Laws of the Game

Under 7’s to Under 10’s are not permitted to play in leagues where results are published.

Except where other provision in these laws is made, the Laws of Association Football apply.

Each Law is numbered to correspond with the appropriate association Football Laws.

The game is for boys and girls in the separate age groups Under 7 to Under 10 with mixed football permissible in each of the 5 age groups.

Law 1 (Playing Area)

Field of Play (Recommended) overall pitch sizes shall be: -

Under 7 and 8 Maximum length 40yds/Minimum length 30yds - Maximum width 30yds/Minimum width 20yds

Under 9 and 10 Maximum length 60yds/Minimum length 50yds - Maximum width 40yds/minimum width 30yds

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.

Retreat Line :

The team without the ball moves back to the half way line when goal kicks are taken.

Goal Size

The distance between the posts is 12ft and the distance between the lower edge of the cross bar and the ground is 6ft.

Law 2 (The Ball)

Under 7 to Under 10 Size 3

• The Ball should be safe for children to play with and made of leather or another suitable material

Law 3 (Number of Players)

Maximum number per team, including goalkeeper

Under 7’s - Under 8’s  :  5 v 5
With a squad of 10 or less players.

Under 9’s – Under 10’s  :  7 v 7
With a squad of 14 or less players.

A match may not START if either team consists of fewer than four players. The minimum number of players in a team required for a match to CONTINUE is also four.

Games can be played 5 v 4 at Under 7 & Under 8

Games can be played 7 v 6 at Under 9 & Under 10

But should always put the development of the children first.

Roll off roll on substitutions can be made at any time during the game with the permission from the Referee, including players who have already been substituted.

Development football can also be played using smaller numbers such as 4 v 4 or 3 v 3 when squad sizes and facilities on the day are suitable and both coaches agree.

All team members should receive equal playing time where possible, with a best practice recommendation of at least 50% per player for each game.

Law 4 (Playing Equipment)

Players must wear shin guards and goalkeepers must wear a distinguishing playing strip. Shin guards must be covered entirely by the socks.

Players must wear the appropriate clothing dependant on the weather, but no hoodies are not allowed

Correct footwear must be worn for the surface of the pitch e.g. no metal studs on artificial grass pitches.

Law 5 (Referees)

The Authority of the Referee

Each match is controlled by a referee who has full authority to enforce the Laws for Mini-Soccer in connection with the match to which they have been appointed.

The Referee should always help the players to learn the game by explaining their decisions.

Assistant Referees ae not required for Development Football.

Law 6 (Duration of the Game)

See Selkent Duration of Play section below

U7 & U8’s 40 minutes

U9 & U10’s 60 minutes

Children should not exceed the maximum playing time for their age in any one day.

It is the responsibility of the junior club and/or the child’s parent or carer to ensure this.

– Each league is allowed to determine its own playing time up to the maximum allowed.

– Half time should not be more than five minutes.

– Development games can be split into quarters within the maximum playing time allowed.

– For tournament football see the Standard Code of Rules for Youth Competitions.

Law 7 (Start and Restart of Play Procedure)

A kick off from the centre mark starts the game or restarts it after a goal is scored.

  • It can be taken in any direction.
  • Opponents must be 5 yards away in their own half. of the field.
  • In Mini-Soccer a goal cannot be scored directly from a kick off or a dropped ball.
  • In special circumstances a drop ball is used to restart the game, such as after an injury.
  • If the game has stopped with the ball in the penalty area, the drop ball should be taken on the penalty area line

Law 8 (Ball in and Out of Play)

The goal line and touchlines are part of the field of play. The ball must be entirely over these lines to be out of play.

– If an attacker is the last player to touch the ball over the goal line, a goal kick is given.

– If a defender is the last player to touch the ball over the goal line, a corner kick is given.

– If a player touches the ball over the touchline, a throw in is given to the opposing team.

Law 9 (Method of Scoring)

– A goal is scored when the ball completely crosses the goal line between the posts and

under the crossbar of the goal.

– If a foul or hand ball occurs the goal shall be disallowed.

Law 10 (Offside)

There is no offside.

Law 11 (Fouls and Misconduct)

• Free kicks are awarded when a foul is committed as in older age football.

• In Mini-Soccer all free kicks are direct.

• A goalkeeper is not allowed to pick the up from a back pass or a throw in.

• If this happens a free kick should be given on the penalty area line closet to where the incident occurs.

• As with all other aspects of Development Football the children should be learning the game. Coaches in training, and referees on the day, should try to make sure the children understand all of the above.

Law 12 (Free Kicks)

For all free kick’s defending players must be 5 yards from the ball.

Law 13 (Penalty Kicks)

  • If a foul is committed in the penalty area by a defender a penalty kick will be awarded.
  • All players except the defending goalkeeper and kicker must be outside the penalty area and at least 5 yards from the penalty mark.
  • The ball must be kicked forward.

Law 14 (Throw-in)

  • If a player touches the ball out of play over the touchline a throw in is awarded to the opposition.
  • Throw ins can be a difficult technique to learn for younger players so retakes are allowed. Referees should offer guidance to help children learn the game.

Law 15 (Goal Kick Procedure)

  • If an attacking player kicks the ball over the goal line a goal kick is awarded to the defending team.
  • A goal kick can be taken from any point within the penalty area and by any player from the team with the ball. (U9 & U10 see SelKent additions below)
  • The ball must leave the penalty area to be in play. If this does not happen the kick can be retaken.

    · The team without the ball must retreat to their own half until the ball is in play.

  • This is known as the Retreat Line.
  • Once the ball is in play, the team without the ball can try and win it back.
  • As with all the Laws of Development Football, the Referee should help the players learn the game.

Law 16 (Corner Kicks)

  • If a defending player kicks the ball over the goal line a corner is awarded to the attacking team.
  • The defending players must remain at least 5 yards from the ball until it is in play.
  • The Player taking the corner may not touch the ball again until it has touched another player.

Recommended overall pitch sizes shall be: -

Under 7 and 8:   Maximum length 40yds/minimum length 30yds, Maximum width 30yds/minimum width 20yds

Under 9 and 10:  Maximum length 60yds/minimum length 50yds, Maximum width 40yds/minimim width 30yds

Penalty area: - A penalty area must be marked out. Length 10yds - Width 18yds.

Goal area: - A goal area is also recommended. Length 4yds - Width 12yds.

Penalty Spot: - A penalty spot must be marked 8yds from the Goal Line opposite the Centre of the Goal.

Halfway Line: - The Field of Play must be divided in two halves by a halfway line.

A centre-mark should be indicated at the mid-point of the halfway line.

A centre circle of 5yds radius is also recommended.

Please note that marking of the penalty area by a 10-yard line running from touchline to touchline is no longer acceptable. A penalty box must be used.

Under 9 & Under 10 (Goal Kick Procedure)

A player of the defending team kicks the ball from anywhere within the goal area or 4 yards from the goal line.

Duration of Play

Under 7 10 minutes each way (Two games)

Under 8 10 minutes each way (Two games)

Under 9 and 10 25 minutes each way.

The half time rule shall not exceed 5 minutes.

Competition Games only: - If a tie exists between two teams.

U7 & U8 4 minutes one-way extra time

U9 & U10 10 minutes one-way extra time

If, after extra-time, a draw still stands the penalty shootout procedure will follow see Rule 24G (b) to determine the eventual winners


The League reserves the right to appoint a registered referee at any time and as is deemed necessary. Fees for the referee appointed by the League will be shared by the teams. In the absence of a League appointed official, Clubs must mutually agree upon a referee who shall then control the game and have full authority to enforce the Laws.