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Rules: Small sided football (5-a-side, 6-a-side & 7-a-side)

Please respect your fellow footballers, the referee and yourselves 👊

Teams and players should familiarise themselves with the rules of 5aside.com. If you are in doubt, contact your league manager or speak to your referee on match day.

Playing rules

1.1 All matches consist of 2 halves, usually of 14 to 20 minutes duration (check with 5aside.com for specific durations).

1.2 The half time interval shall be a maximum of 1 minute duration. Half time may be dispensed with at the Organiser’s discretion.

2.1 At the beginning of the game the choice of ends is decided by the match official. Where there is no half-time choice of ends shall rest with the first named team on the fixture list.

2.2 If a ball crosses the side line or it hits the fence above a board, a throw in is awarded to the opposing team.

2.3 To return the ball into play the player must deliver the ball underarm or be kicked in under head height.

2.4 If a ball crosses the goal line by the defending team where it is not a goal, a corner kick shall be awarded.

2.5 If the ball crosses the goal line by the attacking team, a Goal Kick shall be awarded.

2.6 The opposition must be a minimum of TWO METRES from a throw in or a corner kick.

2.7 There is no offside. Players may place themselves in any part of the playing area without any restriction.

2.8 When a player is taking a free kick, the opposition shall be a minimum distance of TWO METRES from the ball until it is in play

2.9 All free kicks that happen around the goal area must be a minimum distance of 1m from the goal area.

2.10 A penalty kick shall be taken from the penalty mark or from the edge of the area directly in line with the centre of the goal.

2.11 A goal cannot be scored directly from a throw in.

2.12 In most leagues there are restrictions on players entering the goal areas. Where there is a restriction the following applies:

2.12.1 If an attacker enters the penalty area then a free kick is awarded to the opposing team 2 meters outside the penalty area.

2.12.2 If a defender enters the penalty area then a penalty kick will be awarded against them.

2.12.3 Goalkeepers may not leave the penalty area. If they do so then a penalty is awarded to the opposition unless the goal keeper’s momentum has carried him/her out of the area while making a save.

3.1 The goal keeper is not allowed out of their goal area.

3.2 The goal keeper cannot take the ball back into their area from the outfield.

3.3 In most leagues there is no restriction on the goalkeeper using feet in the area during active play. This includes returning the ball into play using a kick. However, where there is a restriction the following applies:

3.3.1 Goal keepers may save with their feet but may not pass or clear with their feet.

3.3.2 Infringement will result in a free kick 2 metres outside the area.

3.4 If the goalkeeper chooses to return the ball using a throw, it must be thrown underarm and under knee height in a horizontal or downward direction.

3.5 For a Goal Kick, the goalkeeper must return the ball into play using one kick from anywhere on his goal line. They may not return the ball using a throw.

3.6 If a goal keeper passes the ball to his own player the ball must be played to another player before it can be returned into the area for the keeper to pick up.

3.7 Penalty for infringements of the rules above is a free kick to the opposition 1m from the goal area.

4.1 Please note particularly that charging / sliding tackles are forbidden and shall be penalised by the awarding of a free kick.

4.2 Persistent charging / sliding tackles shall result in a yellow card.

5.1 All players MUST wear shin pads. This is compulsory and failure to do so may result in that player being excluded from play.

5.2 Permitted footwear on sand dressed turf is astroturf boots or trainers. Permitted footwear on rubber crumb turf is astroturf boots, trainers, or football boots with non-metal blades or non-metal studs. Failure to wear the appropriate footwear may result in that player being excluded at the referee’s discretion.

6.1 Five (5) substitutes per team shall be permitted during a game.

6.2 These substitutes may be pooled from the team’s registered players but must be nominated at the start of the match.

6.3 The rules of the competition allow unlimited rolling substitutions.

6.4 The conditions for making a substitution are:

• The referee must be informed before a substitution can be made.

• The player leaving the field shall do so from their own goal line.

• The player entering the field must do so from their own goal line but not until the other player has left the field.

6.5 Any player may change with the goal keeper, provided that the referee is informed of the change and it is done so in a stoppage of play.

7.1 In a league season each team will play the other teams in their division twice.

7.2 At the end of each season the top 2 teams from each division will be promoted and the bottom 2 teams will be relegated.

7.3 Teams will receive 3 points for a win, 1 for a draw and zero for a loss. League placings will be decided by points gained, followed by goal difference, followed by goals scored, followed by the aggregate result between the two teams in question.

7.4 At the end of each season the top 2 teams from each division will be promoted and the bottom 2 teams will be relegated (may vary) and a new season will start the following week

7.5 Teams can appeal decisions by contacting their respective league managers via [email protected]

7.6 League officers are elected by teams in the league (this is typically a captain from one of the more established teams)

7.7 An annual meeting whereby the management committee (formed from league officers and Ultimate5aside ltd management) will review the league rules etc.


8.1 Respect is the FA’s response to a clear message from throughout the game that the health of football depends upon high standards of behaviour on and off the pitch.

• Respect is a behavioural code for Football.

• Respect is about recognising that the integrity of the game is more important than the result of the match.

• Respect is about creating an understanding of what is acceptable and unacceptable behaviour in Football.

• Respect is about those involved taking responsibility for the consequences of their own actions.

• Respect is about supporting match officials to do their job. Without them we don’t have a game.

• Respect is not a slogan. It is a collective responsibility of those involved in football to create a fair, safe and enjoyable environment in which the game can take place.

9.1 On and off the field, I and all my players will:

• Adhere to the Laws of The Game.

• Display and promote high standards of behaviour.

• Promote Fair Play.

• Always respect the match officials’ decisions.

• Never engage in public criticism of the match officials.

• Never engage in offensive, insulting or abusive language or behaviour.

• Never engage in bullying, intimidation or harassment.

• Speak to my team-mates, the opposition and my coach/manager with respect

• Remember we all make mistakes.

• Win or lose with dignity. Shake hands with the opposing team and the referee at the end of every game.

I understand that if I do not follow the Code, any/all of the following actions may be taken by the Organiser, County FA of The FA:

• Be required to apologise to team-mates, the other team, referee or team manager

• Receive a warning from the league

• Be required to attend an FA education course

• Be dropped or substituted

• Be suspended from league games

• Not be selected for the team

• Be required to serve a suspension

• Be fined

• Be required to leave the league

In addition:

• The FA/County FA could impose a fine and/or suspension on the club.

These League Rules and Playing Rules shall be overridden by the ‘Terms & Conditions‘ which shall
always prevail in the event of any dispute, ambiguity or inconsistency.

All participants entering into sporting activities do so entirely at their own risk. The organisers, their servants or agents do not accept liability for any personal injury or loss/damage to property howsoever caused. These rules are binding on the teams and players taking part. A copy of these rules are available on request from 5aside.com and a copy of The Laws of Small Sided Football are available from the relevant sanctioning County FA or from www.thefa.com


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