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Five-a-side football: Wikis


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Men playing football on artificial grass pitch.
Five-a-side game on astroturf pitch.

Five-a-side football is a variation of association football in which each team fields five players (four outfield players and a goalkeeper), rather than the usual eleven. Other differences from football include a smaller pitch, smaller goals, and a reduced game duration. Games are played indoors, or on outdoor astroturf pitches that may be enclosed within "cages", as a result preventing the ball from leaving the playing area and keeping the game flowing.



Generally the rules for small sided games are much the same as the 11-a-side game with the following additions;

  • The ball is not allowed to go over "head height" or else the opposition is awarded an indirect free kick.
  • The penalty area is significantly different from regular football: it is semi-circular in shape and only the goalkeeper is allowed within it and he or she is not allowed out.
  • Goalkeepers are only allowed to roll the ball out to another player, the goalkeeper may only kick the ball if it is in the course of making a save.
  • A backpass may only be picked up by the goalkeeper.
  • There are normally no offside rules which means just one referee.
  • Headers may or may not be allowed.
  • Yellow cards may result in the offending player being sent to the "sin bin" for a pre-determined length of time. Red cards work in the same way as the 11-a-side game.

Additionally, metal studded boots or blades cannot be worn, as it damages the playing surface. Players are also required to wear shin pads but this is usually at the discretion of the referee.

Five-a-side is commonly played informally, and the rules are therefore flexible and are sometimes decided immediately before play begins; this is in contrast to futsal where official laws are published by FIFA.

The English F.A. have drawn up a full list of laws for the small-sided game which expands upon the rules outlined above and includes minimum/maximum pitch dimensions as well as technicalities on free-kicks and other parts of the game.[1]




Futsal is a version of indoor five-a-side football officially sanctioned by the football world governing body Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA).

Indoor soccer

Indoor soccer is an indoor game played primarily in North America, typically with six-a-side teams.

Beach soccer

Beach Soccer is a variation on five-a-side football in that it is played on a sandy surface. Rules do not greatly differ from those found in regular five-a-side football.

Diagram of seven-a-side football pitch showing pitch markings and dimensions.
Seven-a-side pitch markings. Dimensions and shape of penalty area may differ for other variants.

Six-a-side football

A variation with increased pitch size and number of players on a team. In this variation there are five outfield players and one goalkeeper on the pitch for each team at any one time. Rules do not greatly differ from those found in five-a-side football.

Seven-a-side football

This is another variation with increased pitch and team size; in this case with six outfield players and a goalkeeper on each side. The rules generally do not differ from those of five-a-side.


Prostar Leagues Scotland, Leisure Leagues, Football Mundial, Powerleague and Goals Soccer Centres are the big operators of five-a-side football in the UK. Small-sided football leagues are played on astroturfs and indoor venues across the United Kingdom.

See also

External links

Prostar Leagues Scotland, Scotland's Largest and Longest Established Operator of 5-a-side and 6-a-side Football Leagues
Leisure Leagues, Europe's Largest Providers of 5aside and 6-a-side Football



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