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5 a side, 6 a side and 7 a side Football Rules

Small-sided football means 5 a side, 6 or 7 a side football but does not include mini-soccer, which is a game for under 10s played on a very small pitch.

These are the base rules and regulations for playing small-sided football, however there may be slight differences between providers and leagues, particularly for disciplinary actions.

Full rules can be found here: http://www.thefa.com/get-involved/player/5-a-side-and-futsalPitch

The pitch must be rectangular. The length of the touchline must be greater than the length of the goal line.

Length: Minimum 25m

Maximum 50m

Width: Minimum 16.5m

Maximum 35m

football pitch

The pitch is surrounded by barriers.

The distance (inside measurement) between the posts is maximum 5m, minimum 3m and the distance from the lower edge of the crossbar to the ground is maximum 2m, minimum 1.2m


Spherical, made of leather or other suitable material and of a size appropriate to the age group playing (generally size 4 or 5). If the ball bursts or becomes defective: the match is stopped, the ball replaced and play recommences with a drop from where the first ball became defective.


men playing football Eight players may be selected from the team squad for each match: five players and three substitutes.

A match is played between two teams, consisting of a maximum of five players and a minimum of four, one of whom is the goalkeeper.

Equipment and kit

Shin guards must be worn. They should be covered entirely by the socks and be made of a suitable material that offers a reasonable degree of protection.

Footwear must be either Astroturf boots or trainers. Soft rubber moulded boots may be

Kick offs

A kick off is a way of starting or restarting play at the start of a match, after a goal has been scored, or at the start of the second half of the match. A goal may be scored direct from a kick-off.

All players must be in their own half of the field

The opponents of the team taking the kick-off are at least 1m from the ball until it is played.

The ball is stationary on the centre mark

The ball is in play when it is kicked forward

The kicker may not touch the ball a second time until it has touched another player.

Ball in/out of play

The ball is still in play when it rebounds from a goal post, crossbar, roof, kickboards or referee.

The ball is out of play when it has wholly crossed the goal line leaves the confines of the pitch.

man kicking balls into a net

Head height

The ball must not travel above “head height”, defined as 6ft regardless of the height of the referee or any other player.

If the ball rebounds from a crossbar, goalpost, kickboard or goalkeeper and travels above “head height” then play continues. Heading the ball is not permitted.

If the ball travels above “head height” then the game will be restarted by the award of an indirect free kick to the opposing team from the point where the ball began to rise.


There is no offside.


A direct free kick is awarded to the opposing team if a player commits any of the following:

Kicks the ball above “head height”

Kicks or attempts to kick an opponent

Trips or attempts to trip an opponent

Jumps at an opponent

Charges an opponent, even with the shoulder

Strikes or attempts to strike an opponent

Pushes an opponent

Forces a player into the boards

Holds an opponent

Spits at an opponent

Makes a sliding tackle

Handles the ball deliberately (except for the goalkeeper)

When the ball is played into the corners of the pitch the defending player must allow the ball player to take the ball out unhindered, with five seconds to return the ball to play. A player may not stand closer than 1m from the ball when defending a free kick.

A penalty kick is awarded in the following circumstances:

If a player deliberately enters his/her own goalkeeper’s area to play the ball or run through to gain advantage

A goalkeeper deliberately leaves his/her penalty area to play the ball

The Penalty must be taken using the “one step” rule.

An indirect free kick is awarded to the opposing team if a goalkeeper commits one of the following:

Returns the ball to play with anything other than an underarm action

Retains possession of the ball for more than 6 seconds before returning it to play.

Receives the ball back directly from the same player he/she initially passed to, without it first touching at least one other player.




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