During a typical game of soccer, the ball will typically end up going into the crowd.
Whether that be from a defender clearing his lines or from a striker getting his shot awfully wrong.
So as a result, fans in the crowd will end up catching a few soccer balls.
When this happens are soccer fans allowed to keep the ball or are they required to give it back?
I’ll be covering this topic in full within this post.
Table of Contents
Can A Fan Keep A Soccer Ball That Goes Into The Stand?
When a ball ends up in a stand, a fan isn’t able to keep the ball.
The culture of soccer is very much different to other sports.
While a sport like Baseball it is accepted for someone to keep a ball if they catch it.
It is almost the opposite in football, with it not being allowed in any instance.
Now there are many reasons why this is and if you have watched a soccer game you may have noticed how quickly they are retrieved.
Well, let me explain now, with the three main reasons why.
1) Looked Upon As Stealing
The first reason is that keeping a soccer ball is seen as stealing.
With the ones that are used in the top leagues, they are not your cheap balls in fact most will be over $100 each.
So while a club losing a few of these a game wouldn’t be a big deal.
It would still be an expensive item for a fan to take away with them essentially for free.
Now unless you want to be branded as a robber or even booed at, it is always best to give the ball straight back instead of trying to keep it for yourself.
As with the cameras on you and stewards close by, you will most likely have it taken on you anyway.
2) Only So Many Match Balls
Now while nowadays a top-flight game will be supplied with a number of soccer balls.
Years ago, this wasn’t the case as a game would only have a handful of footballs.
This made it imperative that if a ball was kicked in the stands, that it was retrieved fast.
Due to a lack of balls, the players on the pitch would need to wait for a ball in order to restart play.
It is because of this that most games now have many balls that are spread equally around the sides of the pitch.
So that if one is booted over the stadium, the game can quickly be restarted within seconds.
This is therefore tied into fans keeping soccer balls, as if a fan keeps it then it delays the game.
Which depending on what area of the stadium your sitting in or the current score could annoy fans nearby.
3) Restart The Match
The last reason is very simple and that is to restart the game.
Now when we do another comparison back to Baseball, fans are allowed to keep the ball.
But a lot of that is because the ball doesn’t go into the stands as frequently
Its also seen as impressive if you catch a ball in that sport, because its a lot smaller and difficult.
When it comes to soccer, it is normal for a ball to end up in its stand every couple of minutes.
So if t was encouraged for fans to keep the ball, then the game would constantly stop and start.
Something that no watcher of the game wants to see happens.
There is also a possibility referring back to the last reason, that a match could lose its supply of balls.
How Do Soccer Fans End Up With The Ball?
The ball ends up in the stands generally because of clearance or a player missing the target.
Some clubs will have nets behind the goal, like in NFL to stop the ball from going into the crowd.
However, for the sidelines, there won’t be anything in the way to prevent a ball.
When this happens, fans will try and catch it.
If the ball is hit with too much power then you may see fans palm it away, like in Volleyball.
Which can continue until the ball has made its way back to a ball boy or a player itself.
Are Soccer Fans Allowed To Keep The Ball?
Soccer fans are allowed to keep the ball in certain circumstances.
Now at no point is it okay for a fan to keep a hold of it while a game is live, they are able to keep one if its given after the game.
This is because similar to what happens in tennis where players throw their sweatbands into the crowd, a soccer player may do the same.
In this scenario, its done with the purpose to give a ball to a fan, so when this happens it is perfectly fine for them to keep it.
You would think though that giving a soccer ball to fans is very easy, apart from maybe the possibility of fans wrestling for it.
But in a game where Roberto Soldado tried to kick up the ball into the stands, he missed the fans completely.
The ball actually ended up in a completely different section of the stadium.
So if you were wondering why can’t fans keep soccer balls, I hope this post answered that for you.
As you can see, the only times a fan can keep a ball is if its actually been given to them.
In any other scenario, they would need to throw it back, to avoid being called a thief and so that the game can restart promptly.
If you have any questions or thoughts on this topic, do let me know by leaving it below 🙂