The two touch rule in soccer applies when a player is putting the ball back into play from a dead ball situation. This is basically any time that the ball is completely stationary. Direct and indirect free kicks, goal kicks, kickoffs, penalty kicks, and even throw-ins are subject to the two touch rule. The two touch rule is commonly understood to mean that if a player is restarting play, they must not touch the ball more than once. Another player must touch the ball next after it is put into play.
The two touch rule prevents a player from dribbling the ball from a restart, making them use teammates or opponents to continue to play the ball.
The most common application of the two touch rule occurs when a player inadvertently hits the ball with their plant foot before striking it with their swinging foot. This infamously happened to Joe Hart of Manchester City in 2014.
While no concrete "two touch rule" actually exists in the official IFAB Laws of the Game, it is mentioned in Laws 8 (The Start and Restart of Play), 13 (Free Kicks), 14 (The Penalty Kick), 15 (The Throw-In), 16 (The Goal Kick), and 17 (The Corner Kick). A violation of the two touch rule always results in an indirect free kick for the opponent.
Here are the consequences of an improper restart via the two touch rule for each type of restart:
|TYPE OF RESTART||CONSEQUENCE|
|Kickoff||Indirect free kick for the opponent.|
|Free Kick (Direct or Indirect)||Indirect free kick for the opponent.|
|Penalty Kick||Indirect free kick for the opponent.|
|Throw-In||Indirect free kick for the opponent.|
|Goal Kick||Indirect free kick for the opponent.|