Can you keep the ball at a soccer game? (EXPLAINED!)

It’s not uncommon to find a ball in the stands during a soccer game. So, can you keep the ball at a soccer game? We have the answers.

You cannot keep the ball at a soccer game. If the ball goes to the stands, the fan is supposed to throw it back to the field. When a fan holds onto the ball, he or she slows down the momentum of the game.                                                                                            

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can you keep the ball at a soccer game

Can You Keep the Ball at a Soccer Game?   

There are key differences between soccer and other games. One of these differences is what spectators do with the ball once it goes to the stands. Quite often, during a soccer match, a soccer player will shoot a ball and fly into the stands.

Whenever this happens, the big question is what a fan can do with the ball. Can you keep the ball at a soccer game? Well, in this article, we will delve deeper into the world of soccer and discover if it’s possible to keep a ball at a soccer game or not.   

The general rule of soccer is that when the ball moves out of play and goes to the stands, fans are supposed to throw it back to the field of play. This is to avoid interruptions in the time dedicated to the game. So, the basic rule is that you’re not supposed to keep the ball at a soccer game. Here are reasons why fans are not allowed to keep the ball at a soccer game.

It’s Imperative to Maintain the Rhythm of the Game      

One of the reasons why you can’t keep the ball at a soccer game is because of the need to maintain the pace of the game. If fans are allowed to keep balls whenever the ball moves out of play, the rhythm of the game will be greatly affected.

Generally, the number of times a ball moves out of play during a soccer game are many. For example, in Major Soccer League, whenever LA Galaxy and DC United are playing, it’s expected that the ball will move out of play multiple times because of the intensity of the game.

If fans are allowed to keep the ball in a soccer match such as this, they will definitely slow down the pace of the game. Thus, whenever the ball moves out of play, they should throw it back to the field of play immediately.

Players Need Balls With the Right Quality throughout the Season

The balls used in league matches are designed with a particular quality. Since a soccer season is long, players need to develop a good grasp of the characteristics of the balls they use.

This helps to improve their play. For instance, once soccer players understand the quality of a soccer ball, important aspects of play such as shooting, become easy. Moreover, ball manufacturers make lucrative deals with leagues such as MLS to ensure that they use quality balls for a whole season.

For this reason, spectators cannot be allowed to keep balls at soccer games. If they keep these balls, they are likely to affect the consistency in the quality and characteristics of balls. Players don’t have to adjust to the characteristics of new balls.

Once a ball gets out of play, ball boys receive the exact ball, thus maintaining equality and consistency. When fans retain such balls, then they make it difficult to maintain the quality of the game. 

How Much Does It Cost to Buy a Soccer Team?

Again, sponsorship contracts do not allow fans to keep balls on match days. Since the contracts are between leagues and manufacturing companies, fans can’t keep soccer balls.

These balls are supposed to be used as advertisements according to the contract between leagues, clubs, and sponsors. If fans keep these balls, it will be a breach of the advertisement contract between the relevant parties.

The Expensive Nature of Balls    

Compared to other sports, soccer balls are costlier. Some soccer balls use materials that are rare to find. Again, high quality soccer balls require the services of highly skilled professionals, and this comes at a high cost. The making of the soccer ball follows particular procedures, and the professional level needed to design them does not come cheap.

Soccer clubs and sponsors spend huge sums of money to manufacture the right balls. Unlike other sports like baseball where balls are not as expensive, soccer balls are quite expensive. In these sports, there are many balls available to be thrown back at any given moment of the game. This isn’t the case in soccer. Thus, fans aren’t supposed to keep balls at a soccer game as it would cause huge losses for the league and sponsors.

It’s expected that Fans Should Return Balls to the Field of Play

In soccer, there is an expectation that fans should return balls back to the field once they get out of play. Contrary to other sports such as baseball, where fans are allowed to keep balls as souvenirs, soccer fans can’t keep balls that move to the stands.

Rules are different in soccer, and they have been in use for a long time. It would be uncivil for a soccer fan to decide to keep a ball. It can be embarrassing when other fans are looking at you waiting for you to return a ball to the soccer field but you’re trying to keep it for yourself.

A referee has the final say regarding whether a replacement ball will be used during a game or not. Imagine a referee having to stop a match because fans are not throwing a ball back to the field. This not only wastes valuable time and slows down the rhythm of the game, but also shows lack of decorum.

Thus, as a show of courtesy, a ball should be returned to the field once it gets out of play. Fans should not interrupt 90 minutes of a game because they could influence an outcome to the disadvantage of a certain team.

Are there Instances When a Fan Can Keep A Ball?

Now that it’s clear that you can’t keep a ball at a soccer game, because of particular rules, the big question is whether there are exceptions to these rules. Are there special cases where you can be allowed to keep a ball at a soccer game? Certainly, there are few exceptions where fans can be allowed to keep soccer balls, and fans should be aware of these peculiar circumstances.

The exemptions that allow fans to keep balls at a soccer game include the following: testimonial matches, charity matches, and friendly games. In these games, the rules for returning the ball to the field are not as strict as in the other competitive matches.

can you keep the ball at a soccer game

Contrary to other competitive matches such as league games, friendly and charity games use special balls that fans can keep as a way of allowing them to feel the experience of the day. Friendly games are played in a more relaxed manner as they do not carry high stakes.

In addition, during a testimonial game, fans can be allowed to keep balls that go to the stands. Since this is a one-day soccer game, the balls won’t be used again. In a testimonial match, a game is played to honor a former player. For example, in 2017, the Seattle Sounders organized for a testimonial match to honor their longtime defender, Zach Scott.

Usually, this match isn’t competitive and the proceeds from the match tickets are channeled to a worthy cause determined by the organizers. Because of the enthusiasm of honoring a former player, match day officials are usually not very strict as to what happens to the balls. For that reason, if you happen to keep a ball at a testimonial soccer game, it may not be a big deal.

Key Takeaways   

  • Fans are not allowed to keep the ball at a competitive soccer game for various reasons 
  • Also, sponsors, clubs, and leagues want to maintain the quality of soccer balls used 
  • In addition, soccer balls are quite expensive compared to balls used in other sports 
  • The only exceptions where a fan can keep a ball is during friendly and charity matches.   

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