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Law 12: Fouls and Misconduct

A player who commits any of the following seven offences in a manner considered by the Referee to be careless, reckless, or involving disproportionate force
  1. kicks or attempts to kick an opponent
  2. trips or attempts to trip an opponent
  3. jumps at an opponent
  4. charges an opponent
  5. strikes or attempts to strike an opponent
  6. pushes an opponent
  7. tackles an opponent

or who commits any of the following three offences:

  1. holds an opponent
  2. spits at an opponent
  3. handles the ball deliberately; i.e., carries, strikes or propels the ball with his/her hand or arm (except for the goalkeeper within his/her own goal area)
or who commits any of the following three offences:
  1. plays in a manner considered by the Referee to be dangerous (this includes all attempts to slide-tackle or heading of the ball)
  2. charges an opponent when the ball is not within playing distance of the players concerned and is definitely not trying to play the ball
  3. when not within playing distance of the ball, impedes the progress of an opponent by
    • running between the opponent and the ball, interposing the body so as to form an obstacle to an opponent
    • stopping the goalkeeper from releasing the ball
    • stretching the arms or moving from side to side to delay an opponent, forcing the opponent to change course, even without making any "bodily contact"

or who, when playing as a goalkeeper within his/her own goal area, commits any of the following three offences:

  1. controls the ball with his/her hands for more than 6 seconds before releasing it, after being encouraged by the Referee to put the ball back into play
  2. touches the ball again with hands after it has been released from possession and has not touched any other player
  3. wastes time
may be penalized by the award of a free kick to the opposing team at the place where the infringement occurred. Once a goalkeeper acquires possession of the ball, the goalkeeper may not punt or drop-kick the ball, but may only throw, roll, or kick the ball on the ground to a teammate.  A violation of this provision is not penalized but play shall be stopped and the ball shall be put into play with a goal kick by the offending team.   A player may be cautioned (i.e., formally, severely warned by the Referee) if the player
  1. is guilty of unsporting behavior
  2. shows dissent by word or action
  3. persistently infringes the Laws of the Game
  4. delays the restart of play
  5. fails to respect the required distance when play is restarted with a corner kick or free kick
  6. is guilty of serious foul play
  7. is guilty of violent conduct
  8. spits at any person
  9. uses offensive, insulting or abusive language.
If the Referee chooses to stop play to issue a caution, play shall resume with a free kick taken by the non-offending team at the place where play was when it was stopped. 

Under very unusual circumstances, a player may be sent from the field of play by the Referee for extreme violations of any of the above.  In this case, the dismissed player may not be replaced; i.e., the team will play short for the rest of the match.