After yesterday's red card for Nani in Manchester United against Real Madrid (March 5th 2013) I decided to read the entire Rulebook Laws of the Game by FIFA (IFAB), including the guidelines for referees concerning the interpretation of the rules. Sadly enough, this was my first time that I read the rules, although playing Football for nearly 20 years now.

I got the answer to my initial question whether the sending off was justified, but the rulebook raised a lot of different questions. The problem is that I found no clues to some common understandings of the game, for example that it is forbidden to clamp the ball between the legs in order to make it unreachable for the opponent.

The main issue, however, is that I could not find anything regarding the Goalkeeper receiving special treatment in the 6yard box (other than being dressed differently and being allowed to use the hands on the ball), as it is often pointed out and ruled as foul play.

Can anyone help me finding the rules for that, or clarifying these issues? Are there other official rules besides FIFA's Laws of the Game?

Thanks in advace!

  • +1 I couldn't find it anywhere in the laws or in the interpretation, but I found it in an old law book... So the rule was there!
    – gbianchi
    Commented Mar 6, 2013 at 18:56
  • Do you happen to have the title of that book?
    – fischi
    Commented Mar 6, 2013 at 19:03
  • 1
    Probably the question title needs to be modified. I think he has a valid question.
    – iDev
    Commented Mar 6, 2013 at 19:49
  • 1
    @ACB The validity of this question is not of concern. It's, as you state, the title and the wording, "Can anyone help me finding the rules for that." I understand a rule clarification is what's being asked, but it didn't come off as clear to me...and I am suggesting clarity to remove the potential of the question not being clear.
    – user527
    Commented Mar 6, 2013 at 20:00
  • 1
    The 6 yard box is only there for restarts purposes. the 6 yard box plays no part in the general open play of the game or should not be considered special in any decision making by the ref, although it may seem that way
    – aqwert
    Commented Mar 4, 2016 at 3:15

2 Answers 2


They are no more rules, only the FIFA ones.

I was searching, but only find links in spanish about it. But all is way back to 2006, when there was a big change in the laws of the game and in the interpretation.
Before that, you couldn't touch the goalie inside the goal box. Now, you can, if you don't commit any other type of foul in the same play, and you can't do it with excesive force.
The problem with clamping the ball, if that you are impeding your adversary from playing it, since any movement he make would be a dangerous move to yourself.

All I could find, was old newspaper news, in which some referees tell about it, but couldn't find a better source.

this, this and this

All in spanish, sorry!


Regulations of the UEFA Champions League 2012-15 Cycle states that all match will be player according to International Football Association Board (IFAB) Laws of the Game:

15.01 Matches are played in conformity with the Laws of the Game promulgated by the International Football Association Board (IFAB).

International Football Association Board (IFAB) is the body that determines the Laws of the Game of association football, FIFA Laws of the Game are determined and updated by the IFAB and it was last modified at the 126th Annual General Meeting of the International Football Association Board (IFAB) in England (Surrey) on 3 March 2012. These came into force on 1 June 2012.

On FIFA Laws of the Game LAW 5 - The Referee under Injured players sections you can see full procedure when dealing with injured players, the main rules that relevant to your question are:

The referee must adhere to the following procedure when dealing with injured 
• play is allowed to continue until the ball is out of play if a player is, in the 
opinion of the referee, only slightly injured  
• play is stopped if, in the opinion of the referee, a player is seriously injured  
• after questioning the injured player, the referee may authorise one, or at 
most two doctors, to enter the field of play to assess the injury and arrange 
the player’s safe and swift removal from the field of play  
• a player is not allowed to receive treatment on the field of play  
• any player bleeding from a wound must leave the field of play. He may not 
return until the referee is satisfied that the bleeding has stopped.   
• as soon as the referee has authorized the doctors to enter the field of play, 
the player must leave the field of play, either on a stretcher or on foot. If a 
player does not comply, he must be cautioned for unsporting behavior  
• an injured player may only return to the field of play after the match has 

But all of this are irrelevant to goalkeeper since there is and exception when the injured player is the goalkeeper:

Exceptions to this ruling are to be made only when:
• a goalkeeper is injured

And for Offences committed against goalkeepers you can read the following rules:

Offences committed against goalkeepers
• It is an offence for a player to prevent a goalkeeper from releasing the ball from his hands
• A player must be penalised for playing in a dangerous manner if he kicks or attempts to kick the ball when the goalkeeper is in the process of releasing it
• It is an offence to restrict the movement of the goalkeeper by unfairly impeding him, e.g. at the taking of a corner kick

  • Thank you very much! So in essence, just like any other Player, the Goalkeeper must not be fouled, but there is no special treatment involved, is it?
    – fischi
    Commented Mar 7, 2013 at 8:33

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