Do Fans Get To Keep Soccer Balls? (Here’s When)

Reading Time: 4 minutes

We so often see throughout a soccer match that a player shoots at goal and the ball sails over or wide and goes into the crowd.

More often than not we see fans throw the ball back into play. But why do they do this? Why don’t they keep the ball for themselves?

In this article, we will have a look at things such as:

  • why fans do not keep the balls for themselves
  • Can they actually keep the balls when they are kicked into the stands?
  • Can you keep a soccer ball at the World Cup?
  • What happens to balls after the World Cup?

If you are a fan who regularly goes to soccer matches and are lucky enough to sit behind the goals, read on to find out if you can in fact keep any soccer balls that might come your way during a game. The answer will surprise you!!

Soccer Ball on Turf

Do fans get to keep soccer balls when they are kicked into the stands?

Sadly no. For many fans, it is almost an unwritten law and tradition for them to throw the ball back into play or to a ball boy or match official.

In fact, for some leagues around the world, they actually have rules in place stating the ball MUST be returned to a steward or match official.

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The soccer balls that are distributed around the ground on the matchday are usually from a sponsorship that the club has with the ball provider.

What this means is that each team will be given a select amount of matchday soccer balls to use and are given money to use them.

Hence why they will often want the balls to be returned so that the club does not have to fork out money to buy more balls.

Aside from matchday balls, sponsorships for clubs will give our training balls to the teams as well, even though they are not as high a quality as matchday balls, clubs still do not want to lose any soccer balls.

The reason the companies do in fact give balls to the league is so that they can make money off those balls when they are made available for sale at retail stores.

That is why teams are adamant about the balls being given back because the company that has given them to the team does not want fans to take them away from the teams that they supply.

Reasons why fans can keep soccer balls during a match

They are just a few of the main reasons where fans can keep balls when they get kicked into the stands.


Friendly games or even preseason games are matches where the rules are not as strict as proper league games when it comes to returning balls from the stands.

Charity Games

Charity games are much along the same lines as well and this is often used as a part of the fan’s whole experience for the match.

As charity games are so big and lots of interest are in them, the balls kicked into the stands hold greater significance than normal league balls as there is a fair chance those charity balls will never be made again.

Testimonial Games

Testimonial games are another reason fans can keep soccer balls that go into the crowd.

A testimonial game is where a former player’s teammates will get together to form two separate teams and play a game in honor of a certain player.

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If fans are at the testimonial game of their favorite player. Much like a charity match, these balls will often be only limited to the game and will not be sold at a sports store for sale. Thus, making them rarer than other matchday balls.

You will often see that most fans will still give the balls back as the rules are nowhere near as strict as Premier League games and this is because of the joy that it brings them to celebrate a player’s great career.

Can you keep a soccer ball at a World Cup?

Much like the Premier League and other major leagues, the answer is no. It is an unwritten rule that fans throw the balls back onto the field or hand them to match officials.

But why do officials and teams insist that the balls be given back?

Cost is the biggest factor. A single ball can normally cost around $100, and this is why clubs do not want fans to take the balls and why they do not want to lose them is because of the costs involved in getting new balls.

Clubs do not want to spend $1000’s on getting balls after fans have kept them.

It is not like other sports in cricket and baseball where the balls are made at such minimal cost so it does not matter if fans take them home as there are usually hundreds readily available because the balls are so cheap.

When it comes to the English Premier League, the balls are really expensive and can cost around $100 per ball. When you find this out, you can understand why clubs want to get the balls back. 

It is because the balls are so expensive to make and if a club loses five balls during a match, then that is $5000 the club will have to fork out just for balls.

What happens to soccer balls after a World Cup?

When it comes to a World Cup, all soccer balls are specifically made for each tournament. 

This makes them very rare and hard to get and even more so in the final. Most of the time the balls will be given to players and officials of each team.

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For a World Cup tournament, around 3,000 balls are used for the duration of the tournament and around 20 balls are used for each match.

What makes this really special is that each ball is made especially for each match and will often have the team names and emblems on them.

Why are soccer balls so expensive?

Soccer balls are usually expensive because of the material that they are made from and it is from the very best materials available and companies also use the latest technology when making soccer balls. 

The cost of making a soccer ball will often reflect how much time and effort has gone into making that certain soccer ball.

8e83cfb63d54c9260fa694b185c6bca8?s=150&d=mp&r=g ○ Soccer Blade
Soccer Analyst and Publisher at Soccer Blade | Soccer Blade

Joel is a seasoned soccer journalist and analyst with many years of experience in the field. Joel specializes in game analysis, player profiles, transfer news, and has a keen eye for the tactical nuances of the game. He played at various levels in the game and coached teams - he is happy to share his insight with you.

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Soccer Products FAQ

Can I Use Running Shoes for Soccer? 

You can play soccer in running shoes, but you won’t have the best performance unless you wear cleats or soccer boots.

Why are soccer balls black and white?

Soccer balls are traditionally black and white because when soccer was first shown on TV it was in black and white, so the mix of black and white on the balls helped viewers see the ball easier. 

How hard and what pressure should a soccer ball be?

The FIFA regulations say that the soccer balls should have a pressure between 8.81757 psi (0.6 atm) and 16.1655 psi (1.1 atm). If you’re playing soccer with friends, then opt for a pressure amount from the lower range.

What is the size of goals in soccer?

5-A-Side has dimensions that are 12-ft wide by 6-ft high. Such soccer goals are for under-7 and under-8 soccer games
7-A-Side has dimensions that are 12-ft wide by 6-ft high again. Such soccer goals are for under-9 and under-10 soccer games
9-A-Side has dimensions that are 16-ft wide by 7-ft high. Such soccer goals are for under-11 and under-12 soccer game
11-A-Side or full-size soccer goal has dimensions that are 24-ft wide by 8-ft high for the under-15 and over. Whereas, for the under-13 and under-14, it is 21 ft wide by 7-ft high

What is the soccer ball size and weight for each age group?

Size 1 - 3 years or under - 18 to 20 inches - 195 to 205 grams
Size 2 - 3 to 5 years - 20 to 22 inches - U4 - 250 to 280 grams
Size 3 - 5 to 8 years - 23 to 24 inches - U5 to U8 - 300 to 320 grams
Size 4 - 8 to 12 years - 25 to 26 inches - U8 to U12 - 350 to 390 grams
Size 5 - More than 12 years - 27 to 28 inches - U12 to Pro - 410 to 450 grams

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