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Ultimate Football Match Rules
General Principal

Where not stated, the normal Laws of Association Football apply with exceptions, notably that there is no offside in Small Sided Football and sliding tackles are not permitted.

1.1 A match is played by two teams, each consisting of not more than the following number of players and substitutes for each format:

• 5-a-side = 5 players per team and 3 substitutes (total of 8 players)

• 6-a-side = 6 players per team and 3 substitutes (total of 9 players)

• 7-a-side = 7 players per team and 3 substitutes (total of 10 players)

1.2 Validity of a match

The minimum number of players required per team for a match to be considered valid is;

• 5-a-side: 4 players

• 6-a-side: 4 players

• 7-a-side: 5 players

If a team is permanently reduced to fewer players than the above in the relevant format, through injury or dismissal (not sin bin), the team captain accepts that their opponents will be awarded a ‘win’ which will be recorded as 5 – 0 against the team unable to play and/or continue.

2.1 Players should not wear anything that could be dangerous to themselves or other players, including any kind of jewellery.

2.2 The basic compulsory equipment of a player required at all times;

• A jersey or shirt

• Shorts or track suit trousers

• Socks

• Shinguards

• Footwear – restricted to astroturf boots, trainers or plastic moulds, studs of any kind are not permitted.

Any player refusing to comply with any aspect of compulsory equipment will not be allowed to play.

Each goalkeeper must wear colours which easily distinguish them from the other players and the referee.

3.1 The maximum number of substitutes permitted per team is three.

Unlimited “roll-on/roll-off” substitutions are allowed; waiting substitutes must remain behind their own goal line and should not intefere with play until they are substituted on to the pitch.

3.2 To make a substitution;

• there must be a break in play.

• the referee must; be informed before the change can take place and give a signal to approve it.

• both the player leaving the field and the player entering the field, shall do so from their own goal line, but not until the outgoing player has left the field.

3.3 If a substitute enters the pitch before the outgoing player has completely left the pitch;

• play is stopped.

• the substitute is ‘sin-binned’.

• play is re-started with an indirect free-kick to the opposing team, from the position of the ball when play was stopped.

Any of the players or substitutes, may change places with the goalkeeper, providing the above rules are observed and that the goalkeeper wears a jersey or bib which distinguishes them from all other players.

A substitute is subject to the authority and jurisdiction of the referee whether called upon to play or not.

4.1 Each match consists of two halves, usually 18 minutes long.
4.2 Every game has a maximum half time interval of 2 minutes and each team should swap ends during this time.

5.1 Before play commences, the team listed as the ‘home team’ on the fixture list will have choice of ends. The other team takes the kick-off to start the game.

5.2 The kick-off takes place;

• at the start of the game

• after a goal has been scored

• at the start of the second half of the game

• at the start of each period of extra time, where applicable

A goal may be scored directly from the kick-off.

5.3 Procedure for Kick-off;

• qall players are in their own half of the playing area

• the opponents of the team taking the kick-off are outside the centre circle or in the absence of a centre circle, at least 3m from the ball until it is in play

• the ball is stationary on the centre mark

• the referee gives a signal

• the ball is in play when it is kicked and moves forward

• the kicker may not touch the ball a second time until it has touched another player

After a team scores a goal, the other team takes the kick-off.

6.1 There are no height restrictions on the ball in Ultimate Football leagues. The ball is deemed to be out of play when the whole of the ball has crossed the goal line or the side line.

6.2 The Kick-in

When the ball crosses the side line, a kick-in is awarded to the opposing team of the player who last touched the ball. A kick-in is taken from the place where the ball crossed the side line. The players of the defending team must be at least 3m from where the kick-in is taken. A goal cannot be scored directly from a kick-in.

6.3 The Corner Kick

A corner kick is awarded when the whole of the ball, having last touched a player of the defending team, passes over the goal line and a goal is not scored. The ball is then placed in the corner arc and opposing players must remian atleast 3m from the ball until it is kicked. A goal may be scored directly from a corner kick, but only against the opposing team.

6.4 Goal Kick

A goal kick is awarded when the whole of the ball, having last touched a player of the opposing team, passes over the goal line and a goal is not scored. The goal-keeper may kick the ball out from anywhere within the penalty area. The ball must be stationery on the ground when it is kicked. The goal-keeper is not permitted to kick the ball out of his arms at any point during the game, while he is allowed to throw the ball under or over arm. A goal may not be scored directly from a goal kick.

6.5 Free Kicks

For both direct and indirect free kicks, the ball must be stationary when the kick is taken. All opponents must be at least 3m from the ball until it is in play.

7.1 Direct Free Kick

A direct free kick is awarded to the opposing team if a player commits any of the following seven offences in a manner considered by the referee 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, even with the shoulder

• Strikes or attempts to strike an opponent

• Pushes an opponent

• Tackles an opponent

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

• holds an opponent

• spits at an opponent

• slide tackles from any direction

• handling the ball deliberately, except for the goalkeeper in his own penalty area

A direct free kick is taken from the place where the infringement occurred.

7.2 Penalty Kick

A penalty kick is awarded if a player commits any of the above offences inside his own penalty area, irrespective of the position of the ball but provided that it is in play.

7.3 Indirect Free Kick

An indirect free kick is awarded to the opposing team if a goalkeeper commits one of the following offences:

• touches or controls the ball with his hands after it has been deliberately kicked to him by a team-mate

• touches or controls the ball with his hands after he has received it directly from a kick-in taken by a team-mate

• touches or controls the ball with his hands or feet, in the penalty area, for more than four seconds

An indirect free kick is also awarded to the opposing team, to be taken from the place where the infringement occurred, if, in the opinion of the referee, a player:

• plays in a dangerous manner

• deliberately impedes the progress of an opponent when the ball is not being played

• prevents the goalkeeper from releasing the ball from his hands

• commits any other offence, not previously mentioned

7.4 The Blue Card and The ‘Sin-Bin’

A player is shown the blue card and temporarily excluded from play for two minutes if he commits any of the following offences:

• C1 is guilty of unsporting behaviour

• C2 shows dissent by word or action

• C3 persistently infringes the Laws of the Game

• C4 delays the restart of play

• C5 fails to respect the required distance when play is restarted with a corner kick, kick-in, free kick or goal kick.

• C6 enters or re-enters the playing area without the referee’s permission or infringes the substitution procedure

• C7 deliberately leaves the playing area without the referee’s permission outside of a substitution

For any of these offences, a direct free kick is awarded to the opposing team, to be taken from the place where the infringement occurred. The player who has received the blue card must remain off the pitch, behind his team’s goal line, until the referee grants him permission to re-enter the pitch.

7.5 Sending-Off Offences

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

• S1 is guilty of serious foul play

• S2 is guilty of violent conduct

• S3 spits at an opponent or any other person

• S4 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 own penalty area)

• S5 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

• S6 uses offensive, insulting or abusive language

• S7 receives a third blue card in the same match

Any player receining a red card will be permanently excluded from the remainder of the game and they will be suspended from Ultimate Football matches for atleast one game. Players are reminded that the Rules and Regulations of The FA and the sanctioning County FA allow for fines to be imposed as a result of misconduct.