From this Wikipedia article on own goal

An own goal is when a player scores in their own team's net or scoring area, not the opposing team's, during sports games in which points scored are referred to as "goals" (e.g., association football). An own goal is usually accidental, but is counted as a regular goal. It may result from an attempt at a defensive play that either failed or was unexpectedly intercepted by an opposing player. It is considered to be one of the more embarrassing blunders in all of sports.

Reading further shows that own goals in football are treated differently compared to other sports such as:

Ice hockey

If a goal is scored by a player on the defending team, credit for the goal goes to the last player on the other team to have touched the puck;


When accidentally scoring at an opposing team's basket (basketball's equivalent of an "own goal"), the goal is credited to an offensive player.

In NBA rules, the goal is credited to the player on the scoring team who is closest to defensive shooter and is mentioned in a footnote.

Under FIBA rules, the player designated captain is credited with the basket.

So, what reasons make it not possible in football to adhere to the same treatment of own goals, other than the fact that "it has always been this way"?


Okay, I understand my previous way of questioning was a bit opinionated (or downright silly if you wish), so I have edited it to make it more straightforward

  • 4
    "This type of ruling makes more sense". This would seem to be just your opinion; the football ruling makes more sense to me. – Philip Kendall Sep 14 '17 at 14:08
  • 1
    Basketball: defenders explicitly prohibited from scoring points against their own team. Ice hockey: players never move the puck towards their own goal, so any goal must come from attacking action somehow. Further "because they might feel bad" is TBT a silly criteria for choosing which stats to keep. Should we stop counting GA, L, any rank below first, missed tackles, missed shots, and more? – Nij Sep 15 '17 at 4:36
  • 1
    @Nij Should we stop counting GA, L, any rank below first, missed tackles, missed shots, and more? Now that you put it like that, I myself find the criteria silly :) – RMad9248 Sep 15 '17 at 5:57
  • I think you've picked your examples here to make a point which doesn't really exist. Taking some other sports: Gaelic football counts own goals as soccer, Australian Rules Football has a separate category of "rushed behinds" for the equivalent action, lacrosse records them as "team goals", etc. – Philip Kendall Sep 18 '17 at 21:41

There maybe many reasons, but one of the reason why this can't be given to the last attacker can be understand from this paragraph of this fifa.com article.

In the current era, greater prizes are offered for top goalscorers, in tournaments and league championships, and the ranking can sometimes depend upon one goal attributed to an attacker or as an own goal. Objective definitions should certainly not depend upon the interests of individual awards or commercial promotions - but this, too, is part of the reality of the game today.

Another paragraph from the same article that may be important to this question.

Statisticians have long since recorded the names and feats of goalscorers, and these records go back decades, well before the advent of modern technology. Understandably, the game's historians want to maintain accurate records.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.