Google can come in handy when trying to source a rule mentioned in your answer.

Unfortunately, Google isn't perfect, and some people don't bother to check whether they're using the latest version.


The old FIFA slideshows (this one is from 2004) uses easy-to-read bullet points, but the information is about 10 years old and lacks specifics.

FIFA also used a massive booklet (until 2015/2016) which documented every single point FIFA wanted to cover. Searching for specifics was a painful chore, but you got the right information.

As of June 1, 2016, new IFAB Laws of the Game have been released. It's now arranged in a neat, modern website which allows you to access the specific law you're looking for within a few clicks.
Need a diagram? Download the PDF of the law.
Not sure what you're looking for? There's a search bar now.


As of the 2015 version of MLB's Official Rules, many rule numbers have been revised from previously published versions.

The latest version of MLB's Official Rules can be found here.


The IAAF's competition rules govern athletics ("track and field" in the USA, "light athletics" in some other languages) from 1 November 2015 through 2017. Notably, many protests, disqualifications, etc. in major competitions will not detail the infraction but only cite the rule number applied, e.g. "DQ Rule 163.3(a)" would indicate that an athlete was disqualified for stepping out of their lane during the race, and "DQ Rule 162.6" would indicate a false start.

Please use the new resource for information's sake and for your own. Thanks :)

  • 2
    I think this can apply equally to any rule book...not so much the functionality (as provided by FIFA), but any rule book in general.
    – user527
    Jul 7, 2016 at 11:40
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    @ᴍᴀsᴛᴇʀᴍɪɴᴅ_ᴇᴅ Indeed. I just thought saying "please use the latest rulebooks" without specifics might be interpreted as lack of care for the sport.
    – unbindall
    Jul 7, 2016 at 14:56
  • 1
    Should I make a shoutout to other rule books in a different meta post, or is it appropriate to include that here? I ask because twice (1) (2) today I reminded users to use updated rule numbers wrt the updated MLB rule book since a number of rule numbers had been revised.
    – user527
    Jul 13, 2016 at 3:13
  • @ᴍᴀsᴛᴇʀᴍɪɴᴅ_ᴇᴅ Feel free to add on. Might as well make this a well-updated community wiki / faq of the latest rulebooks of (almost) every sport.
    – unbindall
    Jul 13, 2016 at 15:21
  • Done. We should update when necessary (FIFA and MLB are necessary due to the drastic changes made in each rule book compared to previous versions...rules do go years with little to no alteration). Also, I added this to our meta post for new users...feel free to add onto that.
    – user527
    Jul 13, 2016 at 15:42

1 Answer 1


Edit: tl;dr - Please link to the IFAB Laws website - a living document that is updated - rather than to a PDF for association football rules-related questions.

Definitely do not link to old PDFs (particularly, the notorious FIFA Laws slides from ~2005), as this information is outdated and may be very wrong.

This is nitpicking but they're not named Rules, but rather Laws (even though they are the rules of the sport). The document is called Laws of the Game, or to avoid confusion with other sports, Laws of the Game of Association Football.

Furthermore, they're no longer the FIFA Laws of the Game, as FIFA no longer has responsibility for publishing them. Publication and dissemination is now managed completely by IFAB. IFAB have always been responsible for the text of the Laws, but previously delegated publication and dissemination of the Laws and creation of the interpretations/guidelines section to FIFA.

The reason that this public service announcement is necessary is that it is particularly pertinent to use up-to-date Laws as a reference over the next year or so. Embodied in this year's Laws, IFAB has included a list of all of the changes. This is unprecedented, as changes are usually relatively small and can be explained in a separate circular. The document containing all of the changes is available on its own here (PDF), and it is 48 pages long.

Most of these changes are simply rewordings. Some are clarifications of what was already known (eg. players sent-off after kick-off cannot be replaced). Some have made what was previously guidance binding (eg. a game must be abandoned if there are less than seven players on the field). Some have reduced the scope for competition rules (eg. competitions may no longer insist that the order of kickers is provided to the referee at kicks from the penalty mark).

However, there are a number of key changes that will drastically change the answer to questions. Some big changes are:

  • When a player is to sent-off for denying an obvious goalscoring opportunity has changed dramatically.
  • The restart location for offside offences has changed.
  • The procedures for equating number for kicks from the penalty mark has changed.
  • Offences in which a substitute, team official, substituted player or sent-off player enters the field are handled differently.
  • Kick-offs may move in any direction.
  • Offences against match officials are handled differently.
  • Offences outside the field of play are handlded differently.

To reiterate, I have never seen such a huge number of changes to the rules of a sport made in one year. Given the ubiquity of association football, this will have wide-reaching effects. It is therefore important that any new answers on his site give out the correct information, and send people to references that are up-to-date (to avoid the case where they read on and encounter obsolete information).

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