What Are Soccer Fouls?


One of the most common things in football or soccer is fouls. You will definitely hear a referee blow his whistle to penalise a player for a foul. When this happens, fans and viewers are always engaged in arguments about if it was really a foul or not. This issue gets more complicated because FIFA edits and restructure the fouls and penalties of the game every year.

This article will explain what exactly fouls in a soccer game are.

There are direct and indirect fouls, based on the offender’s intent and action. The difference between this two is that direct fouls are awarded direct free kicks, which can be scored directly, while indirect fouls attracted indirect free kicks which can only be scored by an extra touch of another teammate after it has been played.

Penalty kicks are given as penalty for committing a direct foul in the penalty box.

Kicking an opponent intentionally – This is a direct foul. If you kick your opponent without hitting the ball, you have committed a foul. This could attract a yellow card if you do it with excessive force, or carelessly in an ‘unsporting’ manner. Sometimes, a slide tackle from behind that hits the opponent is considered a direct foul.

Tripping an opponent intentionally – This depends on the referee’s judgment. He would have to decide if it was intentional and with excessive force or not.


Striking an opponent in any way is a foul – Most times, it is awarded a card. It is not honorable to strike your opponent during play, except it is unintentional.

Pushing an opponent is a foul – This is directly to disrupt the play. The only legal way to stop your opponent from scoring or to win the ball is to tackle. This could be a greater foul if committed against the goal keeper.

Jumping at an opponent is also a foul – Similar to pushing, jumping at an opponent in a way that hurts or recklessly hits the opponent is a foul. It is mostly committed when there’s a header contest.

Holding or pulling an opponent – Holding an opponent’s jersey or pulling an opponent is a direct foul and could attract a yellow card.

Hitting the opponent’s leg in a tackle before hitting the ball – It may be with an intention to hit the ball, but if it doesn’t, it is a foul. Sometimes if you hit the ball and the opponent in a careless manner, it will still be penalized.

Spitting on or at your opponent – This is outrightly disgusting and disrespectful. It doesn’t have to hit or land on your opponent. As long as you spit towards an opponent, you will be penalized and sent off the pitch with a red card

Stopping the ball with your hand – This is a direct foul. The only exception is if the ball hits your hand when it is beside you and not moving or when you use it to protect an injury. This is called an handball and it is an indirect foul.

There are other soccer fouls, but these are the major ones that are hardly changed every time a review is made.