An indirect free kick is a method of restarting play in a game of association football. Unlike a direct free kick, a goal may not be scored directly from the kick; the ball must first come into contact with another player (from either team). If the ball goes into the goal without touching any other player, a goal kick is awarded. The law was derived from the Sheffield Rules that stated that no goal could be scored from a free kick. This law was absorbed into the Laws of the Game in 1877 and later adapted to allow indirect free kicks as a result of dangerous play. An indirect free kick is awarded to the opposing team when a player infringes certain technical requirements of the laws (e.g. touching the ball a second time following a restart, or the keeper touching the ball with his hands when a teammate has used his foot to pass it back to the keeper). An indirect free kick is also awarded to the opposing team when play is stopped to caution or send-off a player when no specific foul has occurred (e.g. when play is stopped to caution a player for dissenting the decision of the referee). The most common cause is the offside offence.
Unlike a direct free kick, an offence punishable by an indirect free kick does not result in a penalty kick when it occurs in the penalty area; rather, it continues to be taken as an indirect free kick.
The kick is taken from where the infringement occurred, unless the offence was committed within the goal area of the team awarded the kick, in which case the kick may be taken from anywhere within the goal area. An indirect free kick within the opposing team's goal area is taken from the goal area line, parallel to the goal line, nearest to where the infringement occurred (i.e. at least 6 yards from the goal line).
The ball must be stationary prior to being kicked. Opponents must remain 10 yards (9.15m) from the ball (and also outside of the penalty area if the kick is taken from within the kicking team's penalty area) until the ball is in play. The exception to this is that opponents may be within 10 yards of the ball provided they are standing on their goal line between the goal posts.
The ball becomes in play when it has been kicked and moves, unless the kick was taken from within the kicking team's penalty area, in which case it is in play once it has passed completely out of the penalty area.
A goal may not be scored directly from an indirect free kick, rather it must be touched by a second player before a goal can be scored. If the ball goes in goal directly from an indirect free kick, a goal kick is awarded to the defending team. As with all restarts of play, if the ball goes directly into the kicker's own goal from an indirect free kick a corner kick is awarded to the opposing team.
Infringements and sanctions
Kicks are retaken if an opponent is closer to the spot from where the kick is taken than the required distance. Also, for a kick taken by a team inside their own penalty area, the ball is not considered in play until it has left the area. If the ball fails to travel directly out of the penalty area the kick is retaken.
The kicker will concede an indirect free kick to their opponents if they touch the ball again before another player (of either team) has touched it. If this second touch is an illegal handling of the ball offense, this takes priority and is penalised (with a direct free kick or penalty) accordingly.
- "BBC SPORT | Football | Laws & Equipment | When is a free-kick indirect?". BBC News. 2005-09-01. Retrieved 2008-12-07.
- "How to Understand Soccer Referee Signals". Wikihow. Retrieved 2016-01-08.