Playing Rules

Our Match Rules

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

Small-sided Football

  1. Duration
    • 1.1 All matches consist of 2 halves, usually of 14 minutes duration
    • 1.2 The half time interval shall be a maximum of 1 minute. Half time may be dispensed of with at the organiser’s discretion.
  2. Start of Play & breaks in play
    • 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 in the fixture list.
    • 2.2 Play is started by the referee giving the ball to one or other team alternately at the start of each half from the centre circle.
    • 2.3 There shall be 9 players maximum per squad in one night.
    • 2.4 If a ball crosses the side line or it hits the fence, a throw in is awarded to the opposing team.
    • 2.5 To return the ball into play the player must deliver the ball either by rolling it underarm or by kicking the ball in – either way must be below shoulder height.
    • 2.6 A foul throw shall be called if the ball reaches over shoulder height or wasn’t rolled in underarm. Kick ins are indirect.
    • 2.7 The opposition must be a minimum of 2 yards from a throw in or a corner kick.
    • 2.8 There is no offside. Players may place themselves in any part of the playing area without any restrictions, including goal areas.
    • 2.9 When a player is taking a free kick, the opposition shall be a minimum distance of 2 yards from the ball until it is in play.
    • 2.10 All free kicks that happen around the goal area must be a minimum distance of 1m from the goal area.
    • 2.11 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.
    • 2.12 A goal cannot be scored directly from a throw in.
    • 2.13 There are no restrictions on players entering the goal areas.
    • 2.14 When a goal is scored re-start play from the centre circle.
  3. Goalkeepers
    • 3.1 Goalkeepers may not leave the penalty area. If they do so then a penalty is awarded to the opposition unless the goalkeeper’s momentum has carried them out of the area while making a save.
    • 3.2 In most of our 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 and saving a goal.
    • 3.3 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.
    • 3.4 If a goalkeeper 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.
    • 3.5 The Goalkeeper is allowed to roll or throw the ball out over arm. There is no restriction on how the goalkeeper restarts play using their arms.
    • 3.6 Penalty for infringements of the rules above is a free kick to the opposition 1m from the goal area.
  4. Sliding tackles
    • 4.1 Please note sliding tackles are forbidden and shall be penalised by the awarding of a free kick or penalty.
    • 4.2 Persistent sliding tackles shall result in a yellow card sin bin.
    • 4.3 Any time a player comes off both of their feet, a free kick is awarded.
  5. Players equipment
    • 5.1 Outfield players may not play either with a cap or hat, jeans or shoes. The goalkeeper is allowed to wear a cap.
    • 5.2 Players may not play without a shirt on.
    • 5.3 The use of shin pads is not compulsory but we strongly advise that all players wear them.
  6. Substitutes
    • 6.1 Three (3) substitutes per team shall be permitted during a game.
    • 6.2 Substitutes are roll on roll off (unlimited rolling subs)
    • 6.3 The conditions for making a substitution are:
      • 6.3.1 The referee must be informed before a substitution can be made.
      • 6.3.2 The player leaving the field shall do so from their own goal line.
      • 6.3.3 The player entering the field must do so from their own goal line but not until the other player has left the field.
    • 6.4 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. 11-a-side football
    • 7.1 GENERAL
    • 7.2 Normal FA rules apply
    • 7.3 Substitutes are interchangeable at any time when there is a dead ball situation, with the permission of the referee.
    • 7.4 A player who has received the ball from his keeper may not pass back to the keeper before another player touches the ball. Infringement will result in a free kick being awarded from where the back pass was made.
  8. Free kicks
    • 8.1 All free kicks are indirect
    • 8.2 On all free kicks players should be two yards from the ball. When a free kick is on the edge of the area, the ball should be played two yards back.
    • 8.3 If a player refuses to retreat two yards from the free kick or, as the free kick is being taken extends any part of his body towards the ball which means that he is no longer two yards from the free kick then he shall be penalised. The ball should be stationary before the free kick is taken.
    • 8.4 All free kicks are indirect and include:
      • Intentional handball
      • Players time wasting
      • A direct pass back to the keeper.
      • A player is not allowed to slide tackle or slide to gain an advantage of the ball
      • Kicking the ball away
      • A part of a players clothing or more particularly their shoe comes off during the course of the match
      • Fouls & Obstruction
  9. General Rules
    • 9.1 The referee will be the sole judge of whether a tackle is dangerous or not in the best interests of the spirit of the game
    • 9.2 Teams who arrive late for their scheduled kick off time may be subject to forfeiture of the match
    • 9.3 The signing of the entry form indemnifies Match Night Leagues from any responsibility for personal injury or lost property whilst participating in our organised leagues. Teams are responsible for arranging their own personal insurance cover at centres where this is not automatically applicable.
    • 9.4 If teams wish to cancel a game for whatever reason then they automatically lose 5-0.
    • 9.5 If there are one or more vacancies in any league a friendly fixture will be arranged for the team(s) who are scheduled to play a ‘Challenge Match’ for that particular date. Teams are required to attend all scheduled Challenge Match fixtures, pay their full match fee and play the pre-arranged friendly as normal; the relevant team will then be awarded a 5-0 win and two points towards the league table. If a team does not wish to play a scheduled friendly then it is the team’s responsibility to notify us 7 days or more in advance or you will be liable for payment of the match fees for that particular week. Teams who do not attend points matches will not receive their 5-0 win for that week regardless of whether they have provided 7 days notice.
    • 9.6 If a team fails to turn up for a scheduled fixture without giving Match Night Leagues 7 days’ notice then they lose the fixture 5-0 and will be charged the full match fee for the missed game. Teams who wish to withdraw from the league need to give two weeks’ notice of their intent to withdraw from the league and are required to pay for and play two full matches prior to withdrawal; failure to adhere to this will result in the Team Captain being charged their full two weeks match fees for both missed fixtures.
    • 9.7 If a team fails to attend two consecutive matches and fails to inform Match Night Leagues Head Office of their intention to withdraw from the league then they will be liable for both missed match fees and will also be charged their two weeks withdrawal notice on top of these match fees.
    • 9.8 Please note that teams are automatically entered into a new league season unless they provide us with the required two weeks withdrawal notice prior to the end of the season. If a team wishes to withdraw from the league and only notifies us of this at the beginning of the new season then they will be required to play the first two matches of the new season before being able to withdraw, failure to adhere to this will result in the team being charged their match fees for these two fixtures.