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Rules for 5 a-side Football


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Basic Rules for playing Garden 5 a-side Football:

5 a-side football is played in much the same way as regular football but with a few changes that are necessary for playing a smaller scale game. 5 a-side football can be played either outdoors in a garden, park, beach or any other open space or it can be played indoors. 5 a-side football is a fast moving game played for a shorter period time than full size football. A 5 a-side football game typically lasts between ten and twenty minutes each half.

The basic rules of full size football apply to 5 a-side football and should be followed wherever possible. There is not an organising body that regulates the rules of 5 a-side football, instead the rules of 5 a-side football vary between different leagues and age groups, sometimes with the players simply agreeing upon the rules before starting a game. There is also a version of 5 a-side football called Futsal developed in South America that is becoming popular and which has an organised rules structure governed by FIFA.

The Team:

The 5 a-side football team is made up of 4 outfield players and a goalkeeper. The team can be set out as 2 forwards, 2 defenders and goalkeeper or perhaps a goalkeeper, 1 defender, 2 midfield players and 1 forward player. The goalkeeper should wear something to distinguish him or her from the other members of the team.

Because of the small size of the 5 a-side football pitch, there is more scope for players to play in different roles, such as defending in one move, and attacking in the next. Five a side football is a fast moving game involving a lot of passing and dribbling. The long ball game is not an option because of limited space, players and the height restrictions of the game.


When playing 5 a-side football players should wear trainers and not traditional studded boots, although shin pads should still be worn. Two goals with nets and a football are really all the equipment that is needed to play five a side football.

The Pitch:

Many 5 a-side football pitches are surrounded by rebound boards that ensure that the ball never goes out of play. Playing surfaces include grass, board -as in gyms, tarmac and Astroturf. 5 a-side football is also often played outside in an area with no markings and no rebound boards.

The 5 a side football pitch should be between the maximum size of 42.65m x 25.91m (L x W) and the minimum size of 16.76m x 25.91m (L x W).

The centre of the 5 a-side football pitch is marked and surrounded by a marked circle of 91cm radius. Sometimes a half way line is marked across the pitch.

The penalty areas of a 5 a-side football pitch are marked by a semi circle of approximately 7.62m radius drawn from the centre of each goal line.

The Goals:

The goals can vary in size for 5 a-side football but are much smaller than the full size game. Sizes of goal typically measure 4.88m x 1.2m (L x H) for a senior game to 3.66m x 1.2m (L x H) for a junior game but mini goal sizes are also acceptable, especially for children, and can be as small as 2.44m x 1.2m (L x H)

The Rules of 5 a-side Football:

The choice of playing ends should be decided by tossing a coin.

When beginning a game of 5 a-side football the ball should be dropped by the referee into the centre circle between one player from each side, both of whom should stand no closer than 0.91m (3ft) from the centre mark. After each goal scored, play should be restarted in the same way.

Headers are not allowed in 5 a-side football game and the ball should not be played above head height. If this rule is infringed a free kick should be awarded to the opposing team.

If a goalkeeper inadvertently kicks or throws the ball above head height in a game, the game should be restarted with a roll in corner awarded to the opposing team.

There are no indirect free kicks allowed in 5 a-side football. This means that it permissible to score directly from a free kick.

In 5 a-side football game, the goalkeeper is the only player allowed in the goal area, and if defending players enter this area, or the goalkeeper leaves it, a penalty is awarded to the opposing team.

There is no offside rule in 5 a-side football.

Sliding tackles are not allowed.

When 5 a-side football is played on a pitch without barriers surrounding the playing area, the opposing side uses a kick rather than a throw in if the ball goes out of play (When playing 5 a-side football on a pitch with rebound barriers, the ball does not go out of play).

The normal rules of football apply to the goalkeeper when receiving back passes. The goalkeeper must kick the ball back into play and not handle it. If the goalkeeper handles the ball the opposing team is awarded a free kick to be taken 2m from outside the goal area (penalty box)

When taking penalties, free kicks, corners etc players have to remain a 2m distance from the player in possession of the ball.

When taking a penalty the player is not allowed to take more than two steps.

Up to three substitutions per game can be made.

The winners are the team that scores most goals in the allotted time

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