Soccer foul and misconduct explained

Misconduct, infringement, offence commonly called soccer fouls are violation of the conduct of the game and there are ways to punish offenders.

A soccer foul include kicking, tripping, striking an opponent, colliding with a player before connecting with the ball when tackling, and deliberately handling the ball. Soccer fouls result in a direct or indirect free kick. A direct free kick can be a penalty kick if its taken from the penalty mark. For a foul to be awarded, the ball has to be in play unlike a misconduct in which case the ball need not be in play.

Soccer fouls list


Impending the movement of an opponent is called obstructionThe phrase “impeding the progress” of a player is used to refer to the soccer foul commonly termed as obstruction. The player whose movement is impended has to be within reasonable playing distance.

Shielding, which involves using the body to maintain possession of the ball from an opponent, is not treated the same as impeding.

To impede a player has to have moved into the path of another player. Choosing to run through a player possessing the ball is not impeding his movement.

Sliding Tackle

Sliding tackle in Football or soccerThe side tackles results in a foul if the player comes into contact with the other player before touching the ball. The referee can choose to call a foul even if the tackler touches the ball first if he is judged to have done it dangerously. It is considered dangerous play if a player goes for the ball and uses studs of the cleat to lead his tackle. Such dangerous play is punished by an indirect free kick.

A similar incident may be viewed as an attempt to kick the opponent and in the context of play it results in a direct free kick. Any unintentional contact with the opponent after the player plays the ball does not comprise a foul. A slide from the back is not allowed and the player gets an absolute red card.


Holding an attacking opponent in football is a foulA direct free kick is awarded for holding. However, if both players are clearly holding each other, the referee determines who is guiltier and usually it is the player who takes it too far or one who initiated the struggle.

Else, he can choose to allow the play to proceed if the struggle looks even. You will notice that some level of pulling and pushing is allowed, as long as it is normal.


High Tackling

high tackle is reckless & dangerous tackleIn soccer, high tackling is considered as a "dangerous play" if an opponent is very close to the tackler and it is clear that the tackle is in a careless or reckless manner.

High tackle is not considered a foul but it is the manner in which the football player goes for the ball will determine how the referee will treat the tackle.

If the tackle causes the opponent to hesitate or prevents him for going for the ball, then a foul can be called. A high tackling is all down to the interpretation by the referee.



Tripping in football or soccer is very dangerous and it constitutes a foulPlayers fall all the time during play. You will find two players chasing the ball and one trips the other or even both go diving into the ground. If both players came together and carelessly bumped or crushed into each other, it is not a foul. However, if one player trips the other in a clumsy manner it is a foul. The referee is responsible for deciding whether he was tripped or not.

Tripping can happen even when a tackler slides and then lifts either foot to block the opponent from moving. The subsequent deliberate trip after a tackle is considered a foul. If after a clean tackle the tackler’s leg is not raised then clearly a foul shall not be called even if the opponent falls.

The Advantage Rule

The advantage rule is put in practice when the referee allows the play to continue after the team possessing the ball at that moment has a foul committed against them. Its common in instances where the offending team looks to benefit from the awarding of a free kick, for instance when the opponents are on attack and their player is tripped.

Soccer foul punishments

In their role of maintaining player safety and fair play, each referee is empowered to punish offenders. They can give warnings or even take further discipline action through showing them a yellow or red card.

  • Yellow card is shown to a player who commits unsporting behavior, enters or leaves the field without permission from the referee, shows indecency by word or action, continually infringes the rules or delays start of the game.
  • Red card shown means dismissal from the match and showed for serious offenses. A player who picks up a second yellow card in a single match is shown the red card. Serious foul play, violent conduct abusive or offensive language and deliberate handling of the ball are fouls that get the referee to show a red card.

Card History

A system of colored cards was first developed by English referee Ken Aston inspired by the colors of the traffic light. The card system was used by football referees showing a yellow card for a caution and a red card for an expulsion, this system was first used in the 1970 World Cup.