What are Indirect Free Kicks in Football?

indirect free kick

Football, also known to many as soccer, is a sport that has gained immense popularity all throughout the world. Fans love watching football and even picking up the sport as a hobby. Many dream of going professional in the world of football. However, in order to go pro in this sport, it is necessary that you follow the rules and keep yourself updated. 

Just like any other sport out there, football also has its own set of rules and regulations that every player must adhere to. This ensures that the game is fair for everyone and maintains a standard in every match. It also makes it more enjoyable for the audience as well. One such rule is indirect free kicks. This is actually a form of penalty and happens to be one of the many terms that most people have a hard time understanding. Today we will talk more in-depth about indirect free kicks in football so that this essential form of penalty becomes clear to you!

What Exactly are Indirect Free Kicks?

Indirect free kicks are essentially used for restarting a game after the occurrence of an interruption. However, this cannot be any form of interruption. Indirect free kicks are only awarded to a team when a foul has been committed by their opponent team. 

The referee will call the foul out and the game will be paused. After the decision of an indirect free kick is given, the game then restarts as soon as the ball is kicked by the awarded team. 

It is also important to remember that unlike other forms of penalties and direct free kicks that allow you to score a direct goal, it is not legal to do so with an indirect free kick. The meaning behind “indirect” is basically that when the free kick is taken, the ball has to go and touch another player first before a goal can be scored. Scoring a direct goal from an indirect free kick is illegal and will result in a foul. This is something very important to keep in mind if you do not want to end up doing an illegal indirect free kick.

Difference Between Direct Free Kick and Indirect Free Kick

This is what the majority of people usually mix up and then become confused. We hope that this will clear out all of your confusion once and for all. 

Direct free kicks are generally awarded when fouls in the D-box, such as penalties, take place. When a team is awarded a direct free kick, it means that if the player is able to, they can take a direct shot at the goal if they want. With direct free kicks, a team can score a goal directly without the ball having to touch another player first. 

Indirect free kicks are given when there is a foul such as a handball or an illegal tackle. A player taking an indirect free kick cannot go for a direct shot into the goal. They can create a buildup by passing to another player and then leading to a goal but cannot score one directly. 

This is also a reason why indirect free kicks tend to be taken by wingers and midfielders since they can do a better job at sending the ball to the strikers in order to create an opening for attack. Direct free kicks are usually taken by the striker or the player with the best accuracy in a team. 

Fouls that can Lead to Indirect Free Kicks

As we already mentioned earlier, indirect free kicks are not awarded for all types of fouls. The general rule for indirect free kicks to be awarded is from fouls that are not physical. Some of these fouls are when a player handles the ball with their hands, when the progress of an opponent is impeded, or when a player is playing too aggressively or dangerously. 

If you want to understand indirect free kicks properly then it is important to familiarize yourself with all these different types of fouls. This will also be helpful since you will have a better understanding of how these fouls and an indirect free kick can affect the flow in which the game is progressing. 

Important Rules to Remember about Indirect Free Kicks

When an indirect free kick is awarded, the team that received the free kick is allowed to prepare for the kick by reorganizing and even forming a quick strategy. The kick is taken by placing the ball exactly at the position where the foul had been committed. Any player waiting on the ball should be 9.15 meters away from the ball at the very least. When the kick is taken the balls needs to remain in a stationary position. It is crucial to remember that the player taking the free kick is not allowed to touch the ball after kicking it until it has touched another player first.

Why is it Important to Adhere to the Rules?

If any of the aforementioned rules are not adhered to, then it will be considered a foul and another indirect free kick will be offered, this time to the opposing team. The kick will again be taken from the same spot where the foul has occurred. 

If any player from the opposing team is within the range of 9.15 meters from the ball when the shot is being taken, they will immediately be shown a yellow card. The opposing team will also be awarded a goal kick if the indirect free kick sends the ball directly inside the goal without touching another player first. 

If the ball is sent directly inside the goalpost of the team taking the free kick without having touched another player first, then the opposing team will be awarded a corner kick. 


Football is a sport that can become very strategic. This is because the flow of the game can change at any moment depending on the strategy of the teams. Indirect free kicks surely contribute to this as well and this is also the reason why they need to be given proper thought. A good indirect free kick can help to assist a goal or even create opportunities for a solid attack buildup. We hope this was helpful in clearing out any confusion you may have had regarding indirect free kicks in football!