The Official Laws Of Football Free Guide........

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The Laws of Mini-Soccer submitted by Tony from tonys-soccer-school com

"The Best Introduction to the World's Greatest Game"

September 1999 saw the implementation of Mini-Soccer for all children under 10 years of age.

As a result of nearly three years consultation and co-operation between all bodies involved with children's football, boys and girls are now introduced to the game on smaller pitches with scaled down goal posts and fewer players.

In attempting to provide quality experiences for all young players at all levels, The Football Association deems Mini-Soccer the most appropriate and fun introduction to football.

It allows greater involvement in the game, with more touches, dribbles and passes.

Over the coming three years, the aim is to implement the Football Association County Mini-Soccer Plans with millions of pounds being available through partnerships including The Football Association, Sport England, Coca-Cola Great Britain, Local Authorities, County FA's, Schools and Clubs.

Mini-Soccer : Meeting the Needs of Children

"The Children are more important than the activities in which they are engaged. The game is not the thing, the child is. Physical Education for ages 5-16 (Department of Education and Science, August 1991)."

The main theme throughout Mini-Soccer is to meet the needs of children. Eleven-a-side Association Football does not meet those needs. We need a modified game that fits the needs of children: too often children are modified to meet the requirements of a game. Mini-Soccer modifies Association Football without losing the essence of the game.

Mini-Soccer is the appropriate introduction to football. All available research and observation shows that children will have more fun and learn more playing a game with smaller teams and modified rules. Mini-Soccer is, therefore, a game children can actually play rather than struggling to understand a game created for adults.

If children are to enjoy and take part in soccer they need to:

Feel success

Take an active part in the game

Learn to play as a team

Understand the Laws

Develop soccer skills

Be able to take part whatever their ability

Develop fitness

Mini-Soccer sets out to meet those needs. It is a game which has been modified from 11-a-side Association Football which keeps all the major features of the game, while allowing children to succeed and take part in something that is still recognisably football.

Mini-Soccer recognises the fact that younger children perform better in smaller teams with simple Laws. It also sets out to give children fun.

Mini-Soccer, however, is more than another version of 5-or 6-a-side football for the following reasons:

1. It recognises that children do not perform as adults and therefore its Laws, researched and piloted by The Football Association, meet the needs of children.

2. It has all the features of 'real' football to children.

3. It doesn't set unrealistic expectations. Many adults do not know what can be expected of children and so emphasise the result at the expense of performance. Mini-Soccer helps by defining the targets for children at different ages.

4. It sets a standard and a framework for behaviour on and off the pitch which has already been established by other Football Association schemes such as Funweeks, Coaching Centres and the Soccer Star Challenge.

5. Mini-Soccer is for all youngsters regardless of their ability. It is intended for girls and boys, and young footballers with disabilities and learning difficulties.

In an age when so much of children's leisure time is as organised as their study, Mini-Soccer offers something special: a game that children can organise themselves! With relatively little instruction children can play and enjoy a game which is suitable for a wide ability range and gives everyone a chance to take part.

If you find this hard to believe, just set up a game with some children and WATCH!

Guidance for the Laws of Mini-Soccer

The Laws have been piloted and aim to be simple and as near to _real' football as possible. The games require only a _game leader' who is urged to be as flexible as possible with the youngest children.

The children will need the Laws explained to them as the game proceeds (e.g. handball, in/out of play.)

It will also be necessary to demonstrate in certain instances how to re-start the game (e.g. throw-ins, corner kicks.)

What can children expect from Adults?

Remember that children are often easily led, anxious to please and prone to over-enthusiasm, and so plenty of praise and positive reinforcement is needed _ especially with beginners.

Children find it hard to understand negative instructions and easier to understand positive reinforcement and this can frequently mean playing down the result and playing up the performance. This reduces the child's anxiety and decreases their worry about failing. Remember that children do not mean to make mistakes; we should accept mistakes as a necessary part of learning.

Make sure the players play by the Laws. The majority of children at these ages will not knowingly infringe the Laws of the Game. Finally, work with other adults, not against them, and by so doing reinforce positive attitudes among the children.

Interference from the Touch Line

Whilst the fun and friendly atmosphere created by Mini-Soccer should keep such instances to a minimum, there may be situations which arise where comments and abuse from adults, parents and Managers is made from the touch line.

This could be directed at the Referee, but also at the players. What can be done? Stay calm; don't get into disagreement; report the matter to relevant club or league officials; set a positive responsible example.

Referees _ Mini-Soccer Game Leaders

The Referee will have an important role to play in Mini-Soccer. Carrying out their duties without favour they should look to create a playing environment which is fun for all taking part. The Referee should encourage fair play, fun, respect for others, development of skills and team work, understanding of the Laws of the Game.

The Laws of the Game should be a guide for the Referee in Mini-Soccer with the spirit of the laws being more important than the letters of the law. Appreciation of the needs of the child are essential.


Please note : Where Leagues operate Under 11 Mini-Soccer events, they must follow these Laws

Except where other provision, in these Laws are made, the Laws of Association Football apply. Each Law is numbered to correspond with the appropriate Law of the Game. These Laws are mandatory unless special permission is granted by The Football Association.

LAW 1. Playing Area

Please see the F.A. Rule book for a diagram of the Playing Area.

Recommended Size of Pitch

Under 10's/9's
Under 8's/7's

Width Metres Yards

Under 10's/9's
Min. 27.45 Meters
Min. 30 Yards
Max. 36.60 Meters
Max. 40 Yards

Max .54.90 Meters
Max. 60 Yards
Max. 45.75 Meters
Max. 50 Yards

Under 8's/7's
Min. 18.30 Meters
Min. 20 Yards
Max. 27.45 Meters
Max. 30 Yards

Min. 45.75 Meters
Min. 50 Yards
Min. 27.45 Meters
Min. 30 Yards

submitted by tonys-soccer-school com

Penalty Area

Length 9.15m - 10 yards

Width 16.47m - 18 yards

Penalty Mark

The penalty mark is 7.32m (8 yards) from the Goal Line opposite the Centre of the Goal.

Halfway Line

The field of play is divided into two halves by a halfway line. The centre mark is indicated at the mid-point of the halfway line.

LAW 1. Goal Size

The distance between the posts is 3.6m (12ft) and the distance between the lower edge of the cross bar and the ground is 1.88m (6ft).


In view of a number of accidents that have occurred, it is necessary to ensure that portable goals of any size are either pinned or weighted to prevent them from toppling forward.

LAW 2. The Ball

The ball should be no larger than size 4. Size 3 is recommended for Under 8's. It should be safe and made of leather or another suitable material.

LAW 3. Number of Players

Number per Team Including Goalkeeper

Over 6
4 v 4 and

and Under 8's
5 v 5

Over 8
6 v 6 and

and Under 10's
7 v 7

Players must play with and against players only from their own age range _ within a two year age band. Players should not be allowed to begin to play until the Season of their 7th birthday.

Each team must not have a squad greater than double the size of the team per age.

Any number of substitutes, without being named, may be used at any time with the permission of the referee or game leader. Entry into the field of play will only be allowed during a stoppage in play. A player who has been replaced may return to the playing area as a substitute for another player.

LAW 4. Playing Equipment

Players must wear shinguards and goalkeepers must wear a distinguishing playing strip.

Shinguards must be covered entirely by the stockings.

LAW 5. Referee's

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 they have been appointed.

Powers and Duties

The Referee:

Enforces the Laws of the Game

Controls the match in co-operation with the assistant referees / time keeper

Ensures that the ball meets the requirements of Law 2

Ensures that the players' equipment meets the requirements of Law 4

Stops, suspends or terminates the match, at their discretion, for any infringements of the Laws

Stops, suspends or terminates the match because of outside interference of any kind

Stops the match if, in their opinion, a player is seriously injured and ensures that they are removed from the field of play

Ensures that any player bleeding from a wound leaves the field of play

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 that time

Takes disciplinary action against players guilty of cautionable and/or sending-off offences.

Takes action against team officials who fail to conduct themselves in a responsible manner and may, at their discretion, expel them from the field of play and its immediate surrounds

Ensures that no unauthorised persons enter the field of play

Restarts the match after it has been stopped

Decisions of the Referee

The decisions of the referee regarding facts connected with play are final.

The referee may only change a decision on realising that it is incorrect or, at his/her discretion provided that play has not restarted.

LAW 6. Timekeeper/Scorer/Assistant Referee


A person may be nominated to assist the referee to: -

(a) Record goals scored;

(b) Act as timekeeper and signify to the referee by an agreed signal when the time of each half has expired;

(c) Suspend time on an instruction from the referee for all stoppages and add that time to the end of each half;

(d) Supervise the use of rolling substitutes.

(e) Carry out any other duties as prescribed by the referee;

If an independent timekeeper/scorer is not nominated, these duties are the responsibility of the referee.

LAW 7. Duration of Game

In any one day, no player shall play more than the stipulated period outlined below. Within this maximum the recommended duration of games is provided.

Over 6 and Under 8
Recommended Number of Minutes each half
10 minutes

Maximum duration of participation per day per player
45 minutes

Over 8 and Under 10
Recommended Number of Minutes each half
15 minutes

Maximum duration of participation per day per player
60 minutes

Each league/competition will determine its own playing time within the maximum time permitted. The half time interval must not exceed 5 minutes.

LAW 8. Start and Restart of Play


A kick-off is taken at the centre of the playing area to start the game and after a goal

has been scored, opponents must be 4.5m (5 yards) away from the ball, and in their

own half of the field. The ball must be played forward.

Special Circumstances

A dropped ball to restart the match after play has been temporarily stopped inside the penalty area takes place on the penalty area line parallel to the goal line at that point nearest to where the ball was located when the play stopped.

LAW 9. 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 touch line whether on the ground or in the air

Play has been stopped by the referee

Ball in Play

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

It rebounds from a goal post, crossbar or corner flag post and remains in the field of play

It rebounds from either the referee or an assistant referee when they are on the field of play

LAW 10. Method of Scoring

Goal Scored

A goal is scored when the whole of the ball passes over the goal line, between the goalposts and under the crossbar, provided that no infringement of the Laws of the Game has been committed previously by the team scoring the goal.

Winning Team

The team scoring the greater number of goals during a match is the winner. 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 other procedures approved by the International F.A. Board to determine the winner of a match.

Please note this must be included within the maximum participation time.

LAW 11. Offside

There is no offside.

LAW 12. Fouls and Misconduct

In Mini Soccer all free kicks are direct.

A free kick is awarded to the opposing team if a player commits any of the following offences in a manner considered 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

Strikes or attempts to strike an opponent

Pushes an opponent

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

Tackles an opponent to gain possession of the ball, making contact with the opponent before touching the ball

Holds an opponent

Spits at an opponent

Handles the ball deliberately (except for the goalkeeper within his/her own penalty area)

Plays in a dangerous manner

Impedes the progress of an opponent

Prevents the goalkeeper from releasing the ball from his/her hands

Commits any other offence, not previously mentioned in Law 12, for which play is stopped to caution or dismiss a player

Penalty Kick

A penalty kick is awarded if any of the above offences is committed by a player inside his/her own penalty area, irrespective of the position of the ball, provided it is in play.

A free kick is awarded to the opposing team if the goalkeeper:

Takes more than 6 seconds to release the ball from his/her hands

Touches the ball again with his/her hands after it has been released from his/her possession and has not touched any other player

Touches the ball with his/her hands after it has been deliberately kicked to him/her by a team mate

Touches the ball with his/her hands after he/she has received it directly from a throw in taken by a team mate

For all of these offences, the free kick should be taken from the penalty area line, parallel with the goal line, at the nearest point to the offence.

Cautionable Offences

A player is cautioned and shown the yellow card if he/she commits any of the following seven offences:

1. Is guilty of unsporting behaviour

2. Shows dissent by word or action

3. Persistently infringes the Laws of the Game

4. Delays the restart of play

5. Fails to respect the required distance when play is restarted with a corner kick or free kick

6. Enters or re-enters the field of play without the referee's permission

7. Deliberately leaves the field of play without the referee's permission

Sending Off Offences

A player is sent off and shown the red card if he/she commits any of the following seven offences:

Is guilty of serious foul play

Is guilty of violent conduct

Spits at an opponent or any other person

Denies the opposing team a goal or an obvious goal scoring opportunity, by deliberately handling the ball (this does not apply to a goalkeeper within his/her own penalty area)

Denies an obvious goal-scoring opportunity to an opponent moving towards the player's goal by an offence punishable by a free kick or a penalty kick

Uses offensive or insulting or abusive language and/or gestures

Receives a second caution in the same match

LAW 13. Free Kicks

For all free kicks opponents must be 4.5m (5 yards) from the ball.

LAW 14. Penalty Kicks

A penalty kick is awarded for offences, as described in Law 12.

Position of the Ball and the Players

All players except the defending goalkeeper and kicker must be outside the penalty area and at least 4.5m (5 yards) from the penalty mark.

The ball must be kicked forward.


If a player or players commit an offence at the taking of a penalty kick his/her team shall not be allowed to gain an advantage (i.e. the kick is retaken or the goal is disallowed depending on which team offended).

If a player of both the defending and the attacking teams offend, the kick shall be retaken.

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LAW 15. Throw-in

A goal cannot be scored directly from a throw-in.

A throw-in is awarded:

When the whole of the ball passes over the touch line, either on the ground or in the air

From the point where it crossed the touch line

To the opponents of the player who last touched the ball


At the moment of delivering the ball, the thrower:

Faces the field of play

Has part of each foot either on the touch line or on the ground outside the touch line

Uses both hands

The throw-in is awarded to the opposing team, if any of these requirements are not carried out

Delivers the ball from behind and over their head

The thrower may not touch the ball again until it has touched another player. If he / she does a free kick will be awarded against them. The ball is in play immediately it enters the field of play.

LAW 16. Goal Kick


A player of the defending team kicks the ball from any point within the penalty area.

Opponents must remain outside the penalty area and at least 5 yards (4.5m) from where the kick is taken until the ball is in play.

LAW 17. Corner Kicks

The opposing players must remain at least 4.5m (5 yards) from the ball until it is play.

The kicker may not touch the ball again until it has touched another player. If he / she does a free kick is awarded against them.

The ball is in play immediately it enters the field of play.

The Responsible Football Coach/Manager

Code of Conduct for Football

Coaches/Managers must respect the rights' dignity and worth of each and every person and treat each equally within the context of the sport.

Coaches/Managers must place the well being and safety of each player above all other considerations, including the development of performance.

Coaches/Managers must adhere to all guidelines laid down within the Constitution and the Rules of The Football Association.

Coaches/Managers must develop an appropriate working relationship with each player based on mutual trust and respect.

Coaches/Managers must not exert undue influence to obtain personal benefit or reward.

Coaches/Managers must encourage and guide players to accept responsibility for their own behaviour and performance.

Coaches/Managers must ensure at the activities they direct or advocate is appropriate for the age, maturity, experience and ability of players.

Coaches/Managers should, at the outset, clarify with the player (and, where appropriate, their parents) exactly what is expected of them and also what they are entitled to expect from their coach.

Coaches/Managers must co-operate fully with other specialists (e.g. other coaches, officials, sports scientists, doctors, physiotherapists) in the best interests of the player.

Coaches/Managers must always promote the appropriate Code of Conduct and positive aspects of the sport (e.g. fair play) to players, parents and spectators alike. Never condone violations of the Laws of the Game, behaviour contrary to the spirit of the Laws of the Game or relevant rules and regulations or the use of prohibited substances or techniques.

Coaches/Managers must consistently display high standards of behaviour and experience and be a role model for players, parents and spectators.

Goalpost Safety

The Football Association and the British Standards Institution would like to draw your attention to the following guidelines for the safe use of goalposts. Too many serious injuries and fatalities have occurred in recent years as a result of unsafe or incorrect use of goalposts. Safety is always of paramount importance and everyone in football must play their part to prevent similar incidents occurring in the future.

1. For safety reasons goalposts of any size (including those which are portable and not installed permanently at a pitch or practice field) must always be anchored securely to the ground.

Portable goalposts must be secured by the use of chain anchors or appropriate anchor weights to prevent them from toppling forward.

It is essential that under no circumstances should children or adults be allowed to climb, swing on or play with the structures of the goalposts.

Particular attention is drawn to the fact that if not properly assembled and secured, portable goalposts may topple over.

2. Portable goalposts should not be left in place after use. They should be dismantled and removed to a place of secure storage.

3. It is strongly recommended that nets should only be secured by plastic hooks or tape and not by metal cup hooks. Any metal cup hooks should if possible be removed and replaced. New goalposts should not be purchased if they include metal cup hooks which cannot be replaced.

4. Goalposts which are "home made" or which have been altered from their original size or construction should not be used. These have been the cause of a number of deaths and injuries.

5. Guidelines to prevent toppling:

i. Follow Manufacturer's guide-lines in assembling goalposts.

ii. Before use, adults should:

ensure each goal is anchored securely in its place

exert a significant downward force on the cross bar

exert a significant backward force on both upright posts

exert a significant forward force on both upright posts

These must be repeated until it is established that the structure is secure. If not, alternative goals/pitches must be used.

For reference, you should note that The F.A. and BSI are developing a standard for future purchases. It is anticipated that this document will be available in mid 2000.

This was supplied by
Tony FA coach

tonys-soccer-school com
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