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Soccer Dangerous Play- Definition, Result, Referee Signal, Examples

Soccer Dangerous Play

Each sport utilizes its own unique set of rules to govern the game while ensuring the fairness of play and safety. Soccer is no different, with various rules in place to protect players, including types of fouls, misconduct, and other violations. A dangerous play is one of these actions classified as a foul in soccer.


A dangerous play includes any action on the field that the referee deems dangerous to oneself or another player, which can happen in various ways. It is up to the referee’s discretion to decide which plays are dangerous enough to rule a foul call. When a questionable action is committed, the referee will first consider whether it was done in a careless, reckless, or excessive manner, either intentionally or unintentionally.

When a player who has fallen to the ground attempts to kick the ball while surrounded by other players, it is often ruled a dangerous play in soccer. However, if there are no surrounding players, this action is allowed. A high kick is another unique example of something that could be called a dangerous play, depending on the distance between the other players on the field. If one player attempts to head the ball while it is high in the air, and another attempts to kick the ball at the same time, referees can call a dangerous play on the high-kicking player.

While these are some of the more noteworthy examples of dangerous play in soccer, there are numerous other instances throughout a soccer match that could be deemed dangerous plays. These are among the hardest calls for referees to make but are critical to preventing malpractices that could lead to injury.


When a dangerous play is committed in a soccer match, the violation results in an indirect free kick for the opposing team of the player that committed the foul. The indirect kick will be taken from the spot of the foul. An indirect free kick is awarded to a team when a player commits a prohibited action in a way that makes the referee believe it was careless, reckless, or dangerous but does not make contact with the opponent.

Referee Signal

When a dangerous play is called in a soccer match, the referee typically blows their whistle to stop play and signals a direct free kick, which is done by pointing with a raised arm toward the offending team’s goal. While direct and indirect free kicks are similar in the way the referee signals them, the main difference between the two is that the referee raises his arm for an indirect free kick instead of pointing at the offending team’s goal, like for a direct free kick.


  • Two players going for a ball at the same time, but one of them tries to attack headfirst below the waist
  • One player going for a header and the other trying to kick the ball high in the air
  • Kicking the ball from the ground with other players surrounding the play
  • Two players going for a ball from opposite directions, and one of them attacks with their cleats exposed facing upwards
  • Jumping into a slide tackle

Similar Fouls to Dangerous Play

  • Charging
  • Jumping at an Opponent
  • Pushing
  • Striking an Opponent