If a footballer plays a free kick and the footballer intention is to play the free kick direct to the goal post, but it touches the footballer team mate before entering the goal post, who is awarded the goal? Is it the free kick player or his team mate who the ball touches?


Intention is irrelevant. The last attacker to play the ball will be considered the goalscorer, unless the goal is caused by the direct action of a defender and would probably not have scored otherwise.

  • This is generally correct. You won't be likely to find a source, because there are none. In most competitions, either the competition administrator, a committee or the referee makes the final decision, and how they do that is usually a matter for them. Apr 19 '18 at 23:30
  • Here is some information - potentially outdated now [2006] - on the committee that decides in the Premier League. Apr 19 '18 at 23:30
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    Apr 20 '18 at 12:53

Touching the ball alone doesn't make the player the goal scorer. Usually there are a few points that have to be considered...

  • Would the ball go in without the player touching the ball?

If no the player who deflected the ball scored the goal. If yes it's up to the officials to decide (see below).

  • How far did he deflect the ball and did he distract the keeper or defenders enough? Would the keeper have saved it without that player interfering?

If the ball went far enough off the original direction it's usually the deflecting player getting the credit for the goal. There's no written rule about how far the ball has to be deflected into another direction, so it's up to the officials to decide. But again, touching the ball alone doesn't make that player the scorer. Deflecting the ball by a few inches doesn't do that either (usually).

For example:

The kick would land right next to the post and it would be a goal either way....

  • The ball rebounds off the leg of another player and the ball goes in at the other side of the goal. The deflecting player gets the credit (or an own goal if it was a defender).
  • The ball is only lightly touched by that player and doesn't change it's direction. The player who took the free kick gets the credit for the goal.

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