Soccer Back-Pass Violation

Soccer Back Pass Violation

A back-pass violation in soccer is called when a goalkeeper illegally picks up the ball following a direct pass from their teammate. However, a teammate can legally pass the ball back to their keeper with their head or chest. The violation results in an indirect free kick in the penalty box.


Definition

A back-pass violation in soccer occurs when a goalkeeper touches the ball (in the penalty box) with their arms or hands after intentionally receiving it from a teammate's feet. This also includes handling the ball from a throw-in.

This violation is not called if a goalie accidentally touches the ball from a deflection or with their feet. Additionally, a teammate can freely pass the ball back with their head or any other (legal) body part besides their feet, such as their chest. Players are not allowed to circumvent the penalty by flicking the ball with their feet and heading it or using their head and chest in otherwise unnatural situations.

Upon violation, the referee will blow their whistle to stop the game and signal for an indirect free kick. The ball will be placed wherever the infringement was made in the penalty box, and the opposition will have an opportunity to score. However, the defending team can line up in and around the penalty box and goal for protection.

This violation seldom occurs in professional soccer; it is more commonplace in amateur leagues due to lack of discipline.

This rule was established in 1992 to prevent time-wasting and has since been one of the most embraced rule changes in the sport.

Result

When a back-pass violation occurs, the referee will stop play and signal for an indirect free kick. The goalkeeper will not be given a yellow or red card.

The ball will be placed wherever the violation was made in the penalty box, and the opposition will have an opportunity to set up a scoring opportunity. Being an indirect free kick, a teammate must touch the ball before it can be shot on goal. The defending team can also line up in and around the penalty box and goal for protection.

The consequences of this penalty are the same across all levels of soccer, professional and amateur.

Referee Signal

Soccer Back Pass Violation Referee Signal

When a back-pass violation is called, the referee will blow their whistle and point their hand upwards. This signals a resulting indirect free kick. The referee will then indicate where the ball should be placed in the penalty box. The referee's arm will remain raised until the ball is kicked and play resumes.

Examples

  • A defender passes the ball with their feet back to their goalie, who touches it with their hands.
  • A goalie picks up the ball from a throw-in.
  • A player juggles the ball and heads it to their goalie, who picks it up.
  • A player gets on the ground and heads a rolling ball back to their goalie, who picks it up.

Similar Violations to a Back-Pass

FAQ

What is the back-pass rule in soccer?

The back-pass rule in soccer dictates that goalkeepers can not pick up a ball after it has been intentionally passed to them from a teammate's feet or from a throw-in. However, the violation is not called if a goalie accidentally touches the ball from a deflection. Furthermore, a teammate can pass the ball back with their head or any other legal body part besides their feet as they please, like their chest. Upon violation of this rule, referees will signal for an indirect free kick.

What are the consequences of being called for a back-pass violation in soccer?

The referee will halt play and call for an indirect free kick when a back-pass violation has occurred. The ball will be placed wherever the violation occurred inside the penalty box, and the opposition will have a chance to score. Goalies are not given yellow or red cards for this violation.

Can you head the ball back to your goalkeeper?

Heading the ball back to your goalkeeper is not a violation of the back-pass rule. Additionally, a player can use their chest or any other legal body part besides their feet. However, the passes must be intentional, and players can not circumvent the penalty by flicking the ball with their feet and heading it or using their head and chest in otherwise unnatural situations.