5-a-side Football Rules

August 9, 2016

Brush up ahead your first Go Mammoth league game with our guide to 5-a-side football rules.

Before you play in our 5 aside London leagues you need to have a brush up on the rules…


No more than five players on the pitch for each side (six players per team for 6-a-side).

A game can officially be played with 4 players on the pitch for one team.

In mixed leagues two girls must be on the pitch at all times. If fewer than two girls can play for a team then the game can be played as an official match, but only if the opposing team are happy to do so.

If a team arrive with fewer than 3 of their original players or the referee steps in, then the other team must decide BEFORE kick off if they wish for the result to count towards the standings or whether to play the game as a friendly. This decision must be clear to both teams involved BEFORE kicking off.


Teams have until ten minutes past the designated start time to field a legal team. The length of the game will be reduced to stick to time scales and it must be clear if the game is to be played as a friendly before kick off.

Go Mammoth Football


Substitutions can be made at any point during the game and are “rolling”. The substitute(s) must be off the pitch before the new player(s) comes on and must enter the pitch at the same place the player left the pitch. Play will not stop for substitutions. This includes after a goal, during a free kick etc.

Play will continue regardless of substitutions. If a team wastes time during a switch then play will be handed over for a free kick / goal kick to the other team.

Play will continue if a goalkeeper is switching into goal, even if this involves putting goalkeeper gloves on.

There is no limit to the amount of substitutions a team can make.

There is no limit to the amount of substitutes a team can have on the sideline.


Only the designated goalkeeper is allowed inside the designated goal area. Two players can only be in the area during a switchover. If there are two players in the designated goal area during a shot from the opposition then a penalty will be given. Make goalkeeper switches as swift as possible.

If the goalkeeper leaves the area for any reason during play then a penalty will be given to the opposing team.

Any defending players that enter the goal area for any reason during play will result in a penalty to the opposing team. This includes running through/across the goal area. This does not include momentum which may take a player into the area. But If the ball is touched/cleared during this momentum a penalty may be given at the referee’s discretion).

If an attacking player goes into the goal area, a goal kick will be awarded. If the attacker’s foot is inside the area when they shoot, the goal will be disallowed. If momentum takes the attacker into the area but the shot left their foot before their foot entered into the area the goal will be given.

Goalkeepers can roll, throw or kick the ball out. They are not allowed to throw the ball above head height or throw it with an overarm motion. If the goalkeeper throws, kicks or rolls the ball out over head height an indirect free-kick will be awarded to the opposing team from the kick off spot.


All free kicks must be taken indirectly. The ball must be placed at the point of the foul and can be taken by any player. The opposing team must be one metre from the ball when a free kick is taken.

Goals will not be awarded if scored directly from a free kick.

A free kick can be given for one of the following: (1) the ball going over head height, whether that be a deflection or kicked directly from a player. It’s whoever it hits last. (2) charging (3) roughness (4) Handball (5) dangerous play (5) slide tackles (6) lack of control in a tackle (7) time wasting

The referee is able to include a sin bin for two minutes as well as a free kick if they feel it’s necessary.

Back passes to the goalkeeper ARE allowed. The goalkeeper is allowed to pick the ball up from a back pass.

Multiple back passes to a goalkeeper will be reviewed at the referee’s discretion and a free kick can be awarded if they feel it’s getting ridiculous.

A free kick will be awarded against the last player to touch the ball before it goes above head height.

Any rebounds off goalkeepers that go over head height will result in play carrying on.

In mixed football penalties can be taken by any player.

The penalty taker can only take one step before their penalty kick. The penalty taker is not permitted to run-up to the ball before taking the shot.

Go Mammoth Football


Results within league games will be awarded as follows:  3 points for a win, 2 points for a draw, 1 point for a loss and  0 points for a forfeit.

Any drawn play-offs will be decided on penalties.


The referee’s decisions on the pitch are final.

These Go Mammoth league rules are not exhaustive and may be added to or amended at any time.

Go Mammoth reserve the right be to deduct 1 point from a team at our own discretion for a forfeit or any serious misconduct.


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