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Five bizarre football rules including why you can't score an own goal from a free-kick

Marcus Chan

| Last updated 

Five bizarre football rules including why you can't score an own goal from a free-kick

There are some bizarre football rules that you might not be familiar with.

Even if you live and breathe football as a fan, there will be some rules of the sport that may surprise you.

In this article, we have picked out five bizarre rules that most football fans have rarely come across.



An equal number of players during a penalty shootout

For a penalty shootout to take place, an equal number of players must be available from each team. If one team had a player sent off during normal time, the other team can only have 10 players for the shootout.

A prime example was during the 2006 World Cup, after Zinedine Zidane’s famous head-butt, France were reduced to 10 men.

For the penalty shootout, AC Milan legend Gennaro Gattuso was the one who sat out for Italy.


Only goalkeepers are allowed to wear tracksuit bottoms

Although it is very rarely seen, the laws of the game state that goalkeepers are allowed to wear tracksuit bottoms if they want.

Former Colombia goalkeeper Rene Higuita was famed for wearing tracksuit bottoms and his incredible scorpion kick save against England.

Image Credit: Getty
Image Credit: Getty

In a penalty, the kicker cannot touch the ball until it is touched by another player

When a penalty is awarded during normal time, the player taking the penalty cannot touch the ball to score a rebound if the original effort hits the post.

The ball must be touched by either the keeper, an opposition or a teammate before the taker can attempt to score the rebound.

A player can be sent off before the match kicks off


Whilst we have seen players getting sent off after the final whistle, the rules state that players can be red carded prior to the match.

As mentioned in section 3 of The FA Laws of the Game -

“If a player is sent-off before the team list has been submitted to the referee, he cannot be on the team in any capacity for that match. Though a replacement player can be brought in from the reserves if the team has any.

“If a player who has been named on the team list submitted to the referee is sent-off before the match he can be substituted by a player from the bench if he was in the playing 11 and the substituted player cannot be replaced. If the sent-off player is not in the playing eleven, then the team simply has to play the match with one less substitute on the bench. Though the number of substitutions the team can make remains the same.”


A direct freekick into a team’s own goal will not be considered a goal

If the freekick is kicked directly into a team’s own net, the opposition will not be awarded a goal.

Instead, a corner will be awarded to the opposite team.

However, if another player had touched the ball before it crossed the line then a goal will be given.

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Featured Image Credit: Getty

Topics: FA, FIFA, Football

Marcus Chan
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