What Is Off The Crossbar In Football? (Detailed Explanation!)

Last Updated on May 15, 2022 by

Off the bar in football is a situation whereby the ball struck by the striker hit the crossbar and ricochet either to be struck again or cleared. Using this shot is one target with intention to hit the net but the player is just unlucky that it’s off the crossbar.

A crossbar is a horizontal piece of aluminum attached to two upright goalpost, traditionally as part of football. A crossbar is the usually hanging on the two vertical standing part called goal post.

This crossbar has not always been used in the game football, prior 1875 the tape was use to mark the top of the two vertical post. In 1885 a regulation was pushed by the Football Association to introduced a standardize way to replace the tape and the crossbar was introduced. The crossbar was introduced and it was made of aluminum and usually about 4 inches thick. A few upgrades were added to the upright post from the former to 3/8 inches each. 

The Football Association also brought a strict regulations that mandate every standard stadiums must have their crossbar at 24 feet long, 8 feet high and always painted white. This brought uniformity to the game of football as stadiums around began to revamp their goal post to meet this standard or risk being banned. New stadiums that was built were religious in following these guidelines else their construction process would be stopped, due to the presence of the football committee coming for inspection.

What Does “Off The Crossbar” Really Mean In Football?

Off the crossbar is a situation in football in which the ball struck against the horizontal post, especially when the ball struck by striker is deflected by a defender or pushed by the goalkeeper, hits the horizontal part of the post, causing the ball to bounce and change direction, then it is referred to as “off the crossbar.”

Off the crossbar also means that the goalkeeper was unable to punch the ball but luckily hit the horizontal part of the post, or the ball went above the goalkeeper and hit the horizontal part of the post, either to create a goal or bounce off to a defender or another striker then it’s tagged as off the crossbar.

Example of EPL matches with off the crossbar situations 

EPL matches with off the crossbar situations

When the football hit the upper part of the goalpost, which sits on the two part of the bar then it’s called ‘off the post’. Few football matches fully illustrate the ‘off the crossbar’ experience. 

Manchester United and Manchester City are two rivals and their matchup are always fierce even if both are English Teams. In one feature when United was trialing and urgently needed a goal to equal the tier. Ronaldo’s strike from outside the 18yard box ricochet off the cross bar. In their next feature, this time at Old Trafford, they needed the home win to secure the top three position to go to the champions league and again Ronaldo’s shot ricochet off the crossbar again but this time hitting the net after the ricochet.

No rivalry is more intense than Barcelona and Real Madrid, the El Classico as fondly called by commentators and fans alike. On one  particular feature, Messi’s shot was just hitting the crossbar. Three of his shot was so save the foot that still ricochet but this time into the net to give them the overall aggregate lead.

Two types of off the crossbar

Off the cross and ricochet into the net

The first type of  ‘off the crossbar’ is that which the ball shoot by the striker hit the top of the horizontal part of the goalpost but bounce out either to either the defender (who would clear the ball) or another striker ( would take another shot).


In the fixture between Arsenal and Chelsea, Saka took a shot that hit the crossbar and ricochet off the goalpost and was cleared by kante.

Off the cross and ricochet out of goal

The second type of ‘off the crossbar’ is that which the ball struck by the striker hit the top of the horizontal part of the goalpost but this time ricochet into the net. In this case the ball goes above the goalkeeper and hit against the crossbar and bounce into the net.


In the same fixture between Arsenal and Chelsea, Lukaku dribbled a defender and took a shot that went over the goalkeeper and ricochet into the net.

Frequently Asked Questions

What year was the crossbar introduced in football?

 The crossbar is introduced in 1875 in football after the new regulation by the Football Association to replace the tape

What are crossbars made of?

The crossbar is made of aluminum usually with w thickness of about 4 inches.

What is length of the crossbar in football?

The adult football stadium has a crossbar that is 24 foot long. The Football Association ensures that all stadiums follows suit.

What is the height of the crossbar in soccer?

The crossbar is 8 feet tall. This wasn’t the height but the goalpost regulation act ensure that new/existing stadiums strictly adhere to this regulation or risk being banned.

Does shots hitting the crossbar count as a goal?

No, shot that hit the crossbar doesn’t count as goal save those shot that ricochet into the net. Shot that hit the crossbar only counts as shot on target/shot on goal but not goal itself.


The crossbar is an important and the horizontal part of the goalpost, and it wasn’t up until 1875 that it replaced the tape. The tape brought a lot of discrepancy about if a shot is or not a goal but the crossbar has solved that anomalies by clearly showing if a shot is or not a goal.

Off the crossbar are shot that hit the crossbar. The ball can either ricochet off the goalpost or into the net, if it ricochet away from the net then it’s counted as shot on target but if it hit the nets then, it’s counted as a Goal.

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