Square Ball Rule

At the GAA Annual Congress in Kilenard, Laois held on Saturday 14th April, a change was made to the Square ball rule in Football only. This change will become operative in all club and intercounty games from 14th May next.

Football Only – “Square Ball”

This has been amended to allow a player enter the small rectangle once the final deliberate play of the ball has been made, i.e. as soon as the player kicks, hand-passes, fist passes or deliberately flicks the ball into the small rectangle then the attacking player may enter.  The rule is unchanged with regard to “Set Play” i.e. Free Kicks, Line Balls and 45s – in these instances players are not permitted to enter the small rectangle before the ball. The full text of the new rule is:

Rule 4.9 Official Guide Part 2 – Rules of Foul Play – Rule 4 Technical Fouls:

“For an attacking player to enter opponents’ small rectangle:

(a) During Play (excluding Set Play), before the final play of the ball into the small rectangle

(b) In Set Play, before the ball enters the small rectangle.

Exception:

(i) If an attacking player legally enters the small rectangle, and the ball is played from that area but is returned before the attacking player has time to leave the area, provided he does not play the ball or interfere with the defence, a foul is not committed.

(ii) When a point is scored from outside the small rectangle and the ball is sufficiently high to be out of reach of all players, the score shall be allowed even though an attacking player may have been, otherwise illegally, within the small rectangle before the ball – provided that the player in question does not interfere with the defence.”