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19th Jun 2018

Fifa rules debunk theory about Kieran Trippier not joining celebrations for Kane’s winner

Forget what you may have heard

Simon Lloyd

England are off to a winning start in Russia. Just.

Despite taking an early lead against Tunisia through Harry Kane, Gareth Southgate’s men wasted several decent chances to add to it, eventually conceding an equaliser from a controversially awarded penalty before half-time.

Tunisia dug in during the second half as they attempted to hold on for a point, only for Kane to pop up at the back post to score England’s winner in stoppage time.

Understandably, the goal came as something of a relief to England’s players, most joining Kane’s celebrations at the side of the Volgograd pitch.

Most, but not all...

Some eagle-eyed viewers noticed that Kane’s Tottenham teammate Kieran Trippier didn’t join the rest of England’s outfield players in their celebrations. Instead, he remained on the opposite side of the pitch, staying within the lines of the field of play.

According to some on Twitter, there was good reason for it. They claimed Fifa rules state that should all outfield players leave the field of play to celebrate a goal, the opposition are allowed to kick off. As a result, Trippier’s presence on the field of play seemingly prevented Tunisia from having a run on Jordan Pickford’s goal. However, despite this theory being widely shared on social media, it appears not to be the case at all.

Law 8 in Fifa’s Laws of the Game document looks at kick-offs, defining them as both a way of starting and restarting play.

‘A kick-off starts both halves of a match, both halves of extra time and restarts play after a goal has been scored.’

Extending on this, the document explains that all players must be in their own half of the pitch for the kick-off – be it to start or restart the game – to take place. The only exception would be the player taking the kick-off. This would mean Trippier’s decision to remain on the pitch during the celebrations was irrelevant.

For every kick-off:

• all players, except the player taking the kick-off, must be in their own half of the field of play

• the opponents of the team taking the kick-off must be at least 9.15 m (10 yds) from the ball until it is in play

• the ball must be stationary on the centre mark

• the referee gives a signal

• the ball is in play when it is kicked and clearly moves

• a goal may be scored directly against the opponents from the kick-off; if the ball directly enters the kicker’s goal, a corner kick is awarded to the opponents

This is not the first time in recent days that the theory has done the rounds. Video footage showing Portugal’s Jose Fonte staying on the pitch following Cristiano Ronaldo’s free-kick against Spain also saw claims that this was to prevent Fernando Hierro’s side from restarting the game and having a run on goal.

Admittedly, the two cases do raise questions as to whether the laws have been interpreted differently by some of the teams at the tournament.