules except one which is that:
If a player accidentally double touches the ball when taking a penalty, that goal will result into a foul, it will be disallowed and the penalty taker will receive a yellow card. And on top of it it’s a wasted penalty there won’t be a retake given.
Isn’t it harsh?
Mitrovic took one such penalty last season. Check it out in a short video below:
Furthermore, the goalkeeper must remain on their goal line at least with one foot until the ball is kicked, and they cannot move forward until the ball has been struck.
Check out some of the disallowed penalty goals in the video below:
4. The throw in
The throw in is a way of restarting play after the ball goes out of bounds.
To perform a throw in:
- The player must have both feet on the ground.
- Use two hands to throw the ball over their head.
- The ball must enter the field of play from behind the touchline.
That rule #2 and 3 are fine but #1 sounds a bit harsh and awkward.
There are also other throw in rules like the thrower can’t touch the ball again before another player does, or the opposing team will be awarded the throw in. But that’s fine and makes a lot of sense.
5. Goal can be scored directly from a corner but not from a throw in
It’s the dumbest rule in soccer! You can score a goal directly from a corner kick, but you can’t do the same with a throw in.
The reason given for this rule is that it keeps things fair for both defending and attacking sides, and throw ins are more about restarting the game than to attack the opposition, which is totally ridiculous.
If it was a way to restart the game then why opposition attacks a throw in?
Scoring straight from a throw in is not an unfair advantage. In fact it’s harder to throw the ball from side lines with your hands into the goal than to score one directly from the corner with your foot.
6. Yellow card on taking shirt off
This rule doesn’t make any sense, especially after reasons like it causing violence and being unsportsmanlike.
If you ask any random person, they won’t be able to think of any valid reasons for giving a yellow card for removing a shirt.
As per the Laws of the Game, a player who removes their shirt during a game is committing an act of unsporting behavior.
The yellow card for this act is intended to discourage excessive celebrations and maintain the decorum of the game.
This includes both completely taking off the shirt or pulling it over the head.
They say excessive celebration and unsportsmanlike behavior can cause tension between players and fans, and even provoke violence in extreme cases.
What’s even more awkward is that the referee can choose not to give a yellow card for such an act.
If a player removes their shirt for medical reasons, such as to receive treatment for an injury, the referee may choose not to show a yellow card.
Similarly, if a player removes their shirt for a cause, the referee is allowed to let it go.
For instance, in the video below, Mohammed Kudus was not given a yellow card because he took off his shirt in support of another player, Christian Atsu, who died in an earthquake in Turkey.
When a player comes into contact with the ball using their hand or arm, it is typically classified as a handball.
However, there are certain conditions in which this regulation may not apply and they are lesser known to many football fans.
For instance, if the ball strikes a player’s hand or arm when it is in contact with their own body, it will not be considered a handball because it accidentally stuck the arm or hand.
Similarly, if the player is in a natural position and the ball hits their hand or arm, it will not be regarded as a handball as long as it doesn’t create a big advantage to the handballer’s team.
8. No game if there are no corner flags
This one is super lesser known and weird.
Corner flags are a significant and practical aspect of many outdoor sports, particularly football (soccer).
They serve multiple purposes during a game and if not available there can’t be an official game.
Corner flags in football serve the following purposes:
- Boundary Markers: Corner flags are placed at the corners of the field to mark the precise boundaries. They help players and officials determine whether the ball has fully crossed the touchline, resulting in a throw-in, or if it has crossed the goal line, leading to various outcomes like a goal kick or a corner kick.
- Corner Kicks: As the name suggests, corner flags are directly involved in the corner kick procedure. When the defending team last touches the ball before it goes out of bounds over their own goal line, the attacking team is awarded a corner kick. This means that the attacking team gets to place the ball within a designated area near the corner flag and attempt to score directly from that position.
- Aesthetics and Tradition: Corner flags also add to the visual appeal of the game. They are often adorned with the colors and logos of the teams or the tournament, enhancing the overall atmosphere and providing a sense of tradition.
9. Opposition can start play if the entire team goes out in celebrating a goal
That’s an awkward rule, but it is adopted in all major leagues and FIFA officiated games.
There are several reasons for this rule:
- It keeps the celebrations in check.
- Football is a fast-paced game, so rules like these are beneficial for preventing disruptions during a match.
- Footballers sometimes jump into the crowd to celebrate with supporters. From a security perspective, it is easier to manage a few players, but if everyone jumped into the crowd, it could become a security concern.