Is Soccer a Contact Sport?

Is Soccer a Contact Sport?

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The game of soccer is a contact sport and has always been a contact sport since the creation of the sport even the origins of the game include acts of heavy violence. However, the game has become much more moderated and the contact you make can be punished if it is seen as an aggressive act.

What are examples of contact sports?

There are many sports around the world that are contact sports and they are just part and part of the game. Sports include rugby, football, ice hockey, boxing, mixed martial arts, basketball, lacrosse, water polo, Gaelic football, Australian football, and several other adaptations of these sports just mentioned.

In these sports, it is considered part of the game and how you play. If rules changed and there was no contact allowed in the sports mentioned it would either seriously damage the style of play or completely cancel the sport altogether.

In recent times many sports have brought in more protective equipment and implemented more rules to protect the player for example the change of the scrum rule in rugby to protect the players from seriously injuring themselves or one another.

Is contact allowed in soccer?

Is Soccer a Contact Sport?

So with soccer being among the contact sports, they are allowed to have some contact with one another but the officials can call fouls against players if they feel a player has been too aggressive in their nature to compete for the ball. 

Obviously, there will be contact when a player goes in for a tackle but most of the contact has to be with the ball and a player cannot make contact with the player first. Similarly, players are allowed to tussle with each other, shoulder to shoulder, but if that action becomes a push or a pulling of the shirt, then they will be penalized by the officials for their actions. 

As previously said, contact is part of the game and some players pride themselves on their physical strengths and how they can physically dominate teams within the rules of the game. It is an important aspect and can change the flow of the game. For example, if you look at the former English Premier League side Stoke City under Tony Pulis they were physically the most imposing sides in the league and proved to be tricky customers for any team they faced. However, their physical side stayed within the rules of the game. 

Is soccer a contact sport?

Technically the sport is a contact sport but obviously with restrictions. In a sense, it close to basketball that contact can be made but within reason. Soccer will not allow contact if it has impeded a player and not followed the rules fairly.

Soccer is a contact sport as it allows players to challenge one another by allowing them to tackle each other. Some pundits argue that physicality is the main part of the game and older fans of soccer feel that the rules on tackling have changed so much that the game has lost its physical edge making it closer to a non-contact sport.

However, games like The Battle of Santiago (1962), The Battle of Bramhall Lane (2002), The Battle of Nuremburg (2006), and any Fenerbahce vs Galatasaray game, you will see that there is has been and always will be contact in the sport that can boil over a bit too much.

Is soccer a high contact sport?

Soccer is not a high contact sport. Despite it allowing physical acts, it is in no way the same as sports like rugby and football. The main difference being that the ball is played with the feet rather than the hands.


With the body naturally more aggressive in the arms this is where we see the difference. Players cannot be as physical with their arms in soccer and reduce the contact allowed. 

That is not to say that players are not using high contact because ultimately players’ natural personality and game come into account. Some players will use the physical side of their game and possibly become too overzealous with their approach leading to many fouls called against them.

Players like Roy Keane, Gennaro Gattuso, Vinnie Jones, Jaap Stam, and Duncan Ferguson, have all gone down in history as being hard players who might have used their physical side too much. 

Is soccer a low contact sport?

Is Soccer a Contact Sport?

The game is probably not a low contact sport either, however, it would be described closer to low contact than high contact and noncontact. Whereas sports like field hockey are similar to soccer, they do not allow contact between players, and that is called up as a foul immediately. However, in soccer, not all contact will be called a foul.

The term low contact suggests minimal contact allowed but at times soccer can become quite physical, so it would be unfair to suggest that the sport is low contact.

So why is soccer a contact sport? 

Soccer is a contact sport because it is incredibly competitive and the nature of how the game is played. If you took out tackling and only allowed interceptions then you would have a completely different game. Removing the contact removes other aspects of the game like free kicks and corners where players contest to win the ball.

Soccer needs the contact to remain in the game so the element of competition is healthy but like UEFA and FIFA have been promoting for many years is the idea of Fair Play where players are more conscious of how they conduct themselves on the pitch by not breaking the rules of the game.