I saw this video of a player slide tackling his teammate.

What are the rules on players tackling their own teammates like that?

Would it just be to show fair play and kick the ball out to treat the player?

  • I've added a late answer which I believe better covers the scenario you've highlighted. The answer you've accepted assumes that the action is bad enough to be a cautionable or sending-off offence. Commented Jan 9, 2018 at 2:20
  • @Metro Boomin Yes studro is right, just for an action against teammate which is not excessive enough players can't be penalized, whereas I assumed action is excessive. So, if you could accept the answer of studro I will delete mine. Commented Jan 9, 2018 at 4:50

2 Answers 2


No, a player cannot be penalised for an action against a teammate that is normally (only) a foul if done to the opponent.

Most free kick offences listed in Law 12 under direct free kicks and indirect free kicks that involve physicality against another player (e.g. a careless trip or tackle, or impeding) contain the wording "against an opponent", either directly in the wording of the offence, or in its definition (e.g. playing in a dangerous manner), meaning they cannot be committed against a teammate.

The only exception to this would be if the action was reckless or excessive enough to make it misconduct (i.e. a cautionable or sending-off offence) This free-kick offence is listed in Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct, Section 2 - Indirect Free Kick:

An indirect free kick is awarded if a player:


  • commits any other offence, not mentioned in the Laws, for which play is stopped to caution or send off a player

Note that there is no requirement for this offence to be committed against an opponent. This would include committing violent conduct (i.e. using excessive force) or unsporting behaviour (i.e. recklessness) against a teammate.

For these offences, after the offender is either cautioned or sent off, the restart would be upgraded from an indirect free kick offence to a direct free kick offence as per Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct, Section 4 - Restart of Play After Fouls and Misconduct and Q6 & Q7 of Law 12 FAQ.

  • The question doesn't say "fouls against an opponent", it says "actions against a teammate that are normally a foul if done to an opponent". I think you've read the conditional in the wrong order.
    – Nij
    Commented Jan 8, 2018 at 2:44
  • The logic could have been clearer, but I believe the conclusion is still correct. I've edited the answer based on your suggestions. Thanks for the suggestions. Commented Jan 8, 2018 at 6:35
  • @studro I think you are confused with word "Penalise" and "Caution", what does this mean in your answer "the indirect free kick offence of commits any other offence" and at last I think you meant "Q6". Commented Jan 8, 2018 at 13:04
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    In response to your second comment, you got in first - so if you incorporate my information into your answer, I'll delete mine. The only reason I left a new answer was because it was so vastly different to yours and it would have been strange to incorporate such a large edit. Commented Jan 9, 2018 at 12:50
  • 1
    @studro Yes that's why I mentioned your answer in mine. Commented Jan 24, 2018 at 2:18

(The situation explain in this answer assumes action against a teammate which involve misconduct and wouldn't be only foul. See this answer)

Can football players be penalised for an action against a teammate that is normally a foul if done to the opponent?

(Answer is no, for an action against a teammate that is normally a foul if done to the opponent.)

In short yes, laws of the game allows it.

From IFAB Laws of The Game :

Law 12 fouls and misconducts (emphasis added)


    A player who commits a cautionable or sending-off offence, either on or off the field of play, against an opponent, a team-mate, a match official or any other person or the Laws of the Game, is disciplined according to the offence.


    If the ball is in play and a player commits an offence inside the field of play against:

    • a team-mate, substitute, substituted or sent off player, team official or a match official – a direct free kick or penalty kick

From FAQ of Law 12

Q6: Why is an offence against someone who is not an opponent now a direct free kick? Does this include dissent/offensive language?

If, for example, a player strikes a team-mate, substitute, team official or, perhaps even worse, a match official this is serious but only restarting with an IDFK suggested that the offence was not serious so it is now a direct free kick for any offence (directly) against anyone (except an opponent). This does not include dissent/offensive language etc. as this is not a direct/physical offence against a person (see below).

Q7: What is the restart of the referee stops play for dissent/offensive language etc.?

If the referee stops play to penalise a player for dissent/offensive language etc. the restart is an IDFK.

In 1994, Hearts teammates Graeme Hogg and current Hearts manager Craig Levein were sent off for scrapping during a pre-season friendly against Raith Rovers. Source

Update: From the IFAB Glossary

To punish, usually by stopping play and awarding a free kick or penalty kick to the opposing team

For Violent Conduct player can be sent-off. (see: SENDING-OFF OFFENCES)

Violent conduct is when a player uses or attempts to use excessive force or brutality against an opponent when not challenging for the ball, or against a team-mate, team official, match official, spectator or any other person, regardless of whether contact is made.

In addition, a player who, when not challenging for the ball, deliberately strikes an opponent or any other person on the head or face with the hand or arm, is guilty of violent conduct unless the force used was negligible.

See: Newcastle men sent off for fighting each other

However for the mention case, where Jack Hendry of Dundee tackles his own team-mate Cammy Kerr in a match against Rangers which they lost 4-1, I could not find anything that happened after the incident but I'm sure that Jack did not get booked.

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    This might be a better example - youtube.com/watch?v=u7_ygd9k24w
    – Andre
    Commented Jan 7, 2018 at 22:39
  • Fouls can only be committed against an opponent. See the wording in Law 12 for each offence. However, it is possible to commit misconduct against a team-mate, which is what your quotes are referring to. Commented Jan 8, 2018 at 0:47
  • @studro My answer does not state "whether fouls can be committed against an opponent" but only states that "players can be penalised for an action against a teammate" Commented Jan 8, 2018 at 12:38
  • But that's not the question. The question is "can players be penalised for an action against a teammate that is normally a foul if done to the opponent"? And the answer is no, unless the action also constituted misconduct. Commented Jan 9, 2018 at 1:49
  • None of the examples given here are actions that would result in simply a foul if committed against a teammate. They all involve misconduct. Commented Jan 9, 2018 at 1:50

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