5-A-Side Rules and Regulations


5 a side football is a ball sport for two teams of five players; the aim of the game is for the two teams to score goals by passing the ball up and down the pitch, team who scores the most goals win! 


Read our 5 a Side football rules and regulations below.


5 a Side Football rules of the game

Off Side, Penalty and Free Kicks

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

When a player is taking a free kick, the opposition shall be a minimum distance of 2m from the ball until it is in play. If the free kick is within the goalies area the opposition must be a minimum of 1m from the ball.

A penalty kick shall be taken from the penalty mark or six yards from the goal (depending on the pitch markings), directly in line with the centre of the goal. The player is to take a one step run up.

No player can enter the area until the penalty kick has been taken.


A goal is scored when the whole ball crosses the whole of the goal line between the goal posts and under the cross bar.

A player can not score directly from kick off without passing the ball to another player first.

Playing Area

If the ball crosses the side lines, play will be restarts from the point it left with an underarm roll-in by the opposition. Roll-ins shall not exceed head height. The roll-in will be awarded to the opposition if the ball exceeds head height. Players should be at least 2m from the ball when it an underarm throw is taken.

A player can not score directly from a roll in.

Normal football rules apply if the ball leaves the pitch behind the goal line, play will be restarted with either a goal kick or a corner.

Opposition players must be at least 2m from the ball at a corner.

Goal kicks shall be taken from the goal line.

Keepers Area

There are no restrictions on players entering the goal areas.

Goal Keeper

The goalkeeper is allowed out of his goal area. Once he has crossed onto the outfield, he shall be treated as normal player.

The goalkeeper cannot take the ball back into his area from the outfield to pick it up. Infringement of this rule shall result in an indirect free kick.

There is no restriction on the goalkeeper using his feet in the area.

The goalkeeper cannot pick up a back pass. Infringement of this rule shall result in an indirect free kick.

Player’s Gear

All players should wear shin pads. Player not wearing shin pads, do so at their own risk.

Ideal Footwear is astro turf boots/trainers or moulds. Metal football studs/blades and plastic blades are not permitted. Incorrect footwear could result in injury to you and others.


The rules of the competition allow unlimited rolling substitutions. Substitutions can only be made when the ball is dead and only with the Referees consent. Play shall not be stopped for substitutions to take place, except for changes to the goalkeeper. Outgoing substitutes must leave the field of play before the replacement enters the playing area. The oncoming players are active immediately and can receive the ball. Substitutes must stand outside the pitch perimeter (behind the goal at Watford & Guildford) and spectators must not enter the field of play under any circumstances.

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

Running Late

Teams MUST be at the pitch and ready to start play at the allotted time.

If there is no sign of a team five minutes after the allotted kick off time the result will be awarded to the opposition as a 5 – 0 win.

Games will be shortened if teams arrive late.

Whilst within the perimeter of the court, the ball is not out of bounds. In the event that the ball leaves the perimeter (other than being kicked over head-height, where such restrictions apply), play shall be restarted with a kick awarded to the appropriate team. This kick is indirect and opponents must be at least 2m from the ball.


If, in the opinion of Play 5-A-Side, the conduct of any club or player brings the competition into disrepute, Play 5-A-Side reserves the right to remove them from the competition.

During a game the referee may award a yellow or red card depending on the severity of misconduct.

Referees must be treated with respect from all teams. Teams found guilty of abusing referees will be removed from the league, as will teams in material or persistent breach of these rules.

The Referees decision on all on-field matters is final and no discussions will be entered into either on or off the field with him about any decision. The Referees jurisdiction on disciplinary matters will apply until players have left the venue. Players repeatedly disputing decisions may have further disciplinary action taken against them.

Teams with a valid complaint against a match official must be put in writing within 48 hours of the match taking place.

Yellow Card

If a yellow card is awarded the player shall be temporarily suspended from play.

During the suspension a player must stay off the field of play and shall not be replaced, this shall be deemed as the ‘sin bin’.

The referee shall inform the player when the suspension is over.

The period of suspension shall be 5 minutes.

If a player receives 2 yellow cards in the same game he shall not take any further part in the game

Red Card

If a straight red card is awarded the offending player shall not be allowed to take further part in the match and shall be suspended by Play 5-A-Side for a minimum of 1 match.

Any suspension awarded by Play 5-A-Side shall affect this competition only.

If a player is given a red card whilst off the field of play (for unacceptable conduct on the sideline), the team must correspondingly reduce the number of players on the field.

Play 5-A-Side reserves the right to remove any player or team from all Play 5-A-Side competitions.

Fouls and Slide Tackles 

Foul tackles will be punished by a free kick, yellow or red card.

Sliding tackles are forbidden and shall be punished by the awarding of a free kick. Repeat offences will result in a yellow card and the offending player being sin binned and/or sent off. However, the referee may at any time issue a yellow or red card for any tackle deemed reckless or dangerous.

Sliding tackles in the penalty area by the defending team shall be punished with the award of a penalty.

Sliding to block a shot, where it is clear the defending player is not attempting to win the ball, is acceptable.

Sliding to intercept a pass between to players, where no contact with a player is made, is acceptable.

Foul and/or abusive language will not be tolerated and will be punished by a yellow or red card.

Any tactical foul where a player intentionally prevents an obvious goal-scoring opportunity will result in the offending player being shown a yellow card and suspended from play for 5 minutes.


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