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Soccer Biting and Spitting- Definition, Result and Examples

Soccer Biting and Spitting

Fouls are common in all sports and soccer is no different. However, spitting at and biting an opponent has no place on the pitch. Yet offenses of this nature still take place, such as Luis Suarez’s famous incident in 2014. If a player does spit or bite, the opposing team is awarded a free indirect kick.


In most recognized soccer leagues, any form of biting or spitting constitutes a foul. According to the International Football Association Board (IFAB), the official rulebook classifies biting and spitting as a misconduct foul according to Law 12. If a referee observes a player performing this act on the field of play, he will blow his whistle and stop play. The call is ultimately up to the judgment of the referee on the field and may lead to yellow and red cards being issued to the offending player.


If a biting and spitting foul is called, a direct free kick is awarded to the other team at the spot of the foul. According to IFAB rules, the offense of biting or spitting at an opponent is also worth a yellow card and possibly a red card, depending on the severity of the offense. In FIFA regulations, the rules are slightly more strict and call for an immediate red card. A penalty kick is awarded to the opposing team if the penalty occurs within the penalty box or off the field.


  • A player interferes with an opponent by using their mouth to injure or impact the opposing player during play.
  • A player decides to spit in the direction or directly on an opposing player during play or while taking a shot on goal.
  • During a corner kick, a player bites an opponent intentionally to give themselves better positioning or possibly stop a scoring opportunity.

Similar Offenses to Biting and Spitting

  • Unsportsmanship Behavior
  • Playing in a Dangerous Manner
  • Using Excessive Force