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Rules for Small Sided Football – 5-a-side, 6-a-side and 7-a-side Football rules



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:


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 footballEight 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

· 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

· 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

· 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