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Encyclopedia > Football (soccer) field

A football field (or pitch) is the playing surface for a game of association football (soccer). Its dimensions and markings are defined by the Law 1 of the Laws of the Game. Football is a ball game played between two teams of eleven players, each attempting to win by scoring more goals than their opponent. ... The Laws of the Game (LOTG for short, also known as the Laws of Football) are the rules governing the play of Association football (soccer). ...

Standard pitch measurements (Large version) (Metric version)
Standard pitch measurements ( Large version) ( Metric version)

All line markings on the pitch form part of the area which they define. For example, a ball on or over the touchline is still on the field of play; a ball on the line of the goal area is in the goal area; and a foul committed over the 18-yard line has occurred in the penalty area. Therefore a ball must wholly cross the touchline to be out of play, and a ball must wholly cross the goal line (between the goal posts) before a goal is scored; if any part of the ball is still on or over the line, the ball is still in play. Labelled diagram of a Football (soccer) pitch. ... Download high resolution version (1280x785, 28 KB)Labelled diagram of a Football (soccer) pitch. ... Download high resolution version (1301x769, 27 KB)Labelled diagram of a Football (soccer) pitch. ...

The field descriptions that apply to adult matches are described below. Note that due to the original formulation of the Laws in England and the early supremacy of the four British football associations within IFAB, the standard dimensions of a football pitch were originally expressed in imperial units. The Laws now express dimensions with approximate metric equivalents (followed by traditional units in brackets), however popular use tends to continue to use traditional units. The Imperial units are an irregularly standardized system of units that have been used in the United Kingdom and its former colonies, including the Commonwealth countries. ... The International System of Units (abbreviated SI from the French phrase, Système International dUnités) is the most widely used system of units. ...


Pitch dimensions and markings

The length of pitch for international matches should be in the range 110-120 yards (100-110m) and the width should be in the range 70-80 yards (64-75m). For other matches the constraints are looser: 100-130 yards (90-120m) length by 50-100 yards (45-90m) width. The pitch must be rectangular, this is longer than it is wide.

The longer boundary lines are touch lines, while the shorter boundaries (on which the goals are placed) are goal lines.

The halfway line divides the pitch in half lengthways. Halfway across the halfway line is the centre spot, from which kick-offs are taken at the start of each playing period and after a goal is scored. The centre circle (radius 10 yards; 9.15m) surrounds this spot, and serves to indicate the distance opposing players must stay from the ball at a kick-off.

In each corner of the pitch is a corner arc (quarter-circle radius 1 yard; 1m) which marks the area from which a corner-kick may be taken. Corner flags (minimum height 5 feet; 1.5m) are required to be placed at each corner; similar flagposts may be optionally placed 1 yard (1m) from each end of the halfway line.

A goal area, penalty area, penalty spot and penalty arc are marked in front of each goal; these are discussed below.


Goals are placed at the centre of each goal-line. These consist of two upright posts placed equidistant from the corner flagposts, joined at the top by a horizontal crossbar. The inner edges of the posts must be 8 yards (7.32m) apart, and the lower edge of the crossbar must be 8 feet (2.44m) above the ground. Nets are usually placed behind the goal, though are not required by the Laws.

Penalty and goal areas

See also: Penalty area (provides expanded information on the role of the penalty area) In Association Football (soccer), the penalty area (also known as the 18-yard box or penalty box), extends 18 yards (16. ...

Two rectangular boxes are marked out on the pitch in front of each goal.

The goal area (colloquially "6 yard box"), consists of a the area formed by the goal-line, two lines starting on the goal-line 6 yards (5.5m) from the goalposts and extending 6 yards into the pitch from the goal-line, and a line joining these. Goal kicks and any free kick by the defending team may be taken from anywhere in this area. Indirect free kicks awarded to the attacking team within the goal area must be taken from the point on the line parallel to the goal line nearest where an incident occurred; they can not be taken further within the goal-area. Similarly [[dropped-ball|drop-balls] than would otherwise occur in the goal area and taken on this line.

The penalty area (colloquially "18 yard box") is similarly formed by the goal-line and lines extending from it, however its lines commence 18 yards (16.5m) from the goalposts and extend 18 yards into the field. This area has a number of functions, the most prominent being denoting where the goalkeeper may handle the ball and where a foul by an attacker usually punished by a direct free kick becomes punishable by a penalty kick. Players taking up positions prior to a penalty kick; note that the goalkeeper is not yet in the required position In association football (soccer), a penalty kick is a free kick from twelve yards (eleven metres) out with only the goalkeeper of the defending team between the penalty taker and...

The penalty mark (or "penalty spot") is immediately in the middle of, and 12 yards (11m) in front of, the goal; this is where penalty kicks are taken from. The penalty arc (colloquially "the D") is marked from the outside edge of the penalty area, 10 yards (9.15 m) from the penalty mark; this marks an exclusion zone for all players other than the kicker and the opposing goalkeeper during a penalty kick.

Associated areas

Aside from the field of play, the Laws and by-laws can be used to regulate related areas off the field. The most prominent of these is the technical area, which defines the bench areas and nearby areas to which coaching and managing staff are generally restricted. Note that the referee's authority extends not only to the field of play, but also its immediate surrounds, including the technical area.

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