Imagine, the defending team kicks the ball outside exactly above the middle of their own goal. How is decided on which side the corner will be executed?

Is this a spontaneous decision of the referee?
Or maybe the attacking team can choose the side?

What is the rule in this case?

  • If the ball passes over the top of the goal even slightly off centre and ends up on the other side, while not technically correct, a lot of referees will end up pointing to the corner that the ball ends up closest to for everyone's convenience. Commented Jun 16, 2016 at 1:00

2 Answers 2


This isn't covered in the Laws of the Game. Law 17 - The Corner Kick says

The ball must be placed inside the corner arc nearest to the point where the ball crossed the goal line

Practically, what happens is that the ball goes out, the referee points to one corner or another and the game goes on, and players don't argue about it. I'm sure that if an exact analysis were performed of where the ball crossed the goal line and which corner the referee decided the game should restart from, you'd find a non-trivial number of discrepancies. But frankly, who cares?

  • Hopefully, they'll extend goal-line technology to c̶u̶r̶b̶ ̶r̶e̶b̶e̶l̶l̶i̶o̶n̶ improve the accuracy of referees' decisions ;)
    – unbindall
    Commented Jun 18, 2016 at 21:57
  • In any case, the referee decides from which corner the shot is taken. As stated this is not in the rules but it should definitely not be a decision of either team. Of course if the ball crosses over or near the center the referee can take a 'pragmatic' decision - certainly in amateur games where you play on with just the one ball. Commented Jul 18, 2018 at 21:21
  • As a ref, I'd prefer the kick to be on the same side as the lino, so if it goes down the middle, that's what I'm going for.
    – dewd
    Commented Dec 10, 2023 at 21:41

I remember that according to defined laws/rules by FIFA, referee is the only one who decides which side to choose for the corner under the situation you described.

For the comments about 'who cares which side for the corner', sometimes which side to use for the corner really matters, for example, when it's a overwhelming windy day or if the sun is shining from one side line of the field. According to the widely recognized principle of encouraging offensive side, normally the referee should/would choose a side which benefits the offensive side under this situation when which side to use for corner does matter.

  • Could you please provide a reference which supports your assertion that the referee decides?
    – Philip Kendall
    Commented Jun 24, 2016 at 0:21
  • 1
    This is completely incorrect. The correct answer is that the corner kick is taken from the side closest to where the ball crossed the goal line. The pragmatic answer is that if the ball goes over the centre of the goal, the referee will have it taken from the side closest to where the ball ended up to save time. It is not up to the referee, nor is it up to the attacking team as you have suggested. The referee simply makes the decision as to which side of the goal line the ball went out on. Commented Jun 26, 2016 at 6:21
  • " the referee will have it taken from the side closest to where the ball ended up to save time" -- this made sense when we only had one match ball in the old times. Now, talking about saving time, in official matches, we normally have multiple official balls waiting to be picked up if the game is paused. So it doesn't make much sense any longer to pick the side where the ball ends, as those old times. Commented Oct 18, 2016 at 13:57

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