A jubilation rule that doesn’t even exist
José Fonte could already feel a little sorry: Cristiano Ronaldo had just met Spain 3-3 and all the other players rushed against him, forming an impressive crowd of cheers in front of the fans – only José Fonte not. A player had meant to him with a strict gesture, but please stand inside the playing field. And there José Fonte stood a little helpless and clenched his fists alone.
What was that all about? And why did England’s goal celebrations against Tunisia and Australia’s against France follow exactly the same pattern – nine field players celebrating right in front of the fan bloc, and a tenth player who won’t go along and is meticulous about staying in the opponent’s half?
What was learned again soon became clear on Twitter: according to FIFA regulations, a team is entitled to kick off the match as soon as there are no more opponent players in their half. A highly professional cheering of the Portuguese, English, Australian? The hell you do.
Prevent a quick kick-off? The rules are clear
The International Football Association Board (IFAB), which is responsible for the rules, informed the kicker on request that the rules of football are “clear”; there is no kind of secret additional agreement. Rule 8 (“Start and continuation of the game”) clearly states under the heading “Kick-off”: “All players, except the player who kicks off, are in their own half of the field”. That’s why the referee can’t even let the kick-off take place while players outside the court are still cheering – and wouldn’t do so for reasons of fairness, an IFAB spokesman explained.
The strange cheering at the World Cup must therefore be “pure coincidence”, the interpretation of many fans “invented”. So did Portugal & Co. make a mistake, a rule that doesn’t even exist? José Fonte wouldn’t mind, next time he wants to be there again.