Die Spielregeln, English, 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.

🇩🇪 Hallo! Diesen Artikel gibt es auch auf Deutsch. Wechsele hier zur deutschsprachigen Version.

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.



The Rouge is, or was, part of the rules at Eton College (Eton Field Game) and Cheltenham College as well as Sheffield FC and Sheffield FA. I wrote a longer article about the rouge, which you can read here: The Rouge in Football.


Away goals

The modern variant for determining the winner includes the away goals rule, which has been in force in UEFA competitions from 1965 until 2021: The goals scored in away games count for „more“ than scored at home. Only if two exactly the same results were scored the game it was 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.

In Germany, championship matches were decided by sudden death – at least between 1920 and 1936, but probably until the 1940s or 1950s.


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).


Kicks from the corner

Before 1937, in Austria and Ireland, the corner kick decided a drawn game.[1]Cf. Koppehel, Carl: Meinung zu Tagesfragen. Fußballregeln endgültig gestaltet? Einstoß statt Einwurf? Was es noch gab – Ein englischer Aufruf. In: Deutsche Schiedsrichter-Zeitung 16/1937 … Continue reading



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.


1 Cf. Koppehel, Carl: Meinung zu Tagesfragen. Fußballregeln endgültig gestaltet? Einstoß statt Einwurf? Was es noch gab – Ein englischer Aufruf. In: Deutsche Schiedsrichter-Zeitung 16/1937 (16.08.1937). S. 176-177, hier S. 177.

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