THE LAWS EXPLAINED

Before ADG starts

Law 1Unless there are other considerations (e.g. ground conditions, safety etc.), the referee tosses a coin to decide the half of the field where ADG will take place, which may only be changed for safety reasons or if the goal or playing surface becomes unusable. is self-explanatory and is similar to the lawUnless there are other considerations (e.g. ground conditions, safety etc.), the referee tosses a coin to decide the goal at which the kicks will be taken which may only be changed for safety reasons or if the goal or playing surface becomes unusable from Kicks from the Penalty Mark, which requires the referee to toss a coin to decide the goal where the kicks take place.

Law 2The referee tosses a coin again and the captain of the team who wins the toss, decides whether to attack or defend in the first contest. is self-explanatory and is similar to the lawThe referee tosses a coin again and the team that wins the toss decides whether to take the first or second kick from Kicks from the Penalty Mark, where the team winning the toss has the choice of kicking first or second.

Law 3If at the beginning of ADG one team has more players on the field than the other, they maintain that advantage. is designed to encourage fair play. Teams that received red cards during the match will be at a disadvantage during ADG. See example.

Law 4The referee meets separately with each team and records their five attackers and the order in which they will compete. requires each team to designate their five attackers with the referee prior to the start of ADG. If a team has had a player or players sent off during the match, the law ensures the team still fields an attacker for five contests.

Law 5A goalkeeper is ineligible as an attacker. is self-explanatory.

During ADG

Law 6Only the eligible players and match officials are permitted to remain on the field of play. is identical to the lawOnly eligible players and match officials are permitted to remain on the field of play from Kicks from the Penalty Mark, which allows only the eligible players and match officials to remain on the field of play.

Law 7With the exception of the attacker, defender and goalkeepers, all players must remain inside the penalty area that is out of play and will be supervised by an assistant referee or an additional assistant referee. is similar to the lawAll eligible players, except the player taking the kick and the two goalkeepers, must remain within the centre circle from Kicks from the Penalty Mark, which requires the players who are currently not competing to remain within the centre circle. An assistant referee or an additional assistant referee will be responsible for supervising these players.

Law 8The goalkeeper of the attacking team must remain a safe distance behind the assistant referee or the additional assistant referee who is positioned behind the goal line. is similar to the lawThe goalkeeper of the kicker must remain on the field of play, outside the penalty area, on the goal line where it meets the penalty area boundary line from Kicks from the Penalty Mark, which designates the positioning of the goalkeeper who is the team-mate of the current kicker.

Law 9If a team is unable to field their designated attacker or an eligible substitute, the team will forfeit that contest. describes how a team will forfeit a contest if they are unable to field an attacker. This would occur if the player was sent off. Another example would be an attacker who was injured and his team having already used all their substitutions.

Law 10After seeing the attacker, the opposing team fields their defender. describes how the decision to field a specific defender is made only after seeing the opposition's attacker.

Law 11Players designated as attackers are ineligible as a defender. is self-explanatory.

Law 12If a team is unable to field a defender or an eligible substitute, the attacker will compete one-on-one against the goalkeeper. describes how an attacker is allowed to compete one-on-one against the goalkeeper. This may arise if a team begins ADG with fewer players than their opposition. Another example would be if a defender was injured and forced from the field with his team having already used all their substitutions. The third example would be if a defender was sent off during a contest.

Law 13Half of the field is in play. is self-explanatory.

Law 14The attacker kicks off and is allowed thirty seconds to try and score a goal. designates thirty seconds for a contest. The law mitigates against a standoff between the attacker and the defender. Thirty seconds ensures a sense of urgency, but also provides ample time for unpredictable and exhilarating contests to play out.

Law 15The attacker may touch the ball an unlimited number of times. is included to circumvent The Start and Restart of Play law that states, "If the player taking the kick-off touches the ball again before it has touched another player an indirect free kick, or for deliberate handball a direct free kick, is awarded."

Law 16If a goal is scored, the contest is over. is self-explanatory.

Law 17If the ball goes out of play, the contest is over. designates that a contest will end if the ball goes out of play. If the competition is using additional assistant referees, the assistant referees will track with the play along the touchlines. This will help when adjudicating on whether a ball is in or out of play.

Law 18If the goalkeeper controls the ball with their hands, the contest is over. and Law 19If thirty seconds elapse, the contest is over. are self-explanatory.

Law 20If the attacker commits a foul, the contest is over. is self-explanatory and an example is an attacker who loses possession of the ball and fouls the defender while trying to regain it.

Law 21If the defending team commits a foul, the attacker is awarded a penalty kick and the thirty second time period is disregarded for the remainder of the contest. designates a penalty kick when the defending team commits a foul. As the thirty second time period is disregarded, the contest will conclude when one of the following occurs: (a) a goal is scored, (b) the goalkeeper controls the ball with their hands, (c) the ball goes out of play, or (d) the attacker commits a foul or an offence as described in Law 25 or Law 26.

Law 22If before the penalty kick has been taken, the attacker commits an offence, the referee allows the kick to be taken and if the ball does not enter the goal, the contest is over. is similar to the lawOnce the referee has signalled for a penalty kick to be taken, the kick must be taken. If, before the ball is in play, one of the following occurs:

the player taking the penalty kick or a team-mate offends:

if the ball does not enter the goal, the referee stops play and restarts with an indirect free kick
from The Penalty Kick, which designates an indirect free kick for the defending team if an offence is committed by the player taking the penalty kick and the ball has not entered the goal.

Law 23If after the penalty kick has been taken, the attacker touches the ball again (with any part of the body) before it has touched another player, the contest is over. is similar to the lawIf, after the penalty kick has been taken:

the kicker touches the ball again before it has touched another player:

an indirect free kick (or direct free kick for deliberate hand ball) is awarded
from The Penalty Kick, which designates a free kick if the kicker touches the ball again before it has touched another player.

Law 24If an incident occurs that would normally require play to be restarted by a dropped ball, the contest must be restarted. is self-explanatory.

Law 25The referee keeps a record of the contests. requires the referee to keep a record of the contests. While he has already recorded the attacking players, as each contest unfolds, he also records: the defenders and goalkeepers, if a goal is scored, and the score. Download referee's scorecard.

Law 26An eligible player may change places with the goalkeeper. is identical to the lawAn eligible player may change places with the goalkeeper from Kicks from the Penalty Mark, which allows an outfield player to become the goalkeeper. This situation may arise if a goalkeeper is sent off or injured and the team has already used all of their substitutions. Any on-field attacker or defender can become the goalkeeper, and this is regardless of whether the player has already competed in a contest.

Law 27With the exception of the condition explained above, players may not change places. is self-explanatory and an example would be a team with an injured defender. A defender who is already on the field of play may not change places with the injured player. Of course, if the team has substitutions available, they can simply replace the injured player with a substitute.

Subject to the conditions explained below the teams play a total of ten contests

Law 28Teams take turns attacking and defending. is similar to the lawThe kicks are taken alternately by the teams from Kicks from the Penalty Mark, which requires five kicks to be taken alternately. The teams take turns at being the attacking and defending team.

Law 29With the exception of each team's goalkeeper, a player is not allowed to compete in a second contest until all eligible players on both teams have competed in a contest. is self-explanatory and is similar to the lawEach kick is taken by a different player and all eligible players must take a kick before any player can take a second kick from Kicks from the Penalty Mark, where each kick is taken by a different player and all players must take a kick before any player can take a second kick.

Law 30If before the completion of the ten contests, one team has scored more goals than the other could score, even if the contests were to be completed, no more contests will occur. is self-explanatory and is similar to the lawIf, before both teams have taken five kicks, one has scored more goals than the other could score, even if it were to complete its five kicks, no more kicks are taken from Kicks from the Penalty Mark, where if one team has an unassailable lead, the match is over.

Law 31If at the completion of the ten contests, the scores are level, then the contests continue with the same order of players, until one team has scored one more goal than the other from the same number of contests. is similar to the lawIf, after both teams have taken five kicks, the scores are level kicks continue until one team has scored a goal more than the other from the same number of kicks from Kicks from the Penalty Mark, which describes the sudden death procedure that occurs if scores are still level after the ten kicks. The players from the first contest will now compete in the first sudden death contest.

Substitutions, cautions and send offs during ADG

Law 32Teams receive two additional substitutions and any unused substitutions can also be used. allows each team two additional substitutions and any substitutions that weren’t used during the match are carried into ADG. For example, if a team used only one substitution prior to the start of ADG, they will have a total of four substitutions available. Read more about substitutions in the Q&A.

Law 33A player who commits an offence which denies an obvious goal-scoring opportunity to an attacker, is not cautioned or sent off unless:

• The offence is holding, pulling or pushing, or there is no attempt to play the ball, in which case the player is cautioned.

• The offending player deliberately handles the ball (except a goalkeeper within their penalty area), in which case the player is sent off.

• The offence is one which is always punishable by a yellow or red card. (e.g. reckless or excessive force challenge)
addresses offences that deny an obvious goal-scoring opportunity (DOGSO) to an attacker. With the attacker competing against just a defender and a goalkeeper, goal-scoring opportunities will be a normal occurrence. So, to avoid an excessive number of sanctions, the punishments cannot be as severe as during normal play. Moreover, as a foul on the attacker always results in a penalty kick (a very good opportunity to score), the goal-scoring opportunity lost by the offence is always restored. Therefore, regardless of whether the offence occurs inside or outside the penalty area, the player is not cautioned or sent off. However, to discourage unfair play and analogous to The Laws of the GameWhere a player commits an offence against an opponent within their own penalty area which denies an opponent an obvious goal-scoring opportunity and the referee awards a penalty kick, the offender is cautioned if the offence was an attempt to play the ball; in all other circumstances (e.g. holding, pulling, pushing, no possibility to play the ball etc.) the offending player must be sent off., holding, pulling or pushing, or any offence which is not an attempt to play the ball, receives a yellow card. And a deliberate handball that denies an obvious goal-scoring opportunity remains a red card offence. See the DOGSO sanctions table.

Law 34The referee must not abandon ADG if a team is reduced to fewer than seven players. is identical to the lawThe referee must not abandon the match if a team is reduced to fewer than seven players from Kicks from the Penalty Mark, and requires the referee to continue with ADG even in the event of a team having less than seven players on the field.

Messi misses his penalty kick at the 2016 Copa America.

"One does not remember the winners.
One remains haunted by the losers."

A.S. Byatt
Writing in The Observer