In this football language post we explain how the word ‘release’ can be used in football. It is used with contracts and transfers and also passes. Don’t forget we have hundreds more explanations of football language in our football glossary and we also have a page full of football cliches. If you have questions or comments about this or any other phrase then email us at:

Football Language: Release

The first meaning of ‘release’ we can look at is when a team, releases a player. This means they don’t give the player a new contract. It isn’t exactly firing them, but it means they do not want the player anymore.

There is another phrase with ‘release’ that is connected with contracts and employing players: release clause. This has become much more common over the past 5 years. A clause is a legal term used to talk about a particular condition in a contract, so a release clause talks about the condition that will allow a player to end his/her contract – usually if another team pays a certain price.

The final way we will look at ‘release’ being used is in connection with passing. If a player releases another player, it means they pass the ball into space, allowing the other player to run into that space.

  • Here’s an example from the BBC from 2013: ‘Wenger’s men were caught out one final time when Andreas Weimann released Luna and he fired past Szczesny at the near post.’

Related Vocabulary

Check out our glossary of footballing phrases here. If you have any suggestions or questions, contact us at
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Football GlossaryEpisode 917