Dan Burke

Time to bust the myth behind Portugal's strange goal celebration

You’ve probably seen the footage by now of Portugal’s José Fonte being unable to join in the celebrations of Cristiano Ronaldo’s equaliser against Spain on Friday.

But if you haven’t, the former Southampton and West Ham man remained on the pitch alone while his team-mates celebrated in front of their supporters just yards away.

The theory behind Fonte being told stay on the pitch is that Fifa’s rules stipulate that Spain would have been allowed to restart the match if all of Portugal’s players had left the field of play.

Interesting story, but not technically true.

According to Fifa’s laws of the game, a match can only be restarted once all of the following parameters are met:

All players must be in their own half of the field of play
– The opponents of the team taking the kick-off are at least 9.15 m (10 yds) from the ball until it is in play
– The ball must be stationary on the centre mark
– The referee gives a signal
– The ball is in play when it is kicked and moves forward
– The kicker must not touch the ball again until it has touched another player

So the game couldn’t have continued until all of Portugal’s players had returned to their own half and Fonte’s decision to stay on the pitch alone must have been a misinterpretation of the rules.

But bizarrely, after Cristiano Ronaldo opened the scoring in Wednesday’s clash with Morocco, Portugal’s players did the same thing again!

You can’t be too careful, however, especially considering there is a precedent for this kind of thing happening.

At the 2015 Uefa Development, Macedonia’s U-16s scored a goal against Gibraltar and celebrated with their coaches and team-mates on the bench.

Because the celebration occurred inside their own half, Gibraltar were allowed to kick off, and this is what happened next …

We have a sneaking suspicion that Portugal’s players knew all this, and Fonte just smells bad or something.