In the game of soccer, there are a number of player infractions that will result in the referee halting game play, and possibly even implementing disciplinary measures according to regulations set by FIFA, which is the primary governing of the sport all over the world. Here, we take a look at the different soccer penalties and the infractions that may bring them about.
Direct free kicks
With the occurrence of certain fouls, referees may award a direct free kick to the disadvantaged team. In the event of such penalties, the free kick is taken from the spot where the infraction occurred, with the team making the kick essentially having a free shot at the opponent’s goal, guarded only by the goalkeeper and a wall formed by the defending team.
Direct free kicks are awarded to the opposing team in the event of any one of the following infractions committed by a player:
- Kicking or attempting to kick another player
- Tripping or attempting to trip another player
- Jumping at an opponent
- Charging an opponent
- Striking or attempting to strike an opponent
- Pushing an opponent
- Tackling an opponent before making contact with the ball
- Holding an opponent
- Spitting at an opponent
- Handling the ball with the hands
When any of the above offences are committed by a player within his team’s penalty area, the opposing team will be awarded a penalty kick which is taken from twelve yards away from the defending team’s goal. Unlike the direct free kick in which players of the defending team may form a wall comprised of two or more players, the penalty kick is guarded only by the goalkeeper of the defending team.
Indirect free kicks
An indirect free kick may be awarded to the opposing team if the goalie commits any one of the following infractions:
- Taking four steps or more with the ball in his hands
- Touching the ball after releasing it without it having been touched by another player
- Touching the ball with the hands after it has passed by a teammate
- Touching the with his hands after a throw-in
Indirect free kicks are also awarded to the opposing team if a player commits any one of the following infractions:
- Playing in a manner that can endanger other players
- Preventing an opponent from moving
- Preventing the goalkeeper from releasing the ball
- Committing an infraction that results in the player being warned or taken out of the game
Yellow and red cards
In addition to the above penalties, referees may also opt to impose disciplinary actions signified by yellow or red cards. Yellow cards are given to a player for offenses ranging from poor sportsmanship to delays in restarting game play. Red cards are given in the event of more serious infractions, including violent acts, spitting at any player or the referee, or preventing a player from the opposing team from scoring a goal by deliberately touching the ball with the hands. Red cards may also be given to any player that has received two or more cautions in the same game.