What are the 5-a-Side Rules
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What Are The 5-A-Side Football Rules? – Complete Guide

Football is a very popular sport around the world. It is a game played between two teams who try to score as many goals as possible within a specific time. The most common format of football involves 11 vs 11 players who play against each other.

However, many people think that this is the only way to play football. This is where they get it wrong. Football is a versatile game, played in different formats. We are going to talk about one today, specifically about 5-a-side rules.

what is the 5-a-side format?

Football is played in different formats such as 9-a-side, 7-a-side and the one which we are going to talk about today, 5-a-side. The name already suggests that this format of football involves two teams of 5 players each competing against the other.

However, this is not the only difference from the normal 11-a-side format. 5-a-side and 7-a-side formats come under the category of Futsal which basically means football is played in a smaller area.

Therefore, 5-a-side games are played on smaller surfaces mostly Astro Turfs or hard concrete courts. However, Futsal is very unique and you can even enjoy it on the streets.

Need to understand 5-a-side rules:

The official 5-aside games are either held on smaller pitches or indoor surfaces. They also consist of a comparatively smaller goal and sometimes the court might be enclosed with walls. 5-a-side rules are also different from that of 11-a-side football. This means that the throw-in rule is sometimes also omitted from this format.

However, these small rules depend upon the surface you are playing and the kind of game it is. 5 a-side football is very fun and is known to help players increase their skills. Many great players have regarded Futsal as a helpful source to improve their skills.

How do 5-a-side games help players?  

Understanding the benefits of 5-sided games and 5-a-side rules is very beneficial for football players. 5 sided games are helpful in developing the fundamental skills of football players. One of the greatest players to ever play the game, Ronaldinho regarded small-sided games as a helpful tool in improving his game.

The small area restricts the players to take small touches. Meanwhile, keeping the ball with close control is essential if you want to excel in this format. You also have to make quick decisions and your passes must be accurate while your dribbles must be fast. This improves the overall game of any player.  

futsal; a way to get better at football:

All professional players mostly regard futsal games as one of the best tools to polish your game. The reason is that bigger-scale games such as 11-sided football require a lot of physical quality as well as good technical quality.

However, the player with the best technical quality is usually the best player in small-sided games. Having good control and understanding of the ball is crucial if you want to make it far as a football player. This is where 5-a-side or even 7-a-side games aid you and improve you as a player.  

5-a-Side Rules

Now we are going to talk about different and the most important 5-a-side Rules. Some of them might seem insignificant, but usually, these are the ones that have important applications to the real-time game. So pay attention if you want to learn 5-A-Side football rules:

Pitch Size

I already mentioned it above that 5 aside football comes under futsal or street football and there is nothing specific about where you should play it. However, there are many players who play this format professionally, and therefore, standard rules are followed when considering the pitch size.

FA Small-Sided Football Laws suggest that five-sided and six-sided football pitches must be maximum of 50 meters in length and 35 meters in width. The minimum size is 25 meters and 16 meters respectively.  

5 a-side Formations - Square
Set piece tactics

Furthermore, the pitches are always in rectangular shape. The touch-line is usually longer than the goal-line. The barriers are exceptional. Some leagues restrict the games to be played with fences with the kick or throw-in rule enabled.

Meanwhile, other leagues allow omitting the kick-in or throwing-in rule and the players use the fences to get out of tight situations. This further displays more creativity from the players and is a joy to watch. The goal size is also pretty small and it takes a very hard shot or proper teamwork to score a goal. 

Goal Size

The standard goal size according to proper 5-a-side rules is that the goal must be 12 feet in height and 4 feet in width. There are different scenarios to this. Some games are played with even smaller goals such as a goal of size 6-foot height and 4-foot width.

Some games are played with 12-foot height and 6-foot width-sized goals. The bigger the goal size, the easier it gets to score. However, football is a game that demands creativity and 5-a-side games are no exception.

Game Time

Game time is the third aspect in 5-a-side rules. A normal 11 vs 11 game consists of 90 minutes and extra time if it is a knockout game. It is not the case in 5 sided football. The smaller pitch is easier to cover. However, running up and down the pitch repeatedly is even more tiring.

Therefore, a standard 5-sided game is going to last for about two halves 35 minutes each. In between halves, a 5-minute rest is usually given. These games are also essential for building lots of fitness and agility. However, it depends on how much effort you put into the game.  

Studs or Grippers?

Standard 5-a-side rules do not usually allow players to wear studs for the game. This is because these games are either played on turf surfaces or indoors and wearing studs can destroy the playing surface as well as injure any player. There are special astroturf shoes or grippers available in the market. 

Shin Pads  

Players wear shin pads as a source of extra security and to avoid injuries. Therefore, standard 5-a-side rules encourage players to wear proper long socks and shin pads. However, the chances of getting heavily injured in this format are very less compared to that of an 11-sided game.

Therefore, there is freedom given to players that they can avoid wearing shin pads. Nowadays, some professional players do not wear shin pads even in professional 11-sided games. It is just a matter of personal preference.  

Goalkeeper’s Area 

This is one of those 5-a-side rules which do not apply to every tournament. It depends up on the committee organizing the respective tournament if they want to enable this rule or not. This rule is basically that the goalkeeper cannot stop the ball outside the penalty area. Doing so can result in a card to the keeper or direct penalty.  

Head-Height Rule (Not Common)

Head-Height is another common rule from the 5-a-side rules book. This rule is a little tricky to understand. Therefore, you must read carefully. The head-height rule is basically a rule which disallows players to play the ball above the head height of the players.

Usually, the tallest player’s height is set as the standard for players not to loft the ball above. If any player violates this rule, then a free kick is awarded to the opposing side. If a player repeatedly violates this rule, he can get booked by the ref.

The idea behind this rule is to encourage the players to keep the ball on the ground and do not play a lot of long passes. However, this is not a common rule, especially in competitive tournaments. This rule usually applies to friendly fixtures or practice matches.  

5 a-side Formations - Y


This is it from the Five-A-side rules article. I hope you understand the basic rules in 5-a-side football and the aim behind implementing all those rules. Playing futsal is extremely important for players especially young kids. No rules or restrictions are used in street football.

However, playing this format with properly defined rules not only improves the technical game of the players, but it also teaches them discipline. This is a must if you want to become a complete player. A player without the right attitude is not a complete player and that is why formats such as 5-a-side football are there to nourish you.  

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