Junior 5-a-side match rules

Updated August 2022

Under -16 competitions

  • Matches will have a duration of 20 minutes, comprising 10 minutes per half with a 3-minute half time period.

    Substitutions are rolling and unlimited but only permitted with the permission of the referee when the ball is in the possession of the goalkeeper or if the ball is out of play.
  • All free kicks are all direct and the opposition must stand a minimum of two yards away from the ball.
  • No sliding tackles are permitted. 
  • Access to penalty areas is restricted only to goalkeepers. Any advantage gained by entry into the penalty area by a defender will result in a direct free kick from the penalty mark to the opposition.

    Entry into the penalty area by an attacker will result in the goalkeeper being given possession of the ball to restart the game. Any goal scored by an attacker within the area will not be allowed.
  • Goalkeepers can only distribute the ball by underarm throws and are not allowed to kick the ball deliberately, unless in the process of making a save. Goalkeepers who gain an advantage by leaving the penalty area will be penalised by a penalty awarded to the opposition .
  • Clear and obvious time wasting by a goalkeeper will result in a free kick to the opposition two yards outside the penalty area
  • Goalkeepers cannot throw the ball beyond the halfway line unless it bounces on the ground first or is touched by a player of either side. A free kick will be awarded to the opposing team at the halfway line if a goalkeeper distributes the ball directly over the halfway line. 
  • There is no  overhead height rule restriction- the ball is permitted to go above head height.
  • Players can only take 2 steps towards the ball to take a penalty and it must all be in one interrupted movement with no stopping or stuttering. Failure to comply during the run-up will result in the referee ordering a retake.
  • Initial cautionable offences will result in a two-minute, blue card sin bin. Subsequent offences will result in yellow or red cards.

Under -12 competitions

As under-16’s with the exception that players of both sides may enter the penalty area, and goalkeepers may leave their areas.

Sean Wright (referees Secretary)

Mike Stylianou (Chair)

August 2022

Review by August 31st 2023