Terms And Conditions/Rules

Terms And Conditions/Rules

Quick Rules

Pitch, the pitch must be marked out with white cones prior to kick off. That's ten cones down each touchline and seven cones to mark out the goal area.

Players: our flexible squad system means that the captains do not have to register the players, teams may use guest players. Guest Players can only be used to make up your basic squad of 6 players. They cannot be used as substitutes. Guest players can be used from any team within the league and you must let the referee and the opposing team know prior to kick off about your guest players.

Substitutions, each team is permitted to bring three substitutions for one match.  Substitutions are roll on and roll off. They may only be used when that team is in an attacking position or at a suitable break in play.

The substitutes must stand behind the team's goal, if they do not and the ball strikes them, then a penalty may be awarded.

Players must notify the referee when swapping goalkeepers, this is so it can be done at a suitable break of play.

Clothing: players may not wear jeans, hats or unsuitable footwear. However, there is an exception to the goalkeeper who may wear a cap if it's sunny. Please refer to the league page for footwear guidance. Players may not play without a shirt on. Teams who are not wearing the same colour must wear the bibs provided from league officials. 

Captain: the captain is responsible for all of his players, including the guest players. This includes conduct, financial and any discipline.

Pre-game: if a team fails to attend a fixture, they will lose the game 5-0. If a team is playing against a points match, they automatically win the game 5-0. If a team is late for the fixture, they may be subject to forfeiting the game. However, this is at the referee's discretion.

The referee provides the match night supervisor with the score, man of the match and any discipline offenses in all games that they have refereed. This is done at the end of the night.

In Play: Play begins by the referee passing the ball to Team A at the start of the first half, and then to Team B at the start of the second half.

Goalkeepers: Keepers can now use their feet to play as long as they have the ball under control. With this in mind, it means now the goalkeeper CANNOT pick up the ball from a back pass from a teammate. If this happens a Penalty Kick will be awarded to the attacking team.   Goalkeepers will also be able to distribute the ball overarm as well as underarm. However the keeper CANNOT kick the ball out of their hands. From a goal kick the keeper can chose to either throw or kick the ball from the ground, whichever they prefer to do.

Set Pieces: All Set pieces are now direct, meaning that you can score from a corner or free kick.

The opposing player must retreat a minimum of two yards, if the player fails to retreat encroaching on the two yards radius or shows any sign of dissent, then the referee may look to move the free kick a further two yards forward.

 The referee can do this as many times as they deem necessary. If the ball moves into the goal area, the free kick becomes a penalty. 

In general play: the ball may be played above head height. Players may now go into the area.

Fouls and obstruction are penalized with a free kick. Slide tackles are NOT allowed.

Time wasting and kicking the ball away are punishable offenses and any player that shows dissent or swearing will be penalized.

If the referee thinks a team is time wasting then the referee can award a direct free kick, sending a player off or even give a penalty kick, where ever the time wasting occurred on the pitch.  This is up to the referee’s discretion.

Discipline: referees are encouraged to use the two minute symbol as a cooling off period for players to deter other offenses that may lead to cards and fines. Red and yellow cards will be issued if necessary and should be presented in accordance with our disciplinary guidelines. 

Now you know the rules. Let's get started. Remember, if you have any queries about the operation of leisure leagues or any of the rules, please discuss this with your area manager. Whether you're a team or a match official, we welcome you to Leisure Leagues, the world's number one provider of small sided football.


Players must remain 2m from League Officials at all times* 

Start and End of Match

1a) Play is started by the referee giving the ball to one or other team alternately at the start of each half from the centre circle.  
1b) Game duration is 13 or 18 minutes each way. 
1c) Where applicable, the referees whistle overrules the hooter.
1d) There shall be 9 players maximum per squad in one night. 

Guest players

2a) A team is allowed no more than two guest players per match and all guest players should be agreed before kick-off with the opposing captain and the referee. 
2b) The referee reserves the right to refuse or accept guest players if, in his opinion, the outcome of the match would be considerably altered. 
2c) Guest players can only be used to make up the basic squad of six. Teams may not use guest players as substitutes. 
2d) If a team uses a guest player, that team is still liable to pay their full match fee. 
2e) If a guest player is disciplined during the game then the team captain is responsible for any fine incurred.

Flexi-squad System 

2f Thanks to our unique ‘flexi-squad system’ teams do not have to register players before a game and can use any amount of players during the season, as long as they do not conflict with any other team in the same division. 


3a) In the event of a penalty being awarded, time shall be added at the end of either half. 
3b) The penalty taker is allowed no more than two steps before striking the ball. 
3c) The keeper must remain on his line and not move until the ball is struck. 
3d) It is the responsibility of teams to clarify to the referee who is taking the penalty kick. Teams will be penalised and the penalty disallowed if the referee feels the goalkeeper was placed at a disadvantage by the opposing teams not making it clear who was taking the penalty kick. 
3e) In the absence of a penalty spot being visible, the penalty kick shall be taken 1 yard back from the edge of the area. 

The Goalkeeper/The Area

4a) Attackers and defenders are now allowed into the area, to make it more like 11 a side football - and keepers are allowed out of their areas.


5a) In line with 11 a side football, goalkeepers cannot pick the ball up. 


6a) Outfield players may not play either with a cap or hat, jeans or shoes. The goalkeeper is allowed to wear a cap. 
6b) Players may not play without a shirt on. 


7a) Teams are allowed three substitutes who must stand behind the goal which is occupied by their goalkeeper. 
7b) More than one substitution is allowed at any one time however, if there are more than the allotted players on court at any one time the teams shall be penalised. 
7c) Substitutes can only enter play when their team is in an attacking position in the oppositions half. 
7d) Substitutes can be used as often and whenever the team wishes. 
7e) Substitutes are not allowed onto the playing area until the substitutes player has left. 
7f) If substitutes do not stand behind the goal and the ball strikes them then the referee shall award a penalty. 

The Head-Height Rule

8a) The ball cannot be played above head-height in indoor leagues.
8b) The referee shall decide what constitutes head-height, however, head-height is determined as an infringement when the whole ball passes above the height of the tallest player on the pitch. 
8c) When the head-height rule is infringed, the free-kick shall be taken where the ball was originally played. 
8d) If the ball goes above head-height off the goalkeeper, goalposts, fixed equipment or, in the case of sports halls, the bottom boarding, then play shall continue. 
8e) If the ball goes above head-height off a wall or netting then, the referee shall decide whether an infringement has occurred. 
8f) The heading of the ball is allowed. 

Free Kicks, Kick ins/Roll In's & Corners 

9a) All free kicks, kick ins/roll in's and corners are no direct
9b) On all free kicks, players should be two yards from the ball. When a free kick is on the edge of the area, the ball should be played two yards back. 
9c) If a player refuses to retreat two yards from the free kick or, as the free kick is being taken extends any part of his body towards the ball which means that he is no longer two yards from the free kick then he shall be penalised. The ball should be stationary before the free kick is taken. 

The Two Yard Rule

10a) If a player fails to retreat two yards or, the ball hits a player from the free kick who has not retreated two yards, or who has extended his leg towards the ball meaning that he is no longer two yards from the ball, then the referee shall move play forward two yards and allow the kick to be taken again. 
10b) Players that show dissent towards the referee or his decision at a free kick, will result in the kick being moved forward two yards. 
10c) The referee may move the kick forward at two yard intervals, however many times he wishes. 
10d) If by moving the ball forward two yards, the free kick then becomes within the area of the defending side, a penalty shall be awarded. 

General Rules

11a) If applicable, the referees scoring overrules the scoreboard. 
11b) The referee will be the sole judge of whether a tackle is dangerous or not in the best interests of the spirit of the game. 
11c) Teams must not alter or move equipment to gain an advantage. 
11d) Teams should make every attempt to play in similar colours or use the coloured bibs provided. 
11e) Teams who arrive late for their kick off time may be subject to forfeiture of the match. 
11f) The signing of the entry form indemnifies Leisure Leagues from any responsibility for personal injury or lost property whilst participating in the organised leagues. Teams are responsible for arranging their own personal insurance cover at centres where this is not automatically applicable. 
11g) If teams wish to cancel a match, they automatically lose 5-0 (Leisure Leagues allow a flexible squad system) and their opponents will play a friendly arranged by Leisure Leagues. This includes teams cancelling their fixture due to self-isolating or testing positive for Covid-19. 

11h) – If there are one or more vacancies in any league a friendly fixture will be arranged for the team(s) who are scheduled to play a ‘Points Match’ for that particular date. Teams are required to attend all scheduled Points Match fixtures, pay their full match fee and play the pre-arranged friendly as normal; the relevant team will then receive a 5-0 win and two points towards the league. If a team does not wish to play a scheduled friendly then it is the team’s responsibility to notify Head Office 7 days or more in advance or they will be liable for payment of the match fees for that particular week, teams who do not attend points matches will not receive their 5-0 win for that week regardless of whether they have provided 7 days notice.
11i) If a team fails to turn up for a scheduled fixture without giving Leisure Leagues 7 days’ notice, they lose the fixture 5-0 and will be charged the full match fee for the missed game. This includes teams cancelling their fixture due to self-isolating or testing positive for Covid-19. Teams who wish to withdraw from the league need to give two weeks’ notice of their intent to withdraw from the league and are required to pay for and play two full matches prior to withdrawal; failure to adhere to this will result in the Team Captain being charged their full two weeks match fees for both missed fixtures.
11j) If you are removed from the league for any reason, Leisure Leagues reserves the right to charge the 2 weeks notice period, for the games you would have played had we not removed you. 
11k) If a team fails to attend two consecutive matches and fails to inform Leisure Leagues Head Office of their intention to withdraw from the league then they will be liable for both missed match fees and will also be charged their two matches withdrawal notice on top of these match fees.
11l) – Please note that teams are automatically entered into a new league season unless they provide us with the required two weeks withdrawal notice prior to the end of the season. If a team wishes to withdraw from the league and only notifies us of this at the beginning of the new season then they will be required to play the first two matches of the new season before being able to withdraw, failure to adhere to this will result in the team being charged their match fees for these two fixtures.
11m)  The disciplinary procedure is indicated on the card and it also indicates that any players disciplined will not play until the fine is paid to  the governing body we affiliate to.


The referee is free to override any of these rules to give them much greater autonomy on the pitch and to ensure they are in sole charge of the games 



DISMISSAL FINE BAND 3 (£20) (includes dangerous play, sarcasm and swearing at official) 

SERIOUS DISMISSAL FINE BAND 4 (£50) (includes persistent verbal abuse towards official, blows exchanged between players or fighting) 

DISMISSAL & EXCLUSION FINE BAND 5 (£100) (includes physical abuse towards official plus serious incidents involving other players or spectators. 

The Sin Bin

12a) There is a disciplinary procedure in place for all leagues and it is the responsibility of all teams captains to adhere to this. However, if a player is shown the yellow card then he is sin-binned for two minutes and must wait behind his own goal until the referee instructs him to come back onto the field of play. If the player refuses to leave the pitch immediately then a red card and dismissal will occur. The referee shall be the sole timekeeper in cases of sin-bin. 


13a) If a player is dismissed then he should leave the pitch immediately. Failure to do so will result in the referee automatically awarding the match to his opponents. 

Time Wasting

14a) In small-sided football, officials are instructed to take a more active approach towards time wasting. 
14b) If a player is guilty of time wasting at any point then the referee has full discretion to either award a free kick or a penalty kick as he see fit. 
14c) The player does not need to be warned about time wasting. 

Penalties For Infringement Of The Rules

1. Intentional handball (and the player gains an advantage by doing so). 
2. The ball going above head-height (at a league where the head-height rule applies)
3. Players time wasting 
4. At a drop ball situation, a player does not allow the ball to touch the surface before striking it. 
5. An attacker entering the opposition area. 
6. A player not retreating two yards from the ball or showing dissent (this may also result in a penalty, see earlier rules). 
7.If the goalkeeper picks the ball up from a backpass, a penalty should be awarded.
8. The goalkeeper kicking the ball out of his hands
9. A player committing a slide tackle (players are allowed to slide in the course of making a pass or a block, however, they are not allowed to slide when making a tackle and this is for the players’ own safety). If a player slides and intercepts a pass then this is classed as a slide block. If a player slides and dispossess a player that has the ball under control then this is classed as a slide tackle. However, the difference is the discretion of the referee.
10. Kicking the ball away. This may also result in the referee yellow carding the offending player. 
11. A part of a players attire, or more particularly, his shoe, comes off during the course of the match (if the players shoe comes off then the referee should consider this a serious offence and this may warrant a yellow card. The referee should then instruct the player to tie up his shoelace, however, the match should continue. If a goal is scored by a player whose shoe comes off during the course of kicking the ball into the goal then the goal shall be disallowed and a direct free kick awarded to the opposition where the player kicks the ball from). 
12. Fouls & Obstruction 
13. A player attempting to play or playing the ball or being on the court with his shirt off. 
1. The goalkeeper handles a backpass.
2. At the referees discretion for timewasting

1. The referee may award either an indirect free kick, a direct free kick or a penalty if a team plays with more than its allotted number of players on the pitch at any one time. The referee should award the free kick (if that is his choice) when the offence is spotted and where he spotted the offence. 

2. The referee can override any of these rules at his or her discretion and is free to make any decision for the good of the league ,

Extra Rules For Astroturf leagues 

16a) Where the ball leaves the area of play, the referee shall award a kick-in to the appropriate team. At a kick-in the ball should be stationary and the opposing player should be two yards from the ball. 
16b) Rule 7f does not apply. 

Extra Rules For Indoor/Sports Hall Leagues

17a) Where walls or boarding is used at the side of the pitch, the referee shall be more severe and impose greater punishment upon players who push or foul opponents near to the wall.

Health and Safety

18a) All participants understand that these events are contact sports and contain risk to the person participating for which the organiser cannot be held responsible.

18b) All participants agree that we have no control over the safety of the premises we hire, or persons admitted to the venues we hire and it is the sole responsibility of the team captain to ensure their team's players do not start any game unless they are satisfied  that the surface and other conditions are satisfactory and safe for the activity in question having due regard for the participants. We cannot be held responsible for any defects to the venue which may cause injury and all team captains understand this when participating.

18c) Team captains must inspect the pitch and playing conditions and must report any issues prior to their game commencing to the officials on duty otherwise it will be deemed that the team captain and their players have accepted any risks and any ensuing liability for any subsequent injury.


19a) Please note that the Team Captain is responsible for the conduct of all players and all spectators connected with the team. Failure to control the conduct of players or spectators will result in the Team Captain being responsible for any resulting fines being paid in full

Female Players

In accordance with the 2010 equalities act, ladies and mixed teams are welcomed in all of our leagues. 


What Does Your Entry Fee Cover?

The entry fee is a discipline bond and is a one-off fee, covering the cost of administering discipline in the leagues. The entry fee is a non-refundable deposit.

What Does Your Match Fee Cover?

The match fee goes towards the pitch hiring enabling you to participate in the sport itself. When you pay this fee you agree that the majority or full amount of your fee is directly paid, via the organiser acting as the collection officer, for the following:

1 The hire cost of the pitch

2 The cost of the referee and the match balls which are essential to the playing of the chosen competitive sport.

As our members you agree that when you make these payments you are making a commitment to participate for a minimum of ten consecutive weeks in the league, you automatically become our members along with other players in the league who are also our members, and that as part of our wider club or membership all our members have exclusivity on the pitch we have hired for the duration of hire and that non members have no right to participate on the pitch during that time.

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