I have always wondered. Do people keep the balls? What happens?

  • 1
    Can you be a little more specific? This doesn't seem like the sort of thing that would be covered by the rules of the game, so we'll need to know which league or stadium you're interested in to have a chance at finding the correct answer.
    – Pops
    Jun 14, 2014 at 20:46
  • Lets say FIFA world cup 2014 in Brazil. Any stadium. Jun 15, 2014 at 20:51
  • 1
    Let's remember that balls in football are always good for use, they are only dropped when they are broken. In baseball, the ball get's change every once in a while.. there is no correct answer for this, it's depends on several things. Usually in football you can't keep the ball..
    – gbianchi
    Jun 17, 2014 at 13:45

4 Answers 4


The depends on the host club!

The host club will decide as owners, whether fans are allowed to take the balls. At most clubs, the balls are thrown back to the security guards by the fans automatically. If one is not returned voluntarily, the guards get him. It is uncommon in football to take balls home with you. Finally they cost about 100 euros. Source


In football, if the ball crosses the field boundary then it is considered a throw or free-kick (unless it is a penalty as judged by the referee). It is derived from rules of all major leagues. The rules of football is applicable to the field i.e. it does not consider the crowd as part of the rule; throwing the ball at the crowd is considered the same as the ball crossing the field boundary. The ball is to be returned to the field for the play to continue. In case the ball is not found, it is considered lost and a replacement is brought in. In case the ball is damaged, a replacement is brought in.


In football you cannot keep the ball, it has to be returned to the field. If it is not damaged, it will be used for the game.

In cricket also the ball has to be returned to the field. In case the ball is not found, it is considered a lost ball.

  • 5
    Welcome to Sports SE. Just wondering: "It has to be returned to the field" According to whom?
    – user527
    Jun 25, 2014 at 15:29

If the ball ends up in the stands as a part of a play it must be returned. If a player scores and gives the ball to a fan it is theirs to keep.

  • 4
    Could you provide some reference to support this answer?
    – Philip Kendall
    Nov 13, 2021 at 15:52

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