Indirect Free Kicks - Inside the Eighteen Yard Box

Indirect Free Kick - Inside 18 Yard Box

An Indirect Free Kick is awarded to the opposing team if a goalkeeper, inside his own penalty area, commits any of the following four offences:

  • Controls the ball with his hands for more than six seconds before releasing it from his possession
  • Touches the ball again with his hands after he has released it from his possession and before it has touched another player
  • Touches the ball with his hands after it has been deliberately kicked to him by a team-mate
  • Touches the ball with his hands after he has received it directly from a throw-in taken by a team-mate
Referee - Indirect Free Kick

The referee will blow the whistle to signal that an infraction has occured. He will then raise his hand into the air to signal an Indirect Free Kick. This means that the ball must touched by two players before it enters the goal to count. Usually this means an opponent will touch or pass it to a teammate who then will shoot it.

The first thing the goalkeeper needs to do in this sitiation is to get the play stopped and ensure that his team-mates have enough time to set up adequately to defend the situation. The goalkeeper must make it so that the opponents have to wait for the referee to blow the whistle before continuing play. The only guaranteed way to do this is for the goalkeeper to kick the ball out of bounds far enough that the referee has to book him with a yellow card for time wasting. Once the referee decides to book the goalkeeper, the opposition must then wait for the referee to blow the whistle to restart play. Obviously this is only something the goalkeeper would do if he hasn't been yellow carded already in the game. If the goalkeeper cannot draw a yellow card to stop play, a team-mate must do so instead!

Referee - Yellow Card
Don't want to take a yellow card?
See the video below for an example of what could happen if you don't!


While the referee is in the process of booking the goalkeeper, his team-mates should be in the process of setting up to defend the Indirect Free Kick. The Laws of the Game state that all opponents must be 10 yards away from the ball if possible. It will not be possible to stand 10 yards away if the ball is located 8 yards from the goal line! In that case the opponents would only have to stand 8 yards away from the ball.

For Indirect Free Kicks inside the Eighteen Yard Box, the goalkeeper should have all of his teammates (10 outfield players!) set up in a defensive wall at the required distance from the ball. The goalkeeper should then take up a position directly in FRONT of the wall.

The goalkeepers job is to pressure the ball immediately after it is touched or passed (This is often referred to as 'The Bullet Man'). He should sprint out of the wall to try and smother or block any immediate shots. His teammates remain behind to try and cover as much of the goal as possible in case it gets past the goalkeeper.


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