Rules For 7-A-Side

In general, standard soccer rules apply to all Footy Sevens games, with the following exceptions or notes. The FIFA rules can be found here

General Rules 

  1. A game can end in a tie during the regular season. 

League Format

The format of the league will vary depending on the number of teams involved and the skill levels of the teams.  In general the format will be a league split into one or more divisions with playoffs during the last 1 or 2 weeks of the season.

There will be 3 points for a win, 1 for a draw and 0 for a loss.  Teams tied on points at end of the league portion will be ranked first on "head to head" encounters, followed by Goal Difference, Goals Scored and Goals Against. 

Equipment/Set-Up/Team Colours

Teams are comprised of 7 players (including goalie).

We recommend that all players wear suitable footwear such as indoor turf shoes or cleats (metal cleats are not allowed). Shin guards are now mandatory for all players - if a referee sees a player not wearing shin guards they will be asked to leave the field of play until they have put them on. Appropriate soccer socks must be worn to cover the shin guard, if they are not covered appropriately with a soccer sock the player will be asked to cover them appropriately.

Team captains are responsible for making sure that all players on their team are wearing their matching uniform with number and each player wearing their assigned number.  Team colours are chosen at the beginning of the season and are always visible in the league table and fixture list.  In the event of a colour clash, the league will provide pinnies for the away team.  The game official will inform any player not dressed appropriately to leave the field of play and change if they deem it to be interfering with the game. 

No hats/toques, pants, jackets are permitted to be worn while playing with the sole exception for religious reasons or unless previously discussed with the league before match day. Ex. freezing cold day in October, we understand the need for warmer attire.  Step tracking/fitness watches are permitted so long as they are covered with a sweatband – no exceptions. Jewelry that is deemed unsafe will be asked to be removed at the referee and/or league’s discretion and must be immediately removed.

Co-Ed Requirements

For all Co-Ed games there must be a minimum of 2 male and 2 female players on the field of play at all times. This requirement does not include the goalkeeper, the goalkeeper is neutral to this requirement. A team may play with just 1 male or 1 female player but must play short (play 6 players instead of 7). If a team is unable to field at least 1 male and 1 female player, the team will forfeit the match..

Kick Off Times  / Default

Players should arrive sufficiently early so that games will start on time.  Games will start and end at the designated time and WILL NOT overrun because teams were late arriving.  A halftime break of 4-5 minutes for the 90 minute games and 2-3 minutes for the 60 minute games will occur and teams, at the referee's discretion, will switch ends after the half.  Teams may waive the half time interval if they wish but both captains and the referee must agree. 

Games will begin 5 minutes after the officially scheduled kick off time (6:30pm game = 6:35pm kick off). This allows both teams to get setup at their bench, a brief warmup, and allows the referee to convene with the captains, gather a game ball etc. If both teams and the referee are ready to within the 5 minute window, the game can begin. 

A default will occur if any team cannot field a squad by 15 minutes past the official start time or they are unable to meet the Co-Ed requirements to field a team.  Captains may agree to waive the rules regarding minimum players but this should be decided before the game starts.

Full Time Whistle / The End Of The Game

Games will normally end on the hour or half hour with the next game commencing a few minutes after.  Referees may, at their discretion let the game continue past the normal end time if there is currently a play in motion, so please (as with all rules) wait for the full time whistle. 

In the event of a game not having a referee, the game will be rescheduled. If you are playing a friendly the game please finish the game at the normal time, games should never overrun as this will just cause conflict and delay the schedule :-)


Player substitutions can be made at anytime (i.e. changing on the fly is allowed). However, please ensure that the player coming off has completely entered the team area before the new player joins the action and the change does not disrupt the flow of the game. Goalies cannot change on the fly - please wait for a stoppage in play before substituting goalies (the referee will disallow goalkeeper substitutions if they feel this tactic is being used to delay the match). 


A handball will occur for contact anywhere below the shoulder if the referee deems it a deliberate movement or if a significant advantage was gained by using it.  The referee will allow the game to play if he deems it to be incidental, unintentional or of significant advantage to the team in possession of the ball, so always play to the whistle.

Women are allowed to protect their chest and men their family jewels.

Free Kicks

All free kicks are indirect. To score off an indirect kick, the ball must be touched by another player (offence or defence, including the goalkeeper). Although not strictly illegal, blasting the ball with the intent of of forcing a deflection is against the spirit of the game and considered bad sportsmanship.  Players who consistently do this should be mocked and / or given the "evil eye".  [Rule updated 24th June 2011 to state that the ball may touch the goalkeeper for a goal to be awarded in an indirect kick]

If a ball hits the top or sides of the dome, an indirect kick is awarded to the opposite team. The ball should be placed at the spot on the field that is closest to where the ball made contact with the dome. i.e. directly underneath the point at which the ball hit the ceiling.

The 9v9 and 11v11 leagues WILL have direct free kicks, but all 7v7 leagues will only have indirect free kicks.


Penalties will be awarded for "direct" infringements (handballs, fouls) within the goalkeeper's areas. Penalties will normally be taken from the penalty spot (it's all beginning to make sense now), but in some venues this may be too close to the goalkeeper so the referee will use their superior powers of judgement to decide on a suitable place.  Players that miss penalties should be immediately patted on the back and have the words "hard luck son it happens to the best of us" whispered in their ears with a modicum of condescension in the tone. 

"Indirect" infringements occuring within the goalkeeper's area will result in an indirect free kick; no closer than 5 yards from nearest part of the goalline. 

Kick-ins / Corners / Goal Kicks 

There will be no throw-ins except during our 9v9 and 11v11 leagues. During a 7v7 match a kick in from the side will be taken where the ball went out of play. .

Kick-ins from the side that fail to come into play will be ruled as a foul kick-in with possession turned over to the opposing team and retaken [Rule updated late 2013]

A goal may NOT be scored directly from a corner kick as all kick ins are indirect.

A goal may NOT be scored directly from a goal kick.


They are the bigger guys with gloves, sometimes they have a screw loose.

  1. Goalies can use their hands ONLY when they are inside the lined goalie crease.
  2. When inside the goal crease, a goalie CANNOT pick up a ball with his/her hands if the ball has been played back on purpose to the goalie by a player on his/her team with their foot. This includes all forms of passing and kick-ins. The only exception is if the player directs the ball back to the goalie with any part of their body that is not their foot - in this case the goalie CAN pick the ball up with his/her hands. A violation of this rule results in an indirect free kick for the other team at the spot where the goalie inappropriately used their hands.
  3. A goalie can "roam" as far from their goal as they want, but once outside their lined crease, the goalie CANNOT use their hands at any time.

Fouls, Infringements and Advantage

As with handballs, the referee will use their judgement to keep the game flowing where possible. If a foul occurs and they deem the advantage to be with the opposing team, play may continue, so always play to the whistle. 

If the ball strikes the referee, corner flag or goal post and remains in play, the game will continue uninterrupted as they are considered part of the field of play. When in doubt, play to the referee's whistle. 

Slide Tackling

Even if contact is made with the ball first, slide tackling is not allowed under any circumstances.  Sliding is permitted to reach a cross, to keep a ball in play or to block a kick that is far enough away from the player that the referee deems fair but this must NEVER be done in close proximity to other players (common sense should prevail in these situations). 


To score a goal, the ENTIRE ball must pass over the goal line.  The referee will have the final say on any disputes.


If a game needs to be recorded as a forfeit (such as not being able to make the game etc), then a 3-0 score will be awarded to the other team.


There are NO off-sides in a 7v7 or 9v9 match, only 11v11. However, a strategy of consistently "cherry-picking (US/Canada)" or "nappy lining (UK/Newcastle) " is considered to be jolly bad form.

Discipline: Yellow & Red Cards

A yellow and red card system will be in place to issue punishments to players for various offences.  The rules governing which cards are issued under which circumstances are listed (but not limited to) those below.

Yellow Card (Caution-able Offences) - The referee issues a yellow card for reckless fouls and for the following offences:

(a) Deliberate Handball or Handball by a Goalkeeper (unless denying a clear goalscoring opportunity);(b) Endangerment; (c) Unsporting Behaviour(d) Dissent; verbal abuse directed toward the referee or coordinator.(e) Provoking Altercation: Making physical contact with an opponent (e.g., pushing or poking), short of fighting, or using the ball in so doing

Red Card (Ejection-able Offences) - A person receives a red card for fouls and offences described directly above, which the referee considers violent or use of excessive force, and for:

(a) 2nd Yellow Card;(b) Elbowing: Intentionally elbowing an opponent;(c) Vicious Slide Tackling: A tackle from the side or from behind directly into one or both legs of an opponent, seriously endangering him;(d) Fighting;(e) Leaving Team Bench or Penalty Area to engage in a fracas or confrontation with the opposition or a Game Official;(f) Extreme Unsporting Behaviour: Committing particularly despicable behaviour, including(g) Spitting at an opponent or any other person;(h) Use of extremely abusive language or behaviour toward a Game Official;(i) Aggressive physical contact with a Game Official in dissent;(j) Deliberate handball or foul that denies a clear goalscoring opportunity;

Time Penalties - The following time penalties apply to offences for which a card is issued (subject to further action by the Administrative Authority).  During the time penalty teams must play short.

(a) Yellow Card: 2 minutes for a Yellow Card; (b) Red Card: The player will be dismissed/ejected and not allowed to return to the game. The team must play short for the remainder of the game with the offending player being ejected:  any player receiving a Red Card will take no further part in the game and will, depending on the circumstances, be banned from a number of subsequent games or dismissed from the league entirely. [Rule updated 24th June 2011 to state that a red card will mean that the team must play short for the remainder of the game]

Time penalties are assessed from the time that play restarts after the offence occurs. All time penalties are absolute and will run for the full duration of the penalty regardless of how many goals are scored in that period.

Discipline: Suspensions and Penalties

Players who have been issued a red card/dismissed will be subject to the following penalties. The league reviews each incident individually and reserves the right to reduce or apply additional penalties in the event of situations involving unconventional and extraordinary circumstances. All red cards carry a minimum of at least one game suspension. If you receive a red card, you will not be eligible to participate in the next scheduled fixture for that team. The league will notify team captains if suspensions are more than one game.

Receiving a second yellow card in the same match: 1 Game Suspension 

Denying an obvious goal scoring opportunity: 1 Game Suspension

Abusive language or gestures directed towards a league official; Dissent: 1 - 3 Game Suspension

Unsporting Conduct: 1 - 3 Game Suspension  

Serious Foul Play: 1 - 5 Game Suspension

Violent Conduct (Fighting, Spitting, Threatening, Extreme Verbal Abuse against an opposing player): Permament Suspension; player will be removed from the league and banned for a minimum period of one year.

Violent Conduct against a league official (Aggressive Physical Contact, Spitting, Threatening, Extreme Verbal Abuse against a league official): Permament Expulsion; player will be removed from the league and banned for life.

Team Misconduct: Any violent acts or other behaviour that is detrimental to the reputation of the league committed by teams, large groups of players or supporter(s) will result in blanket suspension and or expulsions. The league reserves the right to retain team fees in instances deemed appropriate.

Receiving a second red card in a single league season that has not been issued for a serious offence: Additional 1 Game Suspension applied to the initial suspension. 

Receiving a third red in a single season: The league will review the player's disciplinary history as well as the circumstances before issuing a suspension.

Playoff Games

If a playoff game ends in a tie:

  1. The game goes immediately to penalty kicks. No extra time or golden goal will be played.
  2. The referee will decide which net is used for the penalty kicks.
  3. Which team shoots first is decided by the referee with a coin toss. 
  4. Each team will take three penalty kicks.
  5. In a coed match each team must alternate between male and female shooters. (e.g. if a male kicks the first penalty, the team’s second penalty must be taken by a female and so on)
  6. The goalkeeper who was in goal when the final whistle went must remain in goals for the penalties (a serious injury is the only exception).
  7. If the game is still tied after three penalties each, the teams will continue to take sudden death penalties until one team scores and the other misses, Both teams must take an equal number of penalties.
  8. A male player cannot take a 2nd penalty until every male in the team has taken one. The same rule applies to female players.
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