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Law 08: The Start and Restart of Play

General rules for all restarts
  • All restarts (kick-offs, dropped balls, goal kicks, free kicks, corner kicks, and throw-ins) are indirect; i.e., a goal can not be scored until the ball has touched a player other than the person putting the ball into play.
  • The player putting the ball into play shall not touch the ball a second time until it has been touched or played by another player.  If the player does touch the ball, a free kick shall be awarded to the opposing team.
  • Unless otherwise specified, the ball is in play when it is kicked and moves.

At the beginning of the match, a coin is tossed and the team that wins the toss decides which goal it will attack in the first half of the match.  The other team takes the kick-off to start the match.  The team that won the coin toss takes the kick-off to start the second half of the match.  In the second half of the match, the teams change ends and attack the opposite goals.

A kick-off is a way of starting or restarting play at the start of each half of the match and after a goal has been scored.  The procedure is as follows.  All players are in their own half of the field.  The opponents of the team taking the kick-off must remain outside the center circle until the ball is in play.  The ball is stationary at the center of the field.  The Referee whistles to signal the kick-off.  The ball is in play when it is kicked and moves forward.

After a team scores a goal, the kick-off is taken by the other team.

Dropped ball
To restart the match after a temporary suspension of play for any reason for which no other specific restart is specified (e.g., if the Referee stops play for an injury), the Referee restarts play by dropping the ball at the place where it was when play was suspended. If the location of any dropped ball would be inside the goal area, the ball shall be dropped at the point on the goal area line nearest to the original location for the dropped ball. The ball is in play when it has touched the ground, before which no player shall play it, else the Referee shall drop the ball again. A goal cannot be scored directly from a dropped ball. If a dropped ball is kicked directly into the opponents' goal, a goal kick is awarded. If a dropped ball is kicked directly into the team's own goal, a corner kick is awarded to the opposing team.