Volleyball Centerline Violation

Volleyball Centerline Violation

In volleyball, it is occasionally permitted for players to penetrate the space under the net on the opponent’s side of the court, so long as this does not interfere with the opposing team’s ability to play. Under the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) rules, any crossing of the centerline that interferes with play is considered a centerline violation and can be penalized. 


According to Rule 11 of the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball Rules, players who stand in the front zones of the volleyball court, closest to the net, are permitted to touch the ball or pass their hands beyond the net onto the opponents’ side in certain special circumstances. This privilege is dependent on them not doing so before or during the opponent’s attack hit or moving fully outside their own playing space. Forms of violations that occur in crossing into the opponents’ space are called centerline violations, as they involve crossing the central line of the volleyball court, which lies directly under the net and extends the full width of the space, even out of bounds.

One type of centerline violation that can frequently occur in volleyball is crossing the centerline with the feet. While players are permitted to cross the centerline with their hands, so long as they do not interfere with play, Rule 11 states clearly that the full foot of a player cannot cross the centerline in any way. Partial crossing of the centerline with one’s feet is permitted, but some part of the foot must remain on or behind the centerline. If a player’s foot fully crosses the centerline, they will be guilty of a centerline violation. The only instance in which crossing one’s feet fully over the centerline is permitted in volleyball is when the ball has gone out of play. In this instance, players are permitted to cross the centerline but must return to their sides of the court when play resumes.


The penalty for a centerline violation in volleyball is a side-out. A side-out refers to the two-fold penalty of losing the rally point and the right to serve the ball. If a player commits a centerline violation by placing their foot over the centerline or by passing their hands beyond the net and deliberately interfering with the opponents’ play, their team will lose a point and be forced to give up the serve to the opposing team. 

Referee Signal

Volleyball Centerline Violation Referee Signal

In volleyball, the signal for a centerline violation or any illegal penetration into the opponent’s court is performed by both the first and second refereesThe signal involves pointing to the centerline to indicate that a player has illegally crossed the boundary into their opponents’ court.


  • Team A is attacking the ball, and one of their players moves to hit the ball over the net. During the hit, Player 1 of Team B jumps up to block but passes their hands beyond the net to stop the attack. Since their hands passed over the centerline during an attack hit by the opponents, Player 1 receives a centerline violation, and Team B loses a point and the right to serve.
  • During a rally, Player 2 of Team A runs to the net in anticipation of Team B attacking the ball, but as they reach the net, they mistakenly place one foot too far forward, and their entire foot comes down beyond the centerline. Player 2 receives a centerline violation for crossing one foot fully beyond the centerline, and Team A loses a point and the right to serve.
  • As Team A is rallying the ball over the net, Player 3 of Team B approaches the net in preparation to block but stops short of the net. The toes of Player 3’s feet cross the centerline, but their heels remain behind it in their player space. Therefore, Player 3 is not guilty of a centerline violation, and play continues normally.  

Similar Violations to Centerline Violation

  • Contact With the Net Fault
  • Blocking Fault
  • Attack Hit Fault


What is a centerline violation in volleyball?

In volleyball, a centerline violation occurs whenever a player illegally crosses their hands or feet over the centerline. Crossing one’s hands over the centerline is legal in most cases, except when it occurs before or during an opponent’s attack hit or when it interferes with the opposing team’s play. Crossing part of the foot or feet over the centerline is acceptable so long as part of the foot remains on the player’s side, but fully crossing one or both feet over the centerline is an automatic centerline violation.

What are the consequences of being called for a centerline violation in volleyball?

In volleyball, the penalty for a centerline violation is a side-out. A side-out involves the team who committed the foul losing a point and the right to serve. Whenever a player crosses the centerline illegally, the opposing team will automatically gain a point and receive the ball in order to perform a serve.

What is the centerline in volleyball?

In volleyball, the centerline is the imaginary or painted line on the court that lies directly below and parallel to the net. The centerline divides the two halves of the volleyball court, with each team standing on one side of the line. The centerline not only covers the space directly below the net, but also beyond it, traveling the entire width of the court. It is illegal for a player to fully cross the centerline with their feet while the ball is in play, as doing so will result in a centerline violation. However, when the ball is out of play, crossing the centerline is admissible until play resumes.