Let's say that the striker is closing in to the goal post on the right side. As a defender, I am running towards the middle of the right post and the striker. I perform a slide tackle towards the line in anticipation of a shot from the striker.

3 possible scenarios could happen with the slide tackle:

  1. The striker hits the ball and I might take it out of play with my slide tackle
  2. The striker side steps me and continues to the goal
  3. The slide tackle in front of the striker caught him by surprise and he crashes into me with the ball.

Is the above move legitimate in football? What happens if situation 3 happens, is it a foul? Is it risky for the striker to get injured?

I'm playing recreational football, so I'm not sure if I should be doing any slide tackle at all even if the striker is far from me.

  • 1
    If you have to do a slide tackle it means you've messed up somehow (or maybe a teammate has and you're trying to cover).
    – ChrisH
    Jul 25, 2012 at 16:55

2 Answers 2


Firstly, it would be rare for such a tackle to be performed; it's bad for a defender to commit themselves like that. Especially at a higher level, oppenents will be able to read your actions and trivially side-step your tackle; they're then through on goal, and you won't be able to support your defence in time.

Providing I'm reading your scenario right, then it shouldn't be judged as a foul. You'll get the ball first, it isn't a tackle from behind; so, providing it was otherwise a legitimate slide (feet weren't high, studs weren't showing, it wasn't a lunge, you don't go through the player), I can't see the referee giving a foul for it.

As for the striker getting injured; I doubt it. It won't catch the striker by suprise per-sec, but just late enough so they can't navigate themselves out of the situation with the ball. They'll still see the tackle arriving, and will be able to catch themselves with their arms, roll off the tackle, or even step/ jump over you.

  • "it isn't a tackle from behind" - it doesn't matter which direction the player comes from in determining whether it's a foul. "You'll get the ball first" - this doesn't prevent it from being a foul. If you get the ball then clean up the player, in all likelihood, it's still a foul. Apr 10, 2014 at 0:44
  • But as far as I understand it, it is indeed considered more reckless when blindsiding a player. And it's not expressly a foul when one gets the ball and the player gets upended subsequently. So long as it isn't vicious (the reasons Matt gave). Getting the ball first doesn't prevent it being a foul, but Matt never said it did. But inversely, getting the ball then player is not a set foul either. It's about recklessness. Nov 6, 2016 at 21:40
  • Yes, the striker might indeed actually be surprised (he may be planning a different move, distracted elsewhere, etc). He may even get injured. But that doesn't make it a foul. You can go ball-player if needed and done properly. I have done some officiating training (college intramurals), but certainly someone may be more expertised and overturn me. But from my training and experiences at least, that's how I know it. Nov 6, 2016 at 21:45
  • I'd say you actually do often see defenders throwing themselves, in the path at least, to slow an attacker and possibly block near the box. But as a Bournemouth fan (whose teams seems to do it a lot) it can definitely be taken apart by a controlled striker as Matt suggests! Nov 6, 2016 at 21:46

I presume you mean that you are sliding in and taking the ball from him cleanly, and then the player falls over you? If so, then this is not a foul.

Should you make contact with the player though, either before getting the ball, or in a manner that the referee deems to be careless or reckless, he would award a penalty to the attacking team.

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