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Rules and Regulations - Match Day


  1. A match is played by two teams, each consisting of not more than eleven players, one of whom must act as goalkeeper, 7 players is enough to start a game.
  2. Players equipment:
    • Dangerous articles must not be worn, i.e. earrings, watches, rings etc.
    • It is compulsory for all players to wear shin guards, which must be covered entirely by the stockings.
    • Street glasses are not acceptable while playing, sports glasses must be worn.
    • Visible undergarments such as cycling shorts are authorised. These should be the same colour as the shorts.
    • Goalkeepers may wear tracksuit trousers if the state of the field or play or weather conditions render it necessary.
    • The referee's decision on the field is final.
  3. A game is normally divided into two equal periods, the time being dependent on the grade game duration as set down.A halftime rest of 5 min's is allowed and for the second half the teams change over to play from opposite ends of the filed (referees can extend the period of play to make up for time lost through accident or any other cause).If the game has started late, the length of playing time must be reduced to finish on time allowing following games to start on time
  4. A game commences from a kick-off in the center of the field and the decision as to which side should take the kick is decided by the toss of a coin. The team that wins the toss must choose the direction in which to play; the team that loses the toss must kick-off. The team that kicks off must play the ball into their opponents half of the field.
  5. To score, a team must direct the ball into their opponent's goal without throwing it or knocking it by hand or arm.
  6. lf a player propels the ball by any method into his own goal, his/her opponents score a goal.
  7. The team scoring the greater number of goals is the winner.
  8. The ball may be kicked, butted or propelled with any part of the body except the hands or arms.But the goalkeeper is permitted to handle the ball when within his/her penalty area subject to the conditions given below:


When playing as a goalkeeper and within his/her own penalty area, from the moment he/she takes control of the ball with his/her hands he/she may take as many steps as he/she wishes for a maximum of 6 seconds while holding or bouncing the ball. He/she must then release the ball into play. If after having gained control of the ball with his/her hands he/she returns the ball to ground, revealing the intention of playing the ball with his/her feet, he/she can no longer touch the ball or pick it up with his/her hands until it has either been played by an opposing player whether inside or outside of the penalty area or played by another player of the same team outside of the penalty area.

(Note, in the junior game it must be realised that some leeway must be given to young players in the interpretation of this law)


  1. Back pass: The pass to the goalkeeper rule should be over interpreted for young players. The essential features are if the ball is passed to the goalkeeper by a member in his side, then the goalkeeper cannot pick it up without incurring an indirect free kick against him at the position the ball is picked up.
  2. The ball may be passed to the goalkeeper by members of his own team by any other part of his body other than the foot (as long as no tricks e.g. flicking the ball up, are used). The goalkeeper may not pick up the ball when it is received directly from a throw-in from a team-mate.
  3. A goalkeeper may only hold the ball for a maximum of 6 seconds before releasing it into play. Note that this applies only the duration which the ball may be in the keepers hands – if he/she drops the ball to his/her feet it is then deemed to be available for play and is not subject to the 6 second limitation.
  4. The goalkeeper may take the goal kick from any position within the goal box (and hence defensive free kicks in the goal box).


The fundamental principle here is that the offside law applies at the instant the ball is played (NOT, when the ball is received). (Thus a player cannot be played onside by the ball touching an opponent – a common misconception).

It is not an offence in itself to be in an offside position.

A player is in an offside position if:

  • He/She is nearer to their opponent's goal line than both the ball and the second last opponent.

A player is not in an offside position if:

  • He/She is in his own half of the field of play or
  • He/She is level with the second last opponent or
  • He/She is level with the last two opponents

A player in an offside position is only penalised if, at that moment the ball touches or is played by one of their team, he/she, in the opinion of the referee, involved in active play by:

- Interfering with play or

  • Interfering with an opponent or
  • Gaining an advantage by being in that position

There is no offside offence if a player receives the ball directly from:

  • A goal kick or
  • A throw in or
  • A corner kick

For any offside offence, the referee awards an indirect free kick to the opposing team to be taken from the place where the infringement occurred.


These are awarded to an attacking team if any of the of the nine penalty offences is deliberately committed by a defending player inside his penalty area.

These offences are:

  • Charging an opponent dangerously or violently.
  • Charging an opponent from behind.
  • Holding an opponent.
  • Striking or attempting to strike an opponent.
  • Pushing an opponent.
  • Tripping an opponent.
  • Kicking or attempting to kick an opponent.
  • Jumping at an opponent.
  • Handling the ball.

The penalty kick is taken from the penalty spot as marked (or for full sized fields, 12 yards from the goal line) from the goalmouth, and only the goalkeeper is allowed to be in a position to save the ball from entering the goal. The goalkeeper must stand without moving forward of (may move sideways) the goal line until the ball has been kicked. Goals are often scored from penalty kicks and whilst there is every sympathy for the unfortunate goalkeeper, they are only brought about because of deliberate misconduct by his/her own team.


Referees are empowered to award free kicks to one side for offences committed by the other. These fee kicks are divided into two distinct groups:

  • For breaking one of the general rules of the game, an indirect free kick is awarded to the other side.
  • For deliberate act, which is against the spirit of fair play, or is likely to cause injury to a player on the other side, a direct free kick is awarded to the other side. (This includes all of the penalty offences, 1 to 9).Indirect free kicks cannot directly score a goal. Direct free kicks can directly score a goal.


Fouls frequently occur during a match, but the referee will distinguish between the accidental offence and the intentional or reckless foul. If a player persistently infringes the laws of the game, the referee will caution the player and if a player in the opinion of the referee is guilty of violent conduct or serious foul play, the player shall be sent off the field.

Deliberate fouls spoil a football game and no matter how enthusiastic a player may be a spirit or sportsmanship must be observed. Several acts of unfair or dangerous play are shown, all of which will result in the player's opponents being awarded a free kick or penalty kick.

Distinction between serious foul play AND violent conduct:

Serious foul play:

When a player commits one of the 9 offences punishable with a direct free kick and uses disproportionate and unnecessary strength when fighting for the ball against an opponent. It is not serious foul play if against a team-mate, the referee, a linesman, a spectator etc.

Violent conduct:

Is the aggression of a player towards an opponent without their fighting for the ball and also when a player attacks one of his team mates, the referee, a linesman, a spectator etc.

Deliberate (cynical or professional) fouls in and around the penalty area including deliberate hand ball, to prevent an opponent scoring, will be dealt with severely. A yellow card (booking) will be given in a situation deemed to not lead to a goal, but a red card (sending off) will be given for a situation deemed to be a direct goal scoring opportunity. Young players should be made fully aware of the penalties for this type of foul play and coaches should coach fair play in order to avoid the repercussions for young players not just in the present, but for their future as senior players.

This situation has been further defined with particular reference to tackling from behind; the moving of arms and elbows (without due care) too near opponents whilst challenging for the ball; slide tackles in which a player making the tackle brings down the opponent instead of making contact with the ball.

FIFA has made it very apparent to referees that they have been too lenient and the game is a game of skill with penalties being handed out to those who seek to prevent this by foul and/or violent play. Again, foul or violent play is rarely seen in junior soccer, especially at the younger levels. However it is the job of coaches to make the players (and their parents) very aware of the current thinking of FIFA towards the playing of the game of soccer. Of course these sentiments are echoed in the Hillary Commission's Fair Play policy.


The ball to be thrown in by a player from the opposing side at the place as indicated by the Referee. If not thrown from the correct place, the throw to be taken by the player from the opposing side.

Time wasting: time wasting by the side throwing in the ball will result in the loss of the throw: e.g. Player picks the ball up and makes to throw, but drops the ball behind his/her back and another team mate comes from the field of play and takes his place, or takes too long in the referee's opinion to get the ball in to play.

The ball is still in play until it has completely crossed the touchline or goal line.

If the ball swerves over the line in the air and lands back in the field, it is out of play. When a ball is out of play after crossing a touchline, a throw in must take place. The throw in can only be taken by a player belonging to the opposite team from that of the last player who touched the ball.

The correct throw in:

  • The ball must be thrown in with both hands, passing the ball over the head, and both feet must be on the ground with part of each foot either on the touch line or outside the touch line at the point where the ball left the field of play.
  • A goal shall not be scored directly from a throw in.
  • Players are not allowed to attempt to hinder the thrower.


  • The referee should prevent any player who is bleeding profusely from taking any further part in a match until he has been adequately treated and the bleeding has stopped. Any seriously injured player should not be moved until the nature of the injury has been ascertained.


  • For safety reasons all goals, especially portable ones, must be anchored securely to the ground. Nets must be anchored with plastic pegs.
  • Players must have their shirts tucked in at all times and also must have their socks up at all times. At the junior level it would be a matter of pride in appearance of the team that this would be the norm, but under the rules it is insisted upon.
  • Players may score directly from kick-offs and goal kicks. At set pieces (corners, free kicks, penalty kicks), the ball is deemed to be in play once it has moved.
  • A reminder that in senior soccer, only one person may convey tactical instructions to a team and this must be done from within a technical area (5 meters either side of the halfway line). In junior soccer, coaches have always been allowed to coach from the sideline (and for the very young – from the pitch). This practice will continue since it should be a teaching process. It should be restricted to the one person and coaches should be aware that coaching from behind the goal line by anyone is not permitted – unfortunately this has been the cause of sideline arguments with parents leaning on goalposts to instruct goalkeepers and often intimidate opponents.
  • Coaches/managers are asked to co-operate by moving supporters to the sidelines and by setting a positive example themselves. Common sense should apply – just remember the idea is to teach young people the game, not abuse them.


  • Remember that you are dealing with young people who are learning the game. The younger the players, the more inexperienced they will be. Teach players the laws of the game; do not expect deep knowledge (after all many adults do not understand the laws); do not be harsh in the application of the laws; make sure players understand the reason for your decision. Rather than penalise young players, teach them. For example, get a player to take a throw in again so that it is correct. Above all use common sense.