Die Spielregeln, Regelgeschichte

Rules for determining the winner

This article explains the different ways to decide a undecided game: Toss, touchdown, rouge, away goals, golden goal, silver goal and, of course, the kicks from the penalty mark.


The toss

The toss was for a long time the common method to determine a winner when a deciding game ended in a draw. It was listed in numerous rules of public schools, from the beginning in the FA Rules (exception: 1866/67), in the Sheffield FA Rules from 1871 and in the Laws of the Game of The IFAB from 1886 to 1970. Since 1898 the toss was only used for the latter, if the game was drawn after the extra time.


Touchdown & Rouge

Other variants in the 19th century to determine a winner in a tie were rouges and touchdowns.


The touchdown was part of the Cambridge University Rules of 1863 (not in previous editions) and the FA Rules in the season 1866/67. The FA Rules copied the touchdown from the Cambridge Rules, but revised it again after one year. In addition, there was only a very brief description of when and how a touchdown could be achieved: It could be scored when the ball goes into the goal and was scored for the team that touched the ball there first. However, the number of touchdowns per team was only significant in draws.



Very similar were the rouges, for which something more is known. They were used in the Eton Field Game from 1847 and in the Sheffield FA Rules from 1862 to 1868. But they differ slightly:

A ball was rougeable in Eton 1847 „If an attacking player is pushed on goal and the ball goes behind the goal line [and between the rouge flags sideways often he goal] and in Sheffield when the ball entered the goal between the rouge flags (25 yd each side of the goalposts) OR the attacking player kicked a defending player and the ball bounced into the goal.

In Eton each team could score a rouge behind each goal, in Sheffield only the attacking team behind the opposing goal – if the ball was rougeable.

But in Sheffield the ball was no longer rougeable, if a player of the defending team touches the ball first; in Eton it was no longer rougeable if the call „man down“ (as soon as a player was on the ball) or if a player touched the ball which was not inside the playing field during the kick. In the latter case, a player from the opposite side was allowed to touch the ball and received a rouge.

In Eton, a ball was basically not rougeable if the ball went out through a „cool kick“, i.e. if the player kicking the ball out of the field was not charged fairly during the kick.

If a rouge was achieved, the game in Sheffield was restarted by a place kick from the point of touch towards the playing field, where a player from the defending team must stand 6 ft in front of the goalposts. Also in Eton the game was restarted by a place kick, but from 1 yd from the middle of the goal, where the kicker was not allowed to be charged and the game was continued even after the time ran out until the ball was out of play or in goal.

In Sheffield, as in Eton, the number of rouges counted only if the number of goals scored was a draw. For Sheffield it is also noted in the rules that if there was a draw in the number of goals and rouges then the toss decided the winner of the match.


Away goals

The modern variant for determining the winner includes the away goals rule, which has been in force in UEFA competitions since 1965: The goals scored in away games count for „more“ than scored at home. Only if two exactly the same results were scored the game is continued by extra time.


Golden goal & silver goal

In FIFA competitions, the so-called Golden Goal was introduced from 1994 to 2002 during extra time, which was replaced by the Silver Goal in 2002 (played until 2004). In contrast to the Silver Goal, when after the first half of extra time it was checked whether one team had scored more goals, the Golden Goal, the first goal in the extra time, determined the winner.

But this „sudden death“ was not new in football. Already in 1868 this variant was used in the Cromwell Cup between Sheffield FC and Garrick FC. However, no goal was scored in the next 30 minutes. So, the game was not decided by a toss afterwards, but one continued to play until such a golden goal was scored.


Kicks from penalty mark

The variant that has decided a large number of games since 1970 that were drawn after 120 minutes are the kicks from penalty mark (until 1974: penalty spot). Since their introduction, they have only been slightly added and changed, but not much. Basically, everything described in Law XIV – Penalty Kick applies to the exercise of the penalty mark.

  • The referee chooses the goal at which all of the penalty kicks shall be taken.
  • Each team shall take five penalty kicks. The kicks shall be taken alternately.
  • The referee shall toss, and the team whose captain wins the toss shall take the first kick (1970-2003) or decides whether his team performs the first or second kick (since 2003).
  • The team which scores the greater number of goals shall be declared the winner – 1974 it was added that this is the winner of the game, not automatically the winner of a competition.
  • 1970-1974 only players who were on the field at the end of the match were eligible to take part in the penalty kicking, since 1974 substitutions may be made before the end of the match, provided the maximum number of substitutions during the match was not exceeded.
  • If, after each team has taken five kicks, each has scored the same number of goals or neither has scored, the taking of penalty kicks shall continue, in the same order, until such time as each has taken the same number of kicks and one team has scored a goal more than the other.
  • Each kick shall be taken by a different player, and not until all eligible players of any team, including the goalkeeper, have taken a kick.
  • Any player who was on the field at the end of the match may change places with his goalkeeper at any time during the taking of the penalty kicks (since 1974 this of course also applies to players legally substituted before the KFPM).
  • All players, other than the two goalkeepers and the player taking the kick, shall remain within the centre circle whilst the taking of the penalty kicks is in progress.
  • The goalkeeper who is team mate of the kicker shall take up position outside the penalty area, behind the line which runs parallel with the goal line, and at least ten yards from the penalty mark.
  • If light fails before the end of the KFPM, the result shall be decided by the toss of a coin or the drawing of lots (since 1974).
  • The referee shall ensure that there are an equal number of players on both sides (since 2003).



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The photo by Markus Unger, CC-BY 2.0 URL: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elfmeterschießen#/media/File:Penalty_kick_Lahm_Cech_Champions_League_Final_2012.jpg (last accessed: 27.10.2017) has been selected and edited as basis.