We've pulled toegther the rules of Five-A-Side to keep everyone in agreement - perfect for first time players, younger teams and those dodgy adults who always pull out the 'childhood made up but we played it that way for so long we beleive its real' rules!  Here are some Frequently Asked Questions around Five Aside and Futsal to help play run smoothly!

  • Are there hard and fast rules in Five-A-Side Football?

There are some organised leagues that have their own hard and fast rules but really, there's no organising body that oversees things and often its a case of players simply agreeing their version before starting a game.

One slight variation on this is Futsal, which is a version of five a side football that was developed in South America but which is becoming popular over here and which has an organised rules structure governed by FIFA.

  • How long does the game last?

First off, you have to remember that five a side football is really just a few changes away from the real thing.  It is undoubtedly faster moving and is played for a shorter period - usually twenty minutes each half - for that reason. However, as court and pitch bookings tend to be an hour, the majority of players have the desire to play out the full 60mins! 

  • What equipment do I need?

This is one of the main differences between Five-A-Side and a full game. Players must wear trainers rather than studded boots for indoors and many will do away with shin pads although you can still wear them if you wish.  You still need two goals and a football obviously, but really that's about it! 

NOTE: Book your pitch at any Live Active Leisure sportshall and all you need to do is turn up ready to go - ball, pitch and goals are provided!

  • How does the pitch differ to a full game - other than size obviously!?

At Live Active Leisure we offer two choices for playing Five-A-Side - indoor sportshalls and outdoor pitches.

The 5 a side football pitch should be between the maximum size of 42.65 metres length x 25.91 metres width and the minimum size of 16.76 metres length x 25.91metres width. The centre of the 5 a side football pitch is marked and surrounded by a marked circle of 91cms radius. Sometimes, a half way line is marked across the pitch. The penalty areas of a 5 a side football pitch are marked by a semi circle of approximately 7.62 metres radius drawn from the centre of each goal line.

The goals can vary in size for 5 a side football but are much smaller than the full size game. Sizes of goal typically measure 4.88metres length x 1.2metres height for a senior game, 3.66 x 1.2 for a junior game but mini goal sizes are also acceptable, especially for children, and can be as small as 2.44 metres length x 1.2 metres height.

  • What position does everyone play in a Five-A-Side football team?

The five a side football team is made up of four outfield players and a goalkeeper.  Because of the smaller pitch size there's more scope for players to enjoy different roles - you might be defending in one move and attacking in the next. What we will say is be prepared for plenty of passing and dribbling as this is a really fast paced game!

  • What are the main rules of 5 a side football and do they differ form futsal?

The choice of playing ends should be decided by tossing a coin.

The ball should be dropped into the centre circle between one player from each side, standing no closer than 1metre (3ft) from the centre mark. Do this after each goal.

Headers are not allowed in five a side football - a free kick should be awarded to the opposing team if anyone forgets this!

All kicks are free kicks which means that you can score directly from the free kick.

The goal keeper is the only player allowed in the goal area; anyone else comes in and a penalty is awarded to the opposing team.

There is no offside rule!

Sliding tackles are not allowed.

The normal rules of football apply to the goal keeper when receiving back passes, that is, the goal keeper must kick the ball back into play and not handle it. 

Players have to remain at 2 metres distance from any player taking penalties, free kicks, corners etc.

When taking a penalty, the player is not allowed to take more than two steps.

Up to three substitutions can be made in a game of 5 a side football.

The Rules of Futsal

Futsal is played in much the same way as 5 a side football. The major differences to the rules of five a side football are as follows:

Futsal is always played for 20 minutes each half with the clock being stopped if the ball goes out of play or there are any stoppages.

There is no height restriction in Futsal as in five a side football, the ball can be kicked or headed to any height.

Rolling substitutions can be used in Futsal, with up to twelve players being changed throughout a game.

Goalkeepers are allowed to come out of their area, and players are allowed into the penalty area, similar to conventional 5 a side

All kick ins, goal kicks and corners etc have to be carried out within four seconds, which the referee indicates by holding up his fingers and counting down. If play is not restarted within this time, an indirect free kick is awarded to the opposing team.

Players have to remain at 5 metres distance from the player with possession of the ball on penalties, free kicks, corners etc.

Sliding tackles are not allowed in Futsal, as in 5 a side football, but sliding can be used to stop the ball going out of play or as a defensive measure.

If a team accumulates five indirect free kicks awarded against them in one half, the sixth will automatically be a free kick taken 10 metres from the goal or from the point where the last offence took place. This is not the same in conventional 5 a side.


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