The Kick-Off Simplified

At the kick-off for a football match there are a few quirky rules, and some which are entirely logical.

The logical rules are that the kick-off be taken from the centre spot, the ball must travel its circumference, the kicker may not touch the ball again before another player, each team start the game in their own half of the pitch, and that the receiving team be at least 10m from the centre spot (which is consistent with all free-kicks).

The quirky rules are firstly that three or fewer players from the team taking the kick-off are allowed in the centre circle when the kick is taken. And secondly that the kick-off must be kicked forward. To both of these rules my question is why?

Why not allow four or five or whatever number of players in the centre circle, who cares? And, equally, who cares if the ball is kicked backwards. In fact the second kick after the kick-off is almost always backwards anyway.

The kick-off has way too many rules apportioned to this relatively insignificant event (it’s not exactly the most skillful moment in a game), so surely any simplification is welcome.

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