Does the ball need to be stationary in the goal area before it can be kicked? A parent on my team said that she witnessed in a game that her daughter was refereeing a keeper that was rolling the ball out and a defender kicking the ball into play while the ball was still moving in the goal area.ÂI have looked this question up in “Advice to Referees”, “FIFA Laws of the Game” and the 2006 question and answers and cannot find in any of these publications that the ball has to be stationary only that it has to be on the ground in the goal area.

USSF answer (April 11, 2007):
The fact that the ball is stationary at a goal kick is one of those things that the makers of the Laws, the International F. A. Board (IFAB), have left out, because they assume that “everyone knows” that the ball must be stationary. (In fact, if you had been watching one of the EPL games yesterday on Fox Soccer Channel, you would have seen the referee make the kicking team take a goal kick again, simply because the goalkeeper had kicked the ball while it was still moving.)

Here is an answer we gave back on September 26, 2005 that explains the technicalities of the matter:
An excellent question. Nowhere does it state specifically that the ball must be stationary for goal kicks, but it is implied in Law 17 for corner kicks (and in Law 14 for penalty kicks). The specific statements in Laws 8 and 13 that the ball be stationary for the start and restart of play and free kicks also imply that the ball must be stationary for all kick restarts. (Note: This answer was first published on July 9, 2001. Nothing has changed since that time.)

Law 8
* the ball is stationary on the center mark
* the ball is in play when it is kicked and moves forward


Law 13

Types of Free Kicks
For both direct and indirect free kicks, the ball must be stationary when the kick is taken and the kicker does not touch the ball a second time until it has touched another player.

Law 14
Position of the Ball and the Players
The ball:
* is placed on the penalty mark

Law 16
* the ball is kicked from any point within the goal area by a player of the defending team
[the inference here being that if the ball was at “any point” it was stationary, but you could probably argue that one either way]

Law 17
* the ball is placed inside the corner arc at the nearest corner flagpost
[the inference here (and in Law 14) is that if the ball is “placed,” it is stationary]
* the ball is in play when it is kicked and moves

In all cases of a kick restart, the ball must be stationary before being kicked. It is not in play until it has been kicked and moves (forward in the case of kick-off and penalty kick).

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