What happens when a soccer ball goes into the stands (Explained!)

There are times when a player shoots the ball and ends up flying into the stand. What happens when a soccer ball goes into the stands? We have the answers.

The referee must stop the game and ensure that the ball in the stand is found. If the ball is found, the match continues, but if the ball is not found, the referee may request another ball or discontinue the match. This depends on the type of game tournament and the regulations set.

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what happens when a soccer ball goes into the stands


In major leagues, a soccer ball is a component of a club’s sponsorship deal, which implies that the company that manufactures and provides the balls donates money to the league that houses soccer teams. Additionally, each team in that league receives a set number of balls to use during official games and some practice balls.

Therefore, when it comes to playing a match, most teams are cautious when the ball goes into the stands because they are limited to the number of balls by either their sponsors or manufacturers.

Therefore, most league games have a strict return policy regarding their balls, and this return policy must be adhered to in order to avoid compromising relationships among the stakeholders.

What happens when a Soccer Ball goes into the Stands

As we had earlier outlined, the basic rule is that if a ball goes into the stands in any way, the referees must halt the match and assign the individuals responsible for checking the balls to look for it. If they get the ball, the game continues, but if the ball is not found, the referee may discontinue the match depending on the kind of tournament and regulations set.

If the game is a premier league match, the referee will discontinue then match, but if the game is a friendly match the referee can request for another ball for the match to continue.

Additionally, the stadium information center will contact the emergency personnel if a ball enters the stands in a location where it can cause injury. Typically, this occurs when a player experiences a medical emergency.

what happens when a soccer ball goes into the stands

Can Soccer Fans keep the ball in the Stands?

No, it is customary for soccer fans to retrieve the ball and throw it back to the pitch or the referee. This is because there is a legal law for various leagues worldwide.

For instance, the Major Soccer league (MSL) code of conduct specifies that soccer fans should promptly and safely return the ball to the stadium personnel or spectators on the sidelines. Apart from the policies set, the following are other reasons why fans cannot keep the ball thrown or shot by players in the stands:

Interference with the Playing Time

In recent times, the amount of game balls that players may use in a game was limited; because of this, there were times when the game officials had to get other balls and halt the game for a while.

As a result, a dishonest strategy developed where fans of the home side team would hold onto the ball for longer than necessary to waste time for the away time not to score. Time wasting is a common strategy to teams which have already won and want the status quo to remain by the end of the game.

Therefore, the regulatory bodies thought it wise to introduce ball boys and girls to make soccer a faster sport.

Since these people are numerous across the stadium, the only thing the fans can do is work with them by returning the balls as quickly as possible to prevent them from interfering with the flow of the game. Here, the regulatory bodies count on the co-operation of the fans to ensure that the game runs smoothly.

To Maintain Fairness and Consistency in the Game

Typically, ball manufacturers get into a costly sponsorship agreement with league organizations to ensure team equality, allowing soccer clubs to use the identical balls they practice with while playing in a match.

Additionally, players can build a stronger passing and shooting game rhythm when they have a solid understanding of the properties of a ball over time. If a fan decides to keep the ball, the players will have to adapt to the properties of another ball which may create inequality.

Therefore, fans must return the ball to the field to maintain fairness and consistency in the game.

Soccer Balls are Expensive

Fans are also returning the soccer balls because they are expensive. Typically, one soccer ball may cost $100, hence the teams will want them back due to the expenses. Others are going to cost far much more due to the materials used and the process of manufacturing.

When comparing soccer with other sports, such as cricket and baseball, they don’t bother pursuing fans to get them to return the balls because they are reasonably cheap to manufacture. The teams also have an ample supply on hand because these balls have a low cost. 

However, if you compare it to the premier league, where balls may cost anywhere from $100 and above, it is simple to understand why balls that go in the stand need to be returned, and fans should appreciate this as much.

what happens when a soccer ball goes into the stands

In what Soccer tournament are Fans allowed to keep the ball in the stand?

The only times’ officials allow fans to keep the balls is when two teams are playing in a friendly match and other charitable tournaments. It mostly happens when teams have surplus balls and want to donate them to other groups.

Additionally, if the fan is also watching a testimonial game for a former cherished player, there is the likelihood of them keeping the balls present in the stands.

 In the US, for instance, Norman Clarke, an American who played for Sunderland just 4 times in the league cup, was awarded a testimonial match that over 11,000 people attended. During the game, the official allowed fans to keep the balls that flew in the stands.

Key Takeaways

  • If the ball is shot or thrown in the stand, fans should return it to the field
  • The referee determines whether or not the ball in the stand needs a replacement
  • When fans keep the soccer balls in the stand, it may cause inconvenience in the match
  • In friendly matches and charitable tournaments, fans can keep the balls in the stand
  • Ball boys and girls ensure that they return the balls that go in the stand on time

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