Since IFAB’s changes to Law 16 (The Goal Kick) went in effect on June 1, 2019, there have been a lot of questions about how the new rule impacts the implementation of the Build-Out Line (BOL). The short answer is, very little.

The purpose of a BOL is to ease defensive pressure on goal kicks/goalkeeper collections to help players build confidence playing out of the back. The purpose of the BOL remains unchanged; but the execution will change slightly with the new law.

Build-Out Line under Previous Goal Kick Law

  1. Before the ball is kicked, players on the kicking team must move outside the penalty area and players on the defending team must move beyond the BOL.
  2. Players on the kicking team may not receive the ball until it is in play. Players on the defending team may not cross the BOL line until the ball is in play.
  3. The ball is in play when it is kicked and leaves the penalty area.

Build-Out Line under New Goal Kick Law

  1. Before the ball is kicked, players on the kicking team may stand anywhere on the field, including inside the penalty area.
  2. Players on the defending team must move beyond the BOL and may not cross the BOL until the ball is in play.
  3. The ball is in play when it is kicked and clearly moves. In other words, as soon as a member of the kicking team kicks, or tries to kick, the ball, and the ball visibly moves or begins to roll, the ball is in play. As soon as the ball is in play, other members of the kicking team may play it (inside the penalty area) and defenders may cross the BOL.

The Law change only impacts two aspects of the BOL. The first aspect impacts where players on the kicking team may be positioned before the kick (point 1). The second aspect is when the ball is determined to be “in play” (point 3).

Properly implemented, the BOL should reduce the number of goal kicks played long while helping to develop young players’ skills and comfort-level with the ball. The goalkeeper (or another player on the kicking team) can wait to put the ball into play once all opponents are behind the build out line or he or she can release it sooner but does so accepting the positioning of the opponents and the consequences of how play resumes.

Coaches are responsible for leading their teams in the correct application of the BOL. Referees can facilitate and assist with implementation of this initiative as needed. Both coaches and referees should work together to create an age-appropriate learning environment that supports player development.