5-a-side Rules

Rules for the Governance and Law Of Small Sided Football


The following is a comprehensive list of rules and regulations relating to the playing of small-sided football at Gôl Centres Limited facilities.

Small-sided football means 5, 6 or 7 a side football. It does not include mini-soccer.

In particular these rules relate to:

The Terms and Conditions for playing
The Laws of the game.
The Discipline Procedures.

The Terms and conditions for playing

1.0 The Playing area.

1.1 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

1.2 The centre mark is indicated at the midpoint of the pitch.

1.3 The pitch is surrounded by barriers, which shall mark the boundaries of the pitch.

1.4 Goals must be placed in the centre of the two smaller boundaries.

    3.5.They consist of two upright posts equidistant from each corner and joined at the top by a horizontal crossbar.
    3.6.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

1.7 Both goalposts and crossbar have the same width and depths of 8cm. Nets, made of hemp, jute or nylon, are attached to the posts and crossbars behind the goals.

1.8 The goals may be portable but must be anchored securely to the ground.

1.9 The playing surface must be flat and even and may be of artificial material.

1.10 The ball is: Spherical, made of leather or other suitable material and of a size appropriate to the age group playing.

    3.11. 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.

2.0 A Gôl Centres Limited “League”

2.1 Each Gôl Centres Limited 5 or 7-a-side Division will consist of a minimum of four and a maximum of twelve clubs (hereafter known as “teams”).

    3.2.A league season will normally constitute each team in the division playing each other twice; smaller divisions may operate a different procedure to enable all divisions to finish at the same time.
    3.3.Three points shall be awarded for a win, one for a draw and no points for a loss.
    3.4.League position shall be decided by: a) Total points b) Results between teams c) Goal difference d) Goals scored
    3.5. Gôl Centres Limited policy is that 2 teams are promoted and two teams are relegated from each division at the end of the season. However in the event of teams not re-registering, withdrawing or being withdrawn from the league, Gôl Centres Limited reserves the right to promote, relegate or otherwise alter the fixtures of any team, within reason at any time.

3.0 Team Entry

3.1 Teams may be entered by the team organiser completing the prescribed league application form and player registration forms and paying the “registration fee” (including the “security deposit”) in full.

3.2 Newly registered teams may be placed on a “standby list and required to play grading games to ascertain their playing standard, whilst waiting for a suitable league place to become available.

3.3 Gôl Centres Limited reserves the right to enter new teams into vacated league spaces at any stage during the season. These teams will take over the points and records of the team they replaced.

3.4 Any team owing money may not be allowed to enter a new season. Records are kept of all monies owed.  Teams who have an outstanding balance will risk losing their place to teams on the “standby list”.

3.5 Team organisers must sign the league agreement form, noting the liability disclaimers contained within. Failure to sign the form will result in the team being withdrawn from the league.

4.0 Player registration and availability

4.1 All players in adult leagues must be a minimum of 16 years of age and the team organiser must be a minimum of 18 years of age.

4.2 Players may be registered by a team a maximum of 48 hours following the end of a given match by a team member or a member of Gôl Centres staff.

4.3 All teams may register a minimum of 5 and a maximum of 15 (20 for 7-a-side) players that can be used per season. Teams may add to their squad during a season as long as the number of players does not exceed a total of 15 (20 for 7-a-side). All players must be registered at reception.

4.4 Eight players may be selected for each match, 5 players and three substitutes. For 7-a-side, ten players may be selected, 7 players and three substitutes

4.5 Players once registered for a particular team for a season may not transfer to another team in the same division. Exceptions may be made with the agreement of both teams and Gôl Centres (who will impose a designated “cooling off” period during which the player can’t play for either side)

4.6 Any team found with suspended players on the field will have the match awarded to the opposition with a 10-0 score line; there will be no re-imbursement of match fee and a point will be deducted from their team. Gôl Centres Limited reserves the right to deduct additional points if it suspects teams are deliberately attempting to gain an advantage, by playing unregistered or suspended players, they may also expel teams from the league if persistent breaches occur.

4.7 Any team found to be deliberately falsifying team sheets will have the match points awarded to the opposition with a 10-0 score line and a point will be deducted from their team.

4.8 Should a team have already registered the maximum number of players for the season, and still be unable to raise a side they may use “Guest players” to fulfil the fixture. Guest players may not be permanently registered to another team in the same league division as the team they are guesting for.

4.9 A player may be allowed to stand in to play for another team within the same division, but only if the following conditions are met:

The player in question is not precluded from playing by any disciplinary ban
The player or players may only make up to the 4th player and must be removed from the field of play if subsequently an officially registered player or players joins the team after kick off.
The Stand-in player must have permission prior to kick off from: Gôl Centres Limited management.

4.10 Team organisers must maintain a record of guest appearances in order to avoid persistent “guesting” does not occur.  Gôl Centres may remove teams from the league found to be persistently using “guest” players, should a replacement side be available.

4.11    An individual player must, also, take responsibility to ensure that he/she is registered to play.  Any player playing unregistered can, and will, receive a suspension from all leagues for a period of time defined by Gôl Centres Management.  Repeat offences will lead to increased suspensions.

5.0 Prior to a League fixture

5.1     The team organiser must pay the match fee at reception. On doing so they will receive the match team folder and will be asked to nominate the maximum 8 (10 for 7-a-side) players to take part in the match.

5.2     The Match referee will not commence any game until he/she has received both teams match tickets and sign-in sheets.

5.3     Any team arriving late for a scheduled fixture will begin their game 1-0 down.  One goal will be awarded for every further 4 minute period after the scheduled kick off time.  After 12 minutes the offending team will concede the game.  The length of the game will be reduced accordingly.

6.0 Cancellations, Postponements and Re-arrangements

6.1 All games are to be played as per the original fixture list unless one of the following exceptions applies:

Adverse weather conditions making the pitches unplayable. Any decision to cancel the game can only be made by a member of Gôl Centres Limited Management. All games will be re-arranged by Gôl Centres Limited staff within an appropriate time scale.
Public Holiday, if the centre is closed, games will be re-arranged by Gôl Centres Limited staff. All rearrangements will be verified with the team organiser and once agreed will be final. If the centre is not closed, games will be as scheduled.

Procedure if you wish to rearrange a game or kick off time

Notice period given:

In excess of 14 days

The match will be rearranged by the League Co-ordinator for any date before the end of the current season which can be agreed by both sides.  If the match is not played by the end of the season the result will be awarded against the team who requested the fixture to be moved, however, there will be no match fee.

Less than 14 days but more than 48 hours notice

The match can be rearranged but it must be played BEFORE its original scheduled date.  If both sides cannot agree on a date to play beforehand it must be played as the original fixture list states.  Gôl will always help to find guest players if individuals are struggling for a team.

If you do not play the game a walk over will be given against your side and you will need to pay both teams match fees.

Less than 48 hours notice

Gôl are unable to rearrange a fixture with less than 48 hours notice but will always help with players.  This includes contacting players we know are looking for teams or even a member of staff helping you to fulfil your fixture.

If you do not play the game a walk over will be given against your side and you will need to pay both teams match fees.

The general rule is that a team may only request for one game to be rearranged per season.  At the Centre Managers discretion a second game may be allowed in exceptional circumstances e.g. Bank Holidays.
The request for rearrangement of a game must be given in writing, dated and witnessed by a member of staff. Ideally sent through an email to the centres main address.

7.0 League Replacements and withdrawals

7.1 If a league team pulls out or is removed at any point in the season, Gôl Centres Limited will attempt to replace them from teams on the standby list. The new team will inherit the points total and league position of the team they are replacing up to week 10, thereafter the matches will be awarded 10-0, but a friendly match must be played for the opposing team to gain these points, it is not automatic. If Gôl Centres Limited cannot replace the team immediately, all scheduled fixtures in the meantime will be awarded to the opposition by a score of 10-0, as well as 3 points. The results of matches involving the exiting team prior to their departure will stand.

7.2 Any team withdrawing from the league will be billed their team fee for the league games they are failing to fulfil, for the remainder of the season, or until their place in that league has been filled    .        


8.1 Teams are required to fulfil all fixtures and are liable to pay the fee whether the game is played or not. Failure to turn up for the game will result in the team being subject to the following conditions and payment regulations.

  • If a team fails to turn up for any scheduled game or rearrangement the game will be declared a forfeit win to the opposition, 3 points and a 10-0 result. The opposing team must be available to play a friendly match in order to claim these points.  The team which failed to turn up will also be docked 1 point. No exceptions.
  • The team who cancelled or failed to turn up will be billed for both teams match fees.
  • The Match fee/Good Faith Bond must be re-paid within 5 days.
  • Failure to make payment may result in a team being removed from the league (see league replacements and withdrawals)
  • Any debts owed by a team will be subject to debt collection in the name of the team organiser.
  • Local rules will apply to junior leagues at the discretion of the Duty Manager.
  • Please note a repayment scheme can be arranged for Team organisers to pay outstanding bills over a three-week period.
  • Finally, should a game be abandoned at any stage with neither team at fault, the remainder of the match shall be played at a convenient time for both sides. The fees paid for the original match will be retained and the replay arranged free of charge.

9.0 Behaviour

    1.Any player caught consuming alcohol prior to a league game or thought to be   under the influence of drugs, prescription or otherwise will not be permitted to play and risks having the game abandoned.
    2. Gôl Centres Limited can prevent anyone entering the premises if they think their behaviour or appearance is unsuitable.
    3.Players must show consideration for other people in the premises. Gôl Centres Limited will not tolerate rude or abusive language or the threat or use of violence towards other guests or its staff.
    4. Racial Abuse and/or acts of Discrimination will not be tolerated, any person(s) found to be engaging in such actions will be served a Life Ban from all Gôl Centres Limited Establishments
    5. Players must obey notices and signs on display in the premises. Players and their guests should ensure that their children or other junior members under their supervision keep to the rules displayed at all times whilst on the premises. Players are responsible for the behaviour and actions of their children at all times whilst they are on the premises or using the facilities.
    6.Unless the child is attending an organised Gôl Centres Limited activity, children under 16 must be supervised at all times whilst on the premises by a Parent or guardian.
    7. All teams will be responsible for supporters of their team, whether team members or not. Exclusion from the league will result for teams whose supporters consistently cause a nuisance. Referees have the authority to remove any unruly supporters from the pitch side, or if necessary abandon the game.
    8. If a supporter is guilty of verbal abuse toward either the referee or the opposing team, the game will be stopped and will not continue until the individual is in the building. Should the abuse continue then the game will be awarded to the opposition with a 10-0 score line.
    9. Any individual threatening to harm or inflicting harm on any Referee or Member of Gôl Centres Limited’s Staff, will not only receive a life ban from Gôl Centres Limited, but the incident will also be reported to all relevant National associations, who have the power to enforce a ban from all forms of competitive football. The Police will also be involved.

10.0 Health & Safety

10.1 Shin Pads must be worn at all times during the game (including goalkeepers).

10.2 Jewellery must be removed or taped up during matches (including goalkeepers).

10.3 In the event of a fire, players and guests should make their way calmly to the nearest clearly marked exit.

10.4 Crockery and glass are not to be taken into changing areas or onto the pitches.

10.5 Smoking is not permitted on the premises.

10.6 Pets are not allowed on the premises or grounds (with the exception of guide dogs).

11.0 Lockers

11.1 Pitch fees do not cover the cost of lockers. Players can hire lockers on a daily basis. If a key is lost to any locker hired, then the hirer will be liable for the cost of a new lock and key.

11.2 Any property stored in lockers is done so entirely at the hirer’s risk. Gôl Centres Limited accepts no responsibility.

11.3 Gôl Centres Limited is not responsible for any items removed from lockers that have not been paid for or have been left behind.

12.0 Lost property

12.1 Any item of lost property found should be handed to Gôl Centres Limited Reception. Items found will be available for collection between 10am and 10pm. Gôl Centres Limited will retain lost items for 6 weeks maximum, thereafter they may be given to charity.

13.0 Parking

13.1 Players and guests must park only in the designated parking spaces.

13.2 Motorbikes or scooters are not permitted beside the pitches and must be parked in the car park or designated area.

13.3 Gôl Centres Limited reserves the right to clamp or remove vehicles parked outside designated areas, or parked in disabled spaces when not entitled.

13.4 Gôl Centres Limited accepts no responsibility for any loss or damage (howsoever caused) to players or guest’s vehicles whilst on our premises.

14.0 Telephone calls

14.1 Gôl Centres Limited may record phone calls between players, their guests and members of staff.

15.0 CCTV

15.1 The Gôl Centres Limited premises are covered by CCTV cameras and activity is recorded 24 hours a day.

16.0 Liability

16.1 Gôl Centres Limited liability for damage or loss to user property is strictly limited to any damage or loss suffered as a result of Gôl Centres Limited negligence. With this exception Gôl Centres Limited will not accept liability for the safety of users personal property brought on to the premises. Any property stored in lockers is done so entirely at the user’s risk. Vehicles parked on Gôl Centres Limited property and all contents contained within are also at the owner’s risk.

16.2 Gôl Centres Limited staff are expressly forbidden to hold valuables (including locker keys) of any kind on behalf of players. Gôl Centres Limited does not accept responsibility for any goods or items left within or in the care of its staff.

16.3 Gôl Centres Limited cannot accept any liability for any accident or injury to any member, child or user that may happen on the premises or within the grounds of the premises, other than liability that arises from Gôl Centres Limited’s negligence. If any member (or other user) suffers an accident or injury whilst on the premises, it, and its circumstances must be reported immediately to the Duty Manager.

17.0 Physical Activity

17.1 Five-a-side is a vigorous sport and players and their guests should only undertake the activity to a level, which reflects their level of fitness. Players and their guests are responsible for monitoring their own condition during play. Gôl Centres Limited will not be responsible for any harm you may suffer as a result of taking part in any activity on our premises unless it is caused by our negligence.

17.2 If any player or guest suffers any unusual reaction to playing or feels unwell, they must immediately:

  • Stop the activity.
  • Report it to the Duty Manager.

The Laws of the Game

LAW 1. The number of players.

A match is played between two teams, consisting of a maximum of 5 (7 in 7-a-side) players, one of whom is the goalkeeper.

The minimum number of players permitted is 4 (5 for 7-a-side), one of whom must be the goalkeeper.

Up to 8 players (10 for 7-a-side) may be named for a match.

If any team is reduced to 3 players (or 4 players in the 7-a-aside version of the game) due to misconduct, the game will be awarded to their opponents with a score of 10-0. A reduction to 3 players (or 4 players in the 7-a-aside version of the game) means a permanent reduction through sending off, not temporarily two players in the sin bin. Where 3 players are sent to the sin bin at the same time then the game will be awarded to their opponents with a score of 10-0.

Substitution Procedure

The maximum amount of substitutes permitted is three.  The number of substitutions made during a match is unlimited. A player who has been replaced may return to the pitch as a substitute for another player.

Substitutions can only take place during a break in play, when the ball is deemed “dead” by the referee.

The player entering the playing area must wait until the player being substituted has left the pitch.

The player entering the playing area immediately becomes ‘active’ in play.

Changing places with the Goalkeeper

Any of the other outfield players or substitutes may change places with the goalkeeper. There is no restriction to the amount of times the goalkeeper may be changed but the following conditions must be observed, as is the case with all substitutions:

  • The referee must be informed before the change is made
  • The change can only be made during a stoppage in play
  • The referee is satisfied there is no intention to deliberately time waste.
  • The replacement goalkeeper must wear a jersey which distinguishes him/her from all other players.

Infringements/Sanctions relating to this law

If whilst a substitution is being made, a substitute enters the pitch and play resumes before the departing player has completely left the field:

  • The play will be stopped.
  • The player being replaced is instructed to leave the pitch.
  • Play is restarted by the award of an indirect free kick, to the opposing team from the place where the ball was situated when the game was stopped. However if the ball was inside the penalty area then a free kick will be awarded to the opposition on the penalty line nearest to the position of the ball when play was stopped.
  • If a player repeatedly offends he/she may be sin binned or with further infringements, sent off, at the discretion of the referee.

LAW 2. Players Equipment


A player must not use equipment or wear anything that is dangerous to himself/herself or another player.

Jewellery must be removed or taped up, this includes Goalkeepers wearing gloves who should remove rings or tape them up.

Basic equipment

The basic compulsory equipment of a player is:

  • A jersey or shirt, outfield players should wear a recognisable strip of the same colour. The Goalkeepers shirt should distinguish him/her from the other outfield players.
  • Shorts or track suit bottoms
  • Socks
  • 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: Astro-boots, Soft rubber moulded boots or Trainers.  Screw-in studs and Blades are not permitted.

Infringements/Sanctions relating to this law

The referee is instructed not to allow any game to take place where the player or players are not properly attired. This includes all the above. If the player or players are unable to wear the correct equipment then, in such cases the game will be awarded to the opposition 10-0 and the team infringing will forfeit its match fee.

Players that can correct their equipment will be instructed to leave the field of play and do so. They may not return to the pitch without first checking with the referee that their equipment is now correct. This must take place during a stoppage in play.

LAW 3. The Referee

The authority of the Referee

Each match is controlled by a referee who has full authority to enforce the Laws of the Game in connection with the match to which he/she has been appointed, from the moment he/she enters the locality where the pitch is situated until he/she leaves.

Powers and duties

The Referee:

  • Enforces the Laws of the Game
  • Allows play to continue when the team against which an offence has been committed will benefit from such an advantage and penalises the original offence if the anticipated advantage does not ensue at the time.
  • Keeps a record of the match and provides the appropriate authorities with a match report with a match report which includes information on any disciplinary action taken against players, and/or team officials and any other incidents which occur before, during or after the match.
  • Acts as a timekeeper
  • Stops, suspends or terminates matches for any infringement of the Laws or due to any kind of outside interference
  • Takes disciplinary action against players guilty of cautionable or sending off offences.
  • Takes action against team officials or supporters who fail to conduct themselves in a responsible manner and may at his/her discretion expel them from the playing area and its immediate surrounds, or if necessary abandon the game.
  • Ensures that no unauthorised persons enter the pitch
  • Stops the match if, in his/her opinion, a player is seriously injured and ensures he/she is removed from the pitch
  • Ensures that any player bleeding from a wound leaves the playing area
  • Allows play to continue until the ball is dead, if a player is, in his/her opinion only slightly injured.
  • Ensures the ball used conforms to Gôl Centres Limited requirements.
  • Makes use of timed suspensions to temporarily exclude players guilty of infringements of the laws.
  • Makes excluded players aware of the end of their period of suspension.

Decisions of the Referee

In matters pertaining to a specific game, the refereeing of the game and application of the rules during that game, the referee’s decision will be final.

LAW 4. Start of Play


The choice of ends is decided by a toss of the coin, the team winning the toss will have choice of ends; the team losing the toss will have kick off.

Kick off

A kick off is a way of starting or restarting play:

At the start of a match
After a goal has been scored
At the start of the second half of the match
At the start of each period of extra time where applicable

A goal may be scored direct from a kick-off. There must be no second touch by the initial kicker.


  • All players must be in their own half of the field
  • The opponents of the team taking the kick-off are at least 2m (or 5m in 7-a-side) from the ball until it is played.
  • The ball is stationary on the centre mark
  • The referee gives a signal
  • The ball is in play when it is kicked
  • The kicker may not touch the ball a second time until it has touched another player.

After a team scores the other team takes the kick-off.

Infringements/Sanctions relating to this Law

If the kicker touches the ball a second time before it has touched another player:

An indirect free kick is awarded to the opposing team to be taken from the place where the infringement occurred. For any other infringement of the kick-off procedure the kick is retaken.

Dropped Ball

A dropped ball is a way of restarting the game after a temporary stoppage


The referee drops the ball at the place where it was located when play was stopped, unless it was in the goalkeeper’s possession, when the goalkeeper shall, at the referee’s signal; return the ball into play by throwing the ball underarm from any point within the penalty area.

Play restarts when the ball touches the ground.

If the drop ball is required near the kickboards then the referee shall drop the ball at least 2m from the boards in the appropriate place.

Infringements/Sanctions relating to this rule

The ball is dropped again:

  • If it is touched by another player before it makes contact with the ground.
  • If the ball leaves the playing area after it makes contact with the ground without a player touching it.

LAW 5. The Ball in and out of play.

Ball out of play

The ball is out of play when:

  • It has wholly crossed the goal line or becomes caught in the catch netting surrounding the pitch, whether on the ground or in the air.
  • Play has been stopped by the referee
  • If it leaves the confines of the pitch.


In the event of the ball being out of play due to a goal being scored the opposing team will restart the game via a kick-off.

If the ball becomes caught in the catch netting the referee may restart the game by use of a drop ball at the nearest point to where the incident occurred and at least 2m from the boards.

If the ball leaves the confines of the pitch the ball will be returned to play via the nearest goalkeeper.

Ball in play

The ball is in play at all other times including when:

  • It rebounds from a goal post, crossbar, or kickboards.
  • It rebounds from the referee when on the pitch.

Board height

The ball must not travel above “board height” this is defined as the height of the kickboards on the current pitch, the referees decision on all height issues is final.

If the ball rebounds from a crossbar, goalpost, kickboard, referee or goalkeeper and travels above “board height” then play continues.

Heading the ball is not permitted.

Note, in 7-a-side, there is no height restriction and players CAN head the ball.

Infringements and sanctions relating to “board height”

If the ball travels above “board 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.

LAW 6. The method of scoring.

Goal scored

Except otherwise provided by these laws, a goal is scored when the whole of the ball passes over the goal line, between the posts and under the crossbar, unless it has been thrown, carried or intentionally propelled by the hand or arm by a player of the attacking side, the goalkeeper included.

A goal may be scored from any point outside the goal area and within the field of play. The only exception is that the goalkeepers may not score in their opponent’s goal.

Winning Team

The team scoring the greater number of goals during the match is the winner, provided no disciplinary matters preclude them. If both teams score an equal number of goals or if no goals are scored, the match is drawn.

Competition Rules

For matches ending in a draw, competition rules may state provisions involving extra time or penalty kicks to decide the outcome of any individual match.

LAW 7. Offside

There is no offside.

LAW 8. Fouls & Misconduct

Fouls and misconduct are penalised as follows:

Direct free kick

A direct free kick is awarded to the opposing team if a player commits any of the following offences in a manner considered by the referee to be careless, reckless or using excessive force:

  • 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

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

  • 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, the ball player will only have no more than 5 seconds to return the ball to play.

A direct free kick is awarded from the place where the infringement occurred.

A player may not stand closer than 2m from the ball when defending a free kick (or 5m in 7-a-side).

Free kicks must be taken 2m from kickboards or goal areas.

Penalty 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, runs through it to gain an advantage (i.e.: quicker route to the ball).
A goalkeeper deliberately leaves his/her penalty area to play the ball (if his/her momentum carries him/her out after playing the ball inside his/her area, this does not warrant an infringement).

Only outfield players are permitted to take penalty kicks during the game (except in competitions when local rules may apply).

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

Indirect Free Kick

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

  • Returns the ball to play with anything other than an underarm bowling action.
  • It is an offence for the goalkeeper to make a deliberate passing/kicking motion to play the ball, if the match referee deems it a block with no deliberate passing action the game should continue.
  • 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.

An indirect free kick is also awarded to the opposing team in the following circumstances, if in the opinion of the referee:

  • A player plays in a dangerous manner
  • A player deliberately impedes the progress of an opponent when the ball is not being played
  • An attacking player deliberately enters the opposing goalkeeper’s area, either to play the ball or, to gain an advantage (i.e.: quicker route to the ball).
  • The ball travels above “board height”.
  • Commits any other offence, not previously mentioned, for which play is stopped to caution or dismiss a player.
  • The ball is played whilst a player is “on the ground”
  • The player heads the ball

The indirect free kick is taken from the place where the infringement occurred, unless the infringement is by the goalkeeper in which case it will be taken 2 metres from goal area at the nearest point to where the infringement took place.

Discipline Procedures


Gôl Centres Limited shall administer a discipline process that takes into account the FA’s ‘Laws of Small Sided Football.
Gôl Centres Limited shall maintain a system whereby team lists are verified by the team organiser prior to the commencement of all league or cup matches and that disciplinary action will be taken against any team found to be submitting false information or playing a player currently serving a suspension.
Gôl Centres Limited shall maintain a process of checking that suspended players are not permitted to play at Gôl Centres Limited for any affiliated team whilst serving a suspension.
Gôl Centres Limited shall oblige all referees to submit reports detailing red card incidents.

Disciplinary Sanctions

Gôl Centres Limited operates its own disciplinary code in respect of Blue and Red card offences in excess of the minimum guidelines approved by the Football Association Council in respect of Small-sided soccer.

The use of temporary time suspensions (“sin bins”) and the exclusion of a player arising from the issuing of a red card are the disciplinary sanctions for use in small sided football, this may subsequently be combined with imposition of fines, the deduction of points or other methods of sanction against the player or the team (including temporary or permanent exclusion of the individual or team concerned) at the discretion of the Centre Manager.

Yellow cards are no longer to be used in Small-sided football; they are to be replaced with Blue cards.

The options for the match official imposing disciplinary sanctions are:

  • Player shown a blue card and temporarily suspended from play for 4 minutes (“sin binned”)
  • Player issued with a second blue card and permanently excluded from play.
  • Player issued with a red card and permanently excluded from play.

Temporary timed suspensions – Sin bin

A player temporarily suspended from play will be shown a blue card by the match official.

The player is obliged to leave the pitch and remain in the designated ‘sin bin’ area for 4 minutes.

A player will be informed by the referee when the period of suspension is over.

Temporary Timed suspension offences

A player is shown a blue card and temporarily excluded from play for 4 minutes if he/she commits any of the following offences:

  • Guilty of unsporting behaviour – including slide tackles
  • Shows dissent by word or action
  • Persistently infringes the Laws of the Game
  • Delays the restart of the game
  • Fails to respect the correct distance when play is restarted.
  • Enters or re-enters the pitch without the referee’s permission or infringes the substitution procedure.
  • Deliberately leaves the pitch without the referees permission

For any of these offences, an indirect free kick is awarded to the opposing team, to be taken from the place where the infringement occurred.

The offending team must be reduced to 4 men (including goalkeeper) for the entire 4 minutes of the suspension.

Sending-off offences & Red Cards

A player is sent off and shown the Red card if he commits any of the following offences:

  • Guilty of serious foul play
  • Guilty of violent conduct
  • Spits at an opponent or any other person
  • Denies the opposing team a goal or obvious scoring opportunity by either a deliberate handball or foul.
  • Uses offensive or insulting language
  • Racial Abuse or Discrimination towards others
  • Receives a second blue card in the same match

If play is stopped because a player is sent from the pitch, for either using abusive language or for receiving a second blue card, without having committed an additional infringement, play is restarted by the award of an indirect free kick, to the opposing team, to be taken at the point where the infringement occurred.


A player who has been sent off may not take any further part in the game. He/she must remove himself/herself from the area and retire to the pavilion or changing room.

The Referee may abandon the game if the Player fails to adhere to this rule or refuses to leave the field of play when instructed.

Double Blue card

A player collecting two Blue cards in a single game will automatically miss the next two weeks fixtures or be liable for a £5 fine.

Red Card Violent Conduct

Any player sent off for violent conduct will immediately be suspended for at least 10 weeks (and possibly indefinitely) from all league set ups within Gôl Centres Limited leagues.

Any attempt to harm or threaten a referee by a player, or a team will not only result in a life ban for all involved, it will also be reported to all relevant National Football Associations.  It is within their power to enforce a ban from all forms of competitive football.  The police will also be informed and Gôl Centres Limited have the right to remove the whole team from the league.

Violent conduct on or off the pitch will result in the immediate suspension of the individual or individuals concerned for the duration of the game, together with further sanctions at the discretion of the Centre Management.

Gôl Centres Limited reserve the right to ban any individual or the whole team, if guilty of violent conduct, from all participation in leagues or tournaments.

Repetition of Red Card Violent conduct

A player returning from a period of suspension for violent conduct will be placed on a 26-week probationary period. If the player in question receives a red card for violent conduct within this time period he/she will automatically be banned for a further 6 months.

On returning from this period of expulsion the player will once again be placed on a 26-week probationary period. If he/she re-offends during this time he/she will automatically be indefinitely banned from all Gôl Centres Limited pitches and premises.

All suspensions carry forward into subsequent seasons.

General Disciplinary Scale for Sendings off

(Implementation subject to Centre Manager’s discretion and authority)

A1: Assault on any Referee or any Gôl Centres Limited employee

Life Ban and £100 fine.

A2: Racial Abuse or Discrimination Towards Others

Life Ban and £50 fine.

A3: Spitting at an opposition player

20 weeks and £50 fine.

A4: Threatening physical harm to a Referee

20 weeks and £50 fine.

A5: Punch/headbutt thrown off the ball

12 months and £50 fine.

A6: Violent conduct, including: kicking, elbowing or striking an opponent during play

10 weeks and £30 fine.

A7: Offensive, insulting or abusive gestures or language towards a Referee

6 weeks and £20 fine.

A8: Spitting or other unseemly behaviour

6 weeks and £15 fine.

A9: Serious foul play

4 weeks and £10

A10: Offensive, aggressive, insulting or abusive language directed towards another player

4 weeks and £5

Match abandonments

On occasions when a league team fails to appear for a scheduled fixture, (after the allotted 12 minutes) the opposition will be awarded the three points and a 10-0 win.  The offending team will also be docked one point.  There shall be no re-imbursement of the match fee for the offending team.

If a match is abandoned by the referee, the offending team shall forfeit the match by a score line of 10-0. Unless the score-line already exceeds that in the oppositions favour, in which case the result will stand.  There shall be no re-imbursement of the match fee.

If a match is abandoned by the referee and both teams are at fault, then both teams will receive 10-0 forfeits against.  There shall be no re-imbursement of the match fee.

If a match is abandoned by the referee with neither team at fault, a full-length replay with scores starting at 0-0 shall decide the match. The fees paid for the original match will be retained and the replay arranged free of charge

If a team voluntarily leaves the field of play without fulfilling the fixture, this will be perceived by Gôl Centres as a resignation from the league.  The offending team may be removed from the leagues immediately and be charged for any remaining fixtures as per law 7.2


All league teams have the right to complain with regards all league matters, including; league set up, opposing teams, referee and management decisions, providing an accurate and factual written appeal is submitted. All appeals must be made in writing to Gôl Centres Limited Management no later than 48 hours after the fixture.

All communication in relation to complaints or grievances will be exclusively between the team organiser and Gôl Centres Limited. All reports from third parties or other witnesses to the incident will be held in strictest confidence.

Gôl Centres Limited Management may overturn any rule if they feel that a team is deliberately using an interpretation of the rules to gain an unfair advantage

Gôl Centres Limited have no power to overrule any bans/and or fines issued by the relevant FA Association therefore all appeals should be made directly to the FA.

Gôl Centres Limited reserves the right to alter these rules without prior consultation.

Gôl Centres Limited Management will decide on all matters of discipline not covered by the above rules

Gôl Centres Limited reserve the right to ban any individual or team from all future participation in the leagues.

The decision of Gôl Centres Limited management in all matters pertaining to the management of the league will be final.