Dropped Ball In Football (All You Need To Know!)

Last Updated on December 5, 2021 by

There are a lot of technical terms used in the world of football, and a “drop-ball” is one of them. It is a term used in football for restarting a match due to some reason. Take for example, when an outsider interferes with the match while the ball is in play, the game will be stopped and a drop ball will be used to restart the game

Also, a very common reason is when a player is injured. The gameplay will be stopped as the medics attend to the injured player. After that, a drop ball will be used to restart the match.

The referees were allowed to restart the game after a momentary suspension of gameplay when a new law was added to the rules of association football in 1888. The referee throws the ball up at the spot where the play was halted. Players can’t touch the ball unless it hits the ground. In 1905, another modification was introduced, where referees are instructed to throw down the ball instead of throwing it up. 

Not quite long, another modification came in, and the referees were instructed to drop the ball in 1914. After some years, a new law was added to the rules of football allowing referees to drop the ball within the goal area rather than dropping it at the point where play was halted. The new law stated that balls are now to be dropped at the closest point to the six-yard line to eliminate jostling and crowding by the players when restarting the play. 

Scoring From A Dropped Ball

Scoring From A Dropped Ball

There are rules and regulations guiding players in regards to scoring a goal directly as the referee drops the ball. A team that scored directly from a dropped ball will either be awarded a corner kick or a goal kick. This law came into place in 2012. The Football Association gave a justification for this new law modification. They realized that many a time, teams have scored goals from uncontested dropped balls. In such situations, the opposition rebalances the game by allowing the team to score as they kick off without any players trying to block them. The law was reinstated again in 2016 – no players can score from a direct dropped ball unless it touched two players before crossing the goal line. Goals scored from a direct dropped ball are canceled and play is restarted mostly by a goal-kick. 

Drop Ball Infringements

When the process required in playing a dropped ball is not properly followed by the players, the referee calls a number of infringements. If any player from the two teams touches the ball before it reaches the ground, it’s a violation. And the referee can book the player with a yellow card for deliberately delaying the time required to restart the game. Also, as we said earlier, goals scored from a dropped ball without touching at least two players are disallowed. 

Remedy For Infringement

Normally, any team whose player touches the ball before it reaches the ground is punished with an indirect free-kick. That was an infringement of the laws at a dropped ball in 1891. However, a retake was implemented as the “indirect free-kick” was removed in 1937. 

Abolition Of Contested Dropped Ball

The dropped ball was not allowed to be contested by any player of the two teams again in 2019. Another refined law was established and the dropped ball is awarded to; a player of the team who had touched the ball before the play was stopped. However, if the play was stopped in the penalty area, the ball will be awarded to the goalkeeper of the defending team. Also, players are to stay four meters away until the ball drops on the ground. 


We’ve prepared a list of frequently asked questions and answers to help you have a deeper understanding of dropped ball in football. 

Is A Drop Ball Indirect?

Dropped balls are indirect kicks that players can’t use to score a goal directly. This is due to the fact that there have been occasions where teams score goals from uncontested dropped balls. 

What Is It Called When A Football Is Dropped?

It is called “fumble”. In most cases, the ball is accessible to another player to gain possession for his teammates when a player drops the ball. 

What Happens If A Dropped Ball Is Kicked Directly Into The Team’s Own Goal?

Like we said earlier, any goal from a direct dropped ball will be disallowed and either a corner kick or a goal-kick is awarded. That’s a new law and every player must adhere to it. 

Closing Thoughts 

A dropped ball is one of the technical terms used in the world of football. When you see a referee dropping the ball, it is to restart the game if a player is injured. All we all know, when a player is seriously injured, the referee would stop the play and call the medics to treat the wounded player. Once the player is treated or substituted, the play is continued with a dropped ball. Also, we’ve seen occasions where a spectator runs into the field during play. In this case, the referee would stop the play and a dropped ball would be used to start the game again. 

We’ve reached the closing chapter of this informative article. We hope you were able to find good resources in your quest to know dropped ball in football. If you have any questions or comments about the article topic, don’t hesitate to contact us. Thanks

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