A game is no game without rules, and football is no exception. There, however, exists a rare set of rules in the footballing world which very few fans know about.
1. No goal if ball goes flat on way to net
This is a very unlikely scenario, although it is not impossible to witness it.
Fifa rules dictate that for a goal to count, the ball must be fully pumped, or, in other words, should be in excellent condition.
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There has actually been footage of a goal scored with a damaged ball in the Champions League but the goal stood as the referee did not have a clear sight of the tattered football.
2. You still get carded for illegal celebration even if goal is disallowed
Over time, we have witnessed players’ emotions get the better of them after they have scored a crucial goal and this usually results in an illegal celebration such as taking off one’s shirt or jumping into the crowd.
Since the emergence of VAR, there is usually a pretty good chance of a goal being chopped off and if this happens, one still remains booked because the impact is the same as if the goal is awarded.
3. You can receive a red card before the match starts
Known to very few, players can be sent for an early shower even before the game begins for breaching the rules.
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More often, this can be as a result of misconduct prior to the game as was the case with Patrice Evra, who was sent off before a game in 2017 for kicking at a fan in anger.
4. Penalty takers in a shootout should be equal for both teams
This sounds pretty obvious, but consider a situation where one team finishes extra time with only nine players and the scores are still tied.
In such a case, the other team will have to agree to cut off two of its players so the penalty shootout can balance out in the event all players need to have a go from the penalty spot.
5. No own-goals from throw-ins and freekicks
This one is quite popular and some staunch fans know that even if one throws the ball into his own net from a throw-in, the goal will simply not count. The same applies with freekicks where if a kicktaker gets the ball into his own net, a corner will be given to opposition instead.
6. A match is eligible to start with a minimum of seven players
If a team is short of players, they are technically still eligible to start the match if their matchday squad contains at least seven players including the goalkeeper.
The same case applies in the case of a redcard where a team can be given a maximum of four red cards in a match. A fifth red card would mean the match would have to be stopped.
7. The 1 metre rule in freekicks
This rule was made official in June 2019 and states that the attackers are not allowed within one metre from the wall when the freekick is taken.
Officials decided on this rule because attackers had a tendency to waste time before a freekick is taken in different forms.
The team found to impede this rule will be penalised with an indirect freekick.
8. The 6-second rule
Known to very few, goalkeepers are only allowed to hold the ball for six seconds after a catch. Any more than that is considered time-wasting and the keeper stands a good chance of being booked by the referee.
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9. Goalkeepers are not allowed to shake the posts in penalty situations.
This is pretty straight forward, yet still uncommon as it is illegal for the keeper to kick at, or swing at the goalposts in a penalty situation.
Why? Because the rulebooks state that before a penalty is taken, the goalpost should be perfectly still.
In other words, the referee should not wave a penalty to be taken if the keeper is seen smacking the post to try to intimidate the penalty taker.
10. Team which wins the coin toss can choose which side to attack first
The pre-match coin toss usually looks like formality but in the past, captains who won the coin toss only had the liberty to choose which side to attack.
These days, however, they can also decide which teams start the match after winning the toss.
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