In a junior football match, one of the players had picked up an unusual habit. She would make a sliding tackle but end up on the ground, with the ball between her legs. She would then keep possession, using her legs while still sitting on the floor.

It seemed unorthodox and possibly dangerous, as she was at risk of being fouled by opposition players trying to get the ball.

Rugby union has a rule whereby the ball must be released; the player that is tackled and the tackling player must immediately release the ball to allow for play to continue.

I couldn't find a similar rule in football's laws of the game. Can a player hold the ball under their body or legs in association football?

This is distinct from Walking the ball across the line for a goal, as there is no attempt to move the ball or score a goal.

  • Sir we said possible duplicate because answer in there answer this question. Sir lets wait for other to review if they don't think it is one I will retract my own also. Commented Aug 5, 2017 at 3:53

1 Answer 1


Law 12.2 is straightforward, that

An indirect free kick is awarded if a player:

  • plays in a dangerous manner

whence "playing in a dangerous manner" is defined as

[...] any action that, while trying to play the ball, threatens injury to someone (including the player themself) and includes preventing a nearby opponent from playing the ball for fear of injury.

with my emphasis. Law 12.3 further provides that

A player is cautioned if guilty of:


persistent offences (no specific number or pattern of offences constitutes “persistent”)

should the referee determine that they continued to commit this offence.

  • 1
    I think the emphasis would be better at "including the player themself", other than that, this would also be my reply. Commented Aug 5, 2017 at 9:33

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