Rules of soccer - The Number of Players

A match is played by two teams, each consisting of not more than eleven players, one of whom is the goalkeeper. A match may not start if either team consists of fewer than seven players.

Rules of soccer / Rules of football - Substitution procedure

To replace a player with a substitute, the following conditions must be observed:

  • the referee must be informed before any proposed substitution is made
  • the substitute only enters the field of play after the player being replaced has left and after receiving a signal from the referee
  • the substitute only enters the field of play at the halfway line and during a stoppage in the match
  • the substitution is completed when a substitute enters the field of play
  • from that moment, the substitute becomes a player and the player he has replaced becomes a substituted player
  • the substituted player takes no further part in the match
  • all substitutes are subject to the authority and jurisdiction of the referee, whether called upon to play or not

Rules of soccer / Rules of football - Changing the goalkeeper

Any of the other players may change places with the goalkeeper, provided that:

  • the referee is informed before the change is made
  • the change is made during a stoppage in the match

Rules of soccer / Rules of football - Infringements and sanctions

If a substitute or substituted player enters the field of play without the referee's permission:

  • the referee stops play (although not immediately if the substitute or substituted player does not interfere with play)
  • the referee cautions him for unsporting behaviour and orders him to leave the field of play
  • if the referee has stopped play, it is restarted with an indirect free kick for the opposing team from the position of the ball at the time of the stoppage (see Law 13 - Position of free kick)

If a player changes places with the goalkeeper without the referee's permission before the change is made:

  • the referee allows play to continue
  • the referee cautions the players concerned when the ball is next out of play In the event of any other infringements of this Law:
  • the players concerned are cautioned
  • the match is restarted with an indirect free kick, to be taken by a player of the opposing team from the position of the ball at the time of the stoppage (see Law 13 - Position of free kick)

Rules of soccer / Rules of football - Players and substitutes sent off

A player who has been sent off before the kick-off may be replaced only by one of the named substitutes.

A named substitute who has been sent off, either before the kick-off or after play has started, may not be replaced.

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