The punishment for a foul varies according on its kind and severity. Minor infractions result in an indirect free kick for the opposition team. Serious offenses: A straight free kick is handed to the opposition side.
A penalty kick is awarded when a player commits a direct free kick offence inside their penalty area or off the field during play, as defined in Laws 12 and 13. A penalty kick can be converted into a goal. A penalty shootout occurs if neither side is able to convert its penalties.
The referee signals for a penalty kick by raising his arm and pointing it forward. The captain of the team that receives the ball is given the opportunity to take the kick. If he chooses not to take the kick, then the opposing captain will take the penalty kick.
On his mark, the captain lines up the kicker (right foot if they are playing left-sided, left foot if they are playing right-sided) behind the ball and takes a running step towards it. The referee raises his arm to signal for the kick to be taken.
After the kick is taken, the opposing goalkeeper is allowed one touch on the ball, before taking a slide-tackle away from danger. Should the goalkeeper go down under minimal contact, then a free kick is awarded to the attacking team.
If the goalkeeper handles the ball with two hands, then this is an indirect free kick, where no player from either team is permitted to handle the ball. This means that the goalkeeper would have to throw the ball out of bounds to escape punishment.
Fouls are punished by a free kick, penalty kick, or indirect free kick. In the match report, the fouls committed by each side in each phase of the game are noted.
The referee has considerable discretion as to what penalty he gives for a foul. He can choose to give a free kick, penalty kick, or indirect free kick. The decision on which type of penalty to give for a foul is based on how serious it seems to be. If a foul causes little or no injury then it may not be considered serious enough to warrant a red card and thus not deserve a penalty. However, if a foul causes an obvious injury (e.g., bleeding from a head wound) then it is likely to be considered very serious and thus deserve a penalty.
Free kicks are taken when there is an infringement by any player outside the penalty area. The ball must be kicked with the foot (except for the goalkeeper, who can use either foot). A free kick is given by the referee when he feels that it is necessary due to some infringement outside the penalty area. For example, if a player is about to be sent off, then a free kick will be awarded against his team.
A foul is an unjust conduct committed by a player that the referee believes violates the game's regulations and interferes with the active play of the game. Fouls are penalised by giving the other side a free kick (perhaps a penalty kick). The type of foul varies depending on how severe it is believed to be. Examples of fouls include, but are not limited to: tripping, hacking down/head-butting, pulling up shorts/shorts length, excessive wear and tear on shoes.
The types of fouls have different effects on the outcome of the match. For example, if a player commits a foul by accident or inadvertence, he or she will usually receive a warning from the referee during the course of the match. If the player continues to commit fouls after receiving this warning, then the referee may decide to show him or her red cards and suspend him or her from the remainder of the match. A red card is the most serious form of punishment that a referee can impose during a match. It is equivalent to being sent off by the referee in another sport. A player who is sent off cannot rejoin the game except as a substitute.
Players often argue about whether they should get a card or not. For example, a player might believe that he or she has been fouled but not by intent.