Die Spielregeln, English

Law 8: The start and restart of play

In this article the development of the start and restart is described. This includes the dropped ball (“Schiedsrichterball”).

Year (Source) new or changed laws (proposing club/association, if known)
1847 and following years (Eton Field Game) Kick-off at the beginning: bully. At half time the ends are changed.
1858 (Harrow Football) Toss, except in school games, then the team of the headmaster has the side choice. Toss decides which team has the kick-off from the centre of the field. At half time the ends are changed. Kick-off from the middle of the field, halfway between the two goals.
1862 (The Simplest Game) Kick-off at the beginning: from the middle of the field, halfway between the two goals. All other players are at least 4 yd away from the ball until it has been kicked.
1862 (Sheffield FC / FA) & 1863 (FA) Toss. Toss decides which team has the kick-off from the centre of the field (Sheffield FA until 1878, FA until 1873). At every goal or a goalless half the ends are changed. Also the restart starts with the kick-off from the centre of the field; the kick-off after a goal from the team who had suffered a goal, after half time from the team who has won the toss and the beginning of the match. Before the ball is not in play, the opposing players were only allowed to approach it up to 10 yd (marked by the middle circle).
1863 (Cambridge University) Toss. Toss decides which team has the kick-off from the centre of the field. At half time the game sides are changed.
1873 (FA) Toss. Toss decides which team can choose between kick-off or choices of ends. If they choose the end, the opponent has to kick-off (Queen’s Park). Restart: Kick-off by the same team as at the beginning.
1874 (FA) Kick-off at the beginning: No player is allowed to stand in the opposing field until the kick-off is done (Harrow Chequers).
1875 (Sheffield FA & FA) Change of sides: Only at half time the game sides are changed. (FA: Woodford Walls)
1883 (FA) Kick-off at the beginning: may only be kicked in direction of the opposing goal (Wanderers FC, Upton Park FC).
1888 (IFAB) Dropped ball: Introduction of the dropped ball: If the referee stops the game even though the ball has not crossed the goal line or touch line and there is no offence, the game is restarted with a dropped ball. Procedure: throwing the ball up at the place “where play was suspended”. The ball is in play when it touches the field of play.
1902 (IFAB) Dropped ball: Addition: If the ball went out before a player has touched it, the dropped ball is repeated.
1903 (FA) Dropped ball: In case of infringement, the game is restarted with an (indirect) free-kick.
1905 (IFAB) Kick-off at the beginning: The law is supplemented so that the provisions for free kicks also apply to the kick-off (FA).

Dropped ball: Change: The ball will not throw up, but throw down.

1914 (IFAB) Dropped ball: Specification: The ball is only dropped downwards, not thrown downwards. “throw down” -> “drop down”. (FA)
1924 (IFAB) It is supplemented in the law text to the dropped ball that with offence the opponent a free kick awarded. For this reason, this passage is deleted from the other passage (SFA).
1938 (IFAB) Toss: Supplementary [although already before usual]: A coin is used for the toss.

Dropped ball: Specification: The ball is dropped at the place where the ball was when the game was interrupted. Moreover: If this section of the Laws is not complied with the Referee shall again drop the ball.

Sanctions: Repeated ball contact: IDFK. Otherwise: restart of the kick-off.

1978 (IFAB) Sanctions: It is added that – when a player commits an infringement in his opponent’s goal area – the free-kick shall be taken from a point anywhere within that half of the goal area nearest to where the offence occurred (FA).
1984 (IFAB) Dropped ball: It is added that – when infringement occur was stopped and the ball was in the goal area – it is dropped on that part of the goal area line which runs parallel to the goal-line, at the point nearest to where the ball was when play (SFA).
1987 (IFAB) Sanctions: Supplement that when taking a free kick after an infringement, the general conditions for free kicks from Law 13 apply.
1997 (IFAB) Kick-off at the beginning: The fact that the free kick provisions apply to the kick-off has been deleted, but now explained in the text: The ball must rest, the kick-off is only executed after the referee has signalled, the ball is in play when it is kicked and moves forward and the player executing the kick-off must not touch the ball a second time. It has been added that a goal can be scored directly by a kick-off.

Dropped ball: Reintroduction of the provision for offences against the provisions of the dropped ball, but only those that occur before the ball touches the ground. In this case the dropped kick is repeated.

Toss: Change: The winners of the toss have only the choice of goals.

2012 (IFAB) Dropped ball: The provisions on touching the dropped ball before it reaches the ground will be deleted. The provisions on what happens when the dropped ball enters a goal without touching it are supplemented.
2019 (IFAB) Dropped ball: Change of the procedure: The ball is dropped for the defending team goalkeeper in their penalty area if, when play was stopped, the ball was in the penalty area or the last touch of the ball was in the penalty area. In all other cases, the referee drops the ball for one player of the team that last touched the ball at the position where it last touched a player, an outside agent or, as outlined in Law 9.1, a match official. All other players (of both teams) must remain at least 4 m (4.5 yds) from the ball until it is in play.

Kick-off after goals: The winners of the toss shall have the option of kick-off or choice of goals (as before 1997).

Kick-off at the beginning: The winners of the toss shall have the option of kick-off or choice of goals (as before 1997).

Toss: The winners of the toss shall have the option of kick-off or choice of goals (as before 1997).