I know this is the kind of question that could easily dismissed with a 'No, it is not'. However, the Glossary section of the 2016/17 Laws of the Game reads that (link, p. 163):

Field of play (Pitch). The playing area confined by the touchlines and goal lines and goal nets where used.

The 'and goal nets where used' part is what really bugs me. What is it supposed to mean, apart from making the inside of each goal part of the field of play (with the obvious consequences on the restart of play for fouls committed there, etc.)?

  • 2
    this amussed me. The goal nets are not even mandatory for playing..
    – gbianchi
    Commented Feb 17, 2017 at 14:00
  • 1
    Yeah, Law 1 makes it clear: 'Nets MAY be attached to the goals and the ground behind the goal (...)'.
    – Labba
    Commented Feb 17, 2017 at 14:03

2 Answers 2


The field of play does not include the goal nets, as defined in the laws of the game.

Law 1.2 states

The field of play must be rectangular

which is only possible if the area enclosed by the goal nets is excluded

And Law 1.12 states

No form of commercial advertising, whether real or virtual, is permitted on the field of play, on the ground within the area enclosed by the goal nets or the technical area...

which strongly suggests that the goal nets are not part of the field of play.

This would appear to be in contradiction with the glossary definition you quoted in the question.

I think it is reasonable to assume that the more detailed laws of the game have priority over a glossary, which gives a short and quick definition of various terms as an aid to understanding the laws.

  • 1
    "I think it is reasonable to assume that the more detailed laws of the game have priority over a glossary" - this is the crux of the answer. If anyone reading has the energy, IFAB has a contact form here. If you point out this discrepancy, they may amend the glossary for the 2017/18 edition of the Laws. Commented Mar 7, 2017 at 0:21

No, it is not part of the field of play.

We can't talk about a "inside the goal" rule.
According The Laws of the Game, the only rule about the goal frame is about its dimensions : 7.32 m by 2.44 m. There is no rule about the shape of the net (there is no rule about any net at all), so there is no rule about a certain goal surface.

Hower, the definition you are quoting intends to define the field as a surface where only the 22 players and the referees can enter. No ball boys, no fans, no subsitutes even if goalie's water bottle and towel are tolerated.

Sources: Wikipedia, FIFA.

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