In football, the center circle is the 10-yard radius circle around the center spot of the pitch. It is marked at 9.15 meters or approximately 10 yards, per the Laws of the Game, law 1, which is the field of play rules. It is an indicator to the opposing players the required distance they should keep during the kick-off.
How Centre Circle Works
The center circle is part of the essential markings drawn at the football pitch. These markings serve as a guideline to all players, particularly during kick-off and penalty shootouts. There are certain rules to follow regarding this mark.
• Beginning of the game
Whenever a match begins, the ball is placed at the center of the pitch. The referee makes sure the ball stays stationary. Before the game starts, all players are to stay outside the circle. It ensures the match begins in a fair play. In the center circle, only the player who takes the kick-off is permitted. The opponents of the player taking the kick-off can only move towards the center once the ball is in play. Otherwise, they need to stay at least 10 yards away from the ball.
The referee will be on to give the signal. Once the player taking the kick-off hears it, the ball is in play, and the opposing team can try gaining possession of the ball.
One football match is divided into two playing times, the first half and the second half. Just like the beginning of the game, when the referee signals at the break in between plays are over, the players will go back to the kick-off position. The referee places the ball at the center circle.
When the player taking the kick-off hits the ball before it strikes another player, an indirect free-kick is awarded to the player’s opponent team taking the kick-off. If it is a handball offense, where a player deliberately touches the ball during active play, a direct free-kick is awarded.
When a team makes the goal, it signals the start of a new kick-off process. It has the same procedure as the beginning of the match.