Back-pass Rule

In football, the back-ass rule was introduced in 1992 into the Laws of the Game. The objective of the rule is to speed up the play. The rule prohibits the goalkeeper from handling the ball, which was passed to them by their team-mate.

Understanding the Back-Pass Rule

Before 1992, players can pass the ball to the goalkeeper, who then picks it up to avoid possible scoring of a goal from the opposing team. It is considered time-wasting and turns the game boring. Hence, the law was revised. Under the revised law, goalkeepers are permitted to pick up the ball if it is inside their penalty area. If a teammate purposely passes the ball to the goalkeeper, they are not allowed to pick-up the ball. Instead, they should play the ball with their feet.

Why the Back-Pass Rule was Implemented

The back-pass rule was implemented after the 1990 world cup. During this competition, the tournament gained a reputation for being slow and sluggish. Instead of actively playing the ball, defenders keep on passing the ball to the goalkeepers. They intended that they retain possession of the ball. As a result, the International Football Association Board (IFAB), made some amendments to the Laws of the Game.

The implication of Doing a Back-Pass

Illegal back-passes is when a player intends to do a back-pass. If a back-pass occurs, an indirect free-kick is given. The indirect free-kick will take place where the handling occurred. The indirect free-kick can also take place six-yards from the point of the penalty box if the violation took place within the area.

Current Back-Pass Rule

The IFAB’s amendments to the Game Laws on back-pass are what prevent the goalkeepers from picking up the ball. However, they can still pick-up the ball provided that it is within their area, and the pass sent their way was through their teammate’s head, chest, or knee. If the pass made by the teammate is through its feet, goalkeepers should not pick-up the ball. That is going against the back-pass rule.

Football is a competitive sport. With the number of revisions of the Laws of the Game, players attempt to go way around the rule. However, since it is deemed illegal, players need to follow the rules or face the consequences of an indirect free-kick.

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