Can you definitely pass the ball backwards at kick-off?

Football's new kick-off rule

Today I want to discuss football's Law 8, "The Start and Restart of Play". As many will know this is one of the rules that has been changed this year. The new text states:

"All players must be in their own half of the field of play"

and "the ball is in play when it is kicked and clearly moves".

The old kick-off rule

Previously this latter part read as follows: "the ball is in play when it is kicked and moves forward". That is, the rule has been changed to get rid of the requirement that the ball moves forward.

Players passing the ball back at kick-off

And so, game after game now, we see players taking a kick-off and passing the ball backwards to a team-mate, following, as they see it, the new rule.

The problem, as I see it, is that looking at the law as a whole, it clearly states that ALL the players have to be in their own half of the pitch when the kick off is taken.

And if you have to be in your own half of the pitch it's pretty difficult to kick the ball backwards into your own half.

Can you definitely pass the ball backwards at kick-off?

The ball is allowed to be kicked backwards at kick-off, BUT all players have to be in their own half, so this kick-off is illegal...

Frightening that people don't know the basic rules

I think one of the reasons football is the global game is because pretty much everybody more or less knows the rules, and they haven't changed much over the sport's history. But now the authorities have decided to start fiddling with basic concepts, call me conservative if you want, but it's frightening that people don't know the basics.


 

Iturralde González is a retired professional referee who whistled matches in LaLiga, Champions League, Europa League and international matches.