Is football (soccer) a contact sport? [Expert Answer]

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It’s a question that has been asked since the dawn of time, or at least since football was invented: is football a contact sport?

On the one hand (or foot!), you have people who say that football is definitely a contact sport. After all, there’s a lot of tackling and kicking going on, so how could it not be considered a contact sport?

On the other hand, you have people who say that football is not a contact sport. They argue that because there are strict rules against deliberately making contact with another player, it’s really not that dangerous.

So which side is right? Let’s take a closer look.

Is football a contact or collision sport?

Yes, it sure is. A full contact sport is any sport for which significant physical impact force on players, either deliberate or incidental, is allowed or within the rules of the game.

It can also include impact via a piece of sporting equipment – like a football – or even the ground! So by this definition, yes, football is a contact sport.

What makes football a contact sport?

There are a few things that make football seem like it could be considered a contact sport:

  • For one, players are constantly running into each other while trying to chase down the ball.
  • They also often use their bodies to shield the ball from opponents or to gain an advantage in a physical battle for position.
  • And, of course, there’s the occasional collision between two players going for the same ball.
  • There is also a lot of contact between players’ feet and the ball. Players regularly kick the ball with great force, and they also use their feet to block shots and passes from opponents.
  • When two players go up for a header, there is often quite a bit of contact between their heads as they battle for position.
  • And there’s the odd tumble, sliding tackle and hitting the ground while in play.

So it’s easy to see how football could be classed as a contact sport!

is football classed as a contact sport

Is football a dangerous sport?

The answer to this question is a little more complicated.

On the one hand, football is a physical sport and there is always the risk of injury when participating.

However, on the other hand, because of the strict rules against making contact with another player, and the recent rise of concussion awareness, football is certainly not as dangerous as it once was.

So while football may not be the safest sport out there, it’s also not as dangerous as some people might think! And very much safer than other contact sports like rugby or ice hockey.

is football a contact sport infographic

Is contact allowed in football?

Football is a physical sport, and contact between players is inevitable.

However, there are rules in place to ensure that the contact is fair and does not result in injury.

For example, players are not allowed to charge into each other or use their elbows or hands to push or strike another player.

Players must be careful when tackling, as sliding tackles can often lead to dangerous collisions. Going in with studs on your boots showing is not on!

Players are allowed to shoulder nudge an opponent to try to regain possession of the ball, but they are not allowed to push or trip an opponent.

Contact is also allowed when two players are going for a header, as long as both players are contesting for the ball and not trying to injure each other.

In general, the rule is that players are only allowed to use their body to contact an opponent if they are trying to play the ball and not injure them.

If a player uses their body in a way that is intended to hurt another player, they will be penalised! Referee!

Watch and learn: Guide to football and soccer rules

Here’s a great video that breaks down all the rules of football and explains each one.

YouTube player

Could football be considered a non-contact sport?

There are a few of reasons why soccer might not be considered a contact sport by some.

For one thing, players generally don’t wear any protective gear, so they’re not exactly bracing themselves for impact when they run into each other.

Additionally, most of the physical contact in soccer is incidental and not deliberate; players aren’t trying to hurt each other, they’re just trying to play the game.

There are also strict rules against deliberately making contact with another player, which further reduces the amount of intentional physicality in the sport.

In recent years, VAR (Video Assistant Referee) has been introduced to help referees make the correct decisions on the field. This has led to even less contact between players as they know they can’t get away with much!

So while football may be a physical sport, it could be argued that it is not a contact sport.

What sports are non contact?

There are a variety of sports that can be classified as non-contact.

Some of the most popular include bowling, golf, track and field, and swimming. These sports do not require physical contact between opponents in order to be played.

This can make them more enjoyable for some people, as there is no risk of being injured by another player.

Non-contact sports can also be more convenient to play, as they do not require special equipment or clothing.

They can be played in a wide variety of settings, from indoor bowling alleys to outdoor golf courses.

Whether you’re looking for a competitive or relaxing activity, non-contact sports are a great and safe option.

What is the most physical contact sport?

Boxing is often considered to be one of the most physical contact sports in the world.

And it’s true – when two opponents are in the ring, they’re regularly throwing punches at each other with the intent to do physical damage. 

But what many people don’t realise is that boxing is also one of the most strategic games around. It requires quick thinking and reflexes, as well as a good deal of stamina.

In a typical boxing match, there are three three-minute rounds, and each round can involve a lot of physical activity.

Boxers have to be in excellent shape to be able to go toe-to-toe with their opponents. The sport also requires a great deal of mental focus and concentration.

All of these factors combine to make boxing one of the most physical contact sports in the world.

The final score.

So, what’s the verdict? Is football a contact sport or not? We’re going to have to go with “yes” on this one.

While it’s true that most of the physical contact in soccer is incidental and not deliberate, there’s no denying that players do occasionally run into each other while chasing down the ball. 

So if you’re looking for a truly non-contact sport, you might want to stick to something like bowling or golf!

This article was written by

  • Anna Adams, Creative Director & Content Lead

    Hi there! I'm Anna Adams, your go-to source for all things women's soccer. I've been crazy about soccer for over 20 years, ever since I was kicking a ball around with my brothers as a kid. I've turned my passion into a career where I get to share all the cool stuff about soccer with you. As a content lead, I've had the awesome opportunity to work with various sports brands and publications. Whether it's the latest gear, pro tips, or just some cool soccer trivia, I'm all about making soccer ac...