The following indoor soccer rulebook evolved over several decades and it will continue to do so. As Sports59 continues to tweak and fine tune the rules,and its verbiage, player safety will remain our greatest priority.
As you peruse the rulebook keep in mind that this facility, and the leagues it hosts, are strictly recreational. While certain divisions may be more competitive than others, the games will remain (and be officiated) in the spirit of fair play, and with the safety of each participant in mind.
Sports59 league games are contests of skill, finesse, quickness and imagination. They ARE NOT outdoor soccer games! As such, Sports59 will not tolerate excessive force, dirty or physical play with intent to harm, intimidation, bullying, trash talking or other similar nefarious outdoor soccer behaviors. Those guilty of such as actions will be suspended or banned from the leagues and the facility.
We ask that you consider these points prior to registering your team(s), and that you communicate this info to your team members.
Below is a list of scenarios involving rules that always seem to create discontent amongst participating teams and players.
Offsides on a shootout: During a shootout all players (except for the shootout taker and goalkeeper) must be positioned behind the midfield line. Only AFTER the official blows his/her whistle can players run forward, towards the ball. Should a player move forward over the midfield line prior to the whistle, he/she will be considered offsides and the shootout MAY BE retaken, based on the overall player advantage. See below for scenarios to better understand each situation.
- Scenario 1: If a defensive player crosses the midfield line prior to the whistle and the shootout is converted, the goal will stand despite the offside (Offensive Advantage)
- Scenario 2: Same scenario as above, except that an offensive player is the one crossing the midfield line (shootout converted), the shootout will be retaken. (Defensive Advantage)
- Scenario 3: Same as Scenario 2 but the shootout is missed, the play will stand. (Defensive Advantage)
- Scenario 4: Same as Scenario 3 but the defensive player is found to be offside (shootout is missed), the shootout will be retaken.
Player substitution: It is imperative that all league players understand the proper sequence of player substitution.
- A player coming in is not allowed to step onto the pitch until the exiting teammate is within 6 feet of the subbing team gate. If a violation occurs, a verbal warning MAY be issued by the scorekeeper; however, the center ref may still decide to issue a time penalty (2 min), based on game situation namely, active ball location.
Encroachment: One of the most circumvented rules of indoor soccer (and easily the most penalized with a 2 min blue card).
- Except for kick-offs (where default distance is 15 feet – or 5 big steps), all set pieces require an AUTOMATIC/DEFAULT minimum distance of 3 feet.
- Once in position, the defender MAY NOT encroach (move forward towards the ball). Moving sideways is allowed when positioned at least 3 feet away, but never forward.
- Same rule will apply if and when offensive player requests “the full distance” of 15 feet.
- Set pieces restarts will be on the whistle at that point, however the encroachment rule stands. If a player moves forward prior to the ball being touched, he or she will receive a 2 min penalty. This includes defending player in the wall sticking any body parts toward the ball, with intent to impede/deflect progress of free kick
To clarify, no movement towards the ball is allowed until the ball is touched by the offensive team. The whistle will simply start the 5-second countdown.
Player/Official behavior: This is a very sensitive subject. Sports59 certainly understands the nature of indoor soccer, its competitive nature, clash of personalities, cultures, language barriers, lack of rules knowledge and so on. Our officials are trained and quite experienced in dealing with just about any situation. Despite this, player/official behavior continues to be a roller coaster.
Here is the way we look at this: No official decision/call should ever warrant a player, coach or spectator to insult an official. It’s not polite. It’s not the adult thing to do and it resolves nothing.
By insults we mean: curse words, verbal or physical threats, sarcastic banter, innuendos or any physical or verbal action that could be construed as disrespectful towards an official.
As a Sports59 patron you are absolutely free to comport yourself in any way you wish. However, we will not tolerate anyone if and when line of civility is crossed. A bad call, a missed handball, out of bounds or a push, does not give anyone the right to “lose it” under the pretense “competitiveness” or “a bad day at the office.” Please treat our officials the way you would like to be treated:
- In the event that officiating is subpar (for any reason), the team captain has the right to request that the scorekeeper summons the facility manager to observe the game.
- If you disagree with a call or a decision during the game – you may ask the official in a non-confrontational way, why a call was made.
- You may or may not receive an explanation.
- If you do, take it for what it is, as the official will NOT CHANGE his/her call.
- If you do not, you may engage the official again at the end of the game.
- You may also approach the scorekeeper and ask for an explanation.
- You may visit with the manager on duty after the game to discuss differences, seek clarification, rule explanation, etc.
To sum it up: Sports59 has a zero-tolerance policy regarding insulting/berating officials.
Indoor specific infractions: As established, indoor soccer rules will differ from the outdoor ones. The most glaring difference is in the level of physical play. What may be considered “fair game” in an outdoor soccer contest, will be considered a foul in indoor. Given the smaller footprint of the indoor pitch, the wooden and glass walls and tighter spacing – officials are instructed to protect players at all times.
- Excessive Force: Barreling into a player at full speed while making contact with the ball may be called a foul. This does include shoulder to shoulder play, where no intent to play the ball is apparent.
- Boarding: A slight defensive push of an offensive player into the boards is considered a foul. Same goes for a shoulder-to-shoulder play. What may be a legal play in the middle of the field, will be a foul against the boards.
- Illegal Use Of Hands: Placing a hand(s) or elbow on a defender, especially when against the wall, will be whistled as a foul more often than not.
- Fouling from behind: Any variation of tripping, holding or pushing from behind will be sanctioned with a 2-minute penalty, regardless of intent or not. Should intent be judged, the penalty could be a yellow or a red card.
- Handballs: 90% of handball infractions in our indoor leagues are of the involuntary nature. Meaning it is “ball-to-hand” instance and, as such, will rarely be called. Hand position is key (natural position), as well as player positioning with respect to the goal scoring opportunity. Always play the whistle. Do not stop to argue what you may perceive as a handball, unless you hear the whistle.
- Taunting/Trash Talking: In-game banter is acceptable as long as the line of fair play and good-natured fun is never crossed. Any kind of threatening taunting or trash talking between players, that officials can vouch for, will be punished accordingly.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
INTRODUCTION AND DEFINITIONS
PART A: ADMINISTRATIVE POLICIES AND PROCEDURES
A1. PLAYER REGISTRATION
A2. TEAM REGISTRATION
A6. ALCOHOL POLICY
PART B: PLAYING RULES
B3. PLAYER’S EQUIPMENT
B4. THE REFEREE
B5. THE ASSISTANT REFEREE
B6. COED LEAGUES
B7. YOUTH LEAGUES
B8. DURATION OF THE GAME
B9. START OF THE GAME
B10. THE BALL IN AND OUT OF PLAY
B13. PROCEDURAL VIOLATIONS
B14. FOULS AND PENALTIES
B15. SHOOTOUTS AND OVERTIME SHOOTOUTS
INTRODUCTION AND DEFINITIONS
This rulebook is to provide a basis for good competition and a safe, enjoyable experience for all players. The following explanations of some common terms are general, not technical; they are intended to be helpful to players and coaches.
Bench Penalty: time penalty given to a team where no specific player is recorded as serving the penalty. A team member, coach, or spectator may cause a bench penalty and the team must play short.
Boarding: pushing, charging, or crowding an opponent into the perimeter wall. What might be a legal play in the middle of the field may be boarding if it runs an opponent into the wall
Careless: means that the player has shown a lack of attention or consideration when making a challenge or that he acted without precaution.
Charging: a challenge for space using physical contact within playing distance of the ball without using arms or elbows. It is an offense to charge an opponent in a “careless” or “reckless” manner or using “excessive force”.
Dangerous Play: any action that, while trying to play the ball, threatens injury to someone (including the player himself).
Dead Ball: refers to the situation when the ball is out of bounds or out of play due to a stoppage of any kind.
Delay of Game: is called when any player, coach, or spectator is deliberately trying to slow down the progress of the game including, but not limited to, the following:
- A player, coach or spectator holding onto the ball, or keeping the ball away from the opposing team or referee, so as to delay a restart.
- A player or coach causing the ball to be moved farther from the place of the restart after the whistle has blown for said restart.
- A player, coach or spectator distracting the referee and/or assistant referee verbally or non-verbally from restarting the game.
- Any player not giving the required distance as signaled by the referee.
- Any player, coach or spectator that does not leave the field of play,
and/or facility, in a timely fashion may be subject to an additional
- If a player deliberately takes his/her time to get back on their side of
mid field after a goal is scored. Play can begin as long as the slow player doesn’t interfere with the restart.
Double Touch: is the violation that occurs when a player taking a kickoff or restart, plays the ball a second time before it is touched by another player (teammate or opponent). You cannot double touch the ball on a kickoff or restart (including goalkeeper throw in) even if it hits the wall or referee before it comes back to you.
Excessive force: means that the player has far exceeded the necessary use of force and is in danger of injuring himself or his opponent.
Goalkeeper on the Ground: the goalkeeper is the only player allowed to play the ball while on the ground as long as, in doing so, he is not creating a dangerous play and remains within the arc.
Handling the ball or handball: a deliberate act of a player making contact with the ball with his hand or arm (except for the goalkeeper within his own arc). The referee will have to take the following into consideration:
- The movement of the hand towards the ball (not the ball towards the hand), (hands or arms in natural playing position).
- The distance between the opponent and the ball (unexpected ball)
- The position of the hand does not necessarily mean that there is
- Touching the ball with an object held in the hand (clothing, shin
guard etc.) counts as an infringement
- Hitting the ball with a thrown object (boot, shin guard etc.) counts
as an infringement.
Holding: (an opponent) the act of preventing him from moving past or around using the hand, the arms or the body.
Obstruction: impeding the progress of an opponent, moving into the path of the opponent to obstruct, block, slow down or force a change of direction by an opponent when the ball is not within playing distance of either player. All players have the right to their position on the field of play, being in the way of an opponent is not the same as moving into the way of an opponent.
Shielding: shielding the ball is permitted. A player who places himself between an opponent and the ball for tactical reasons has not committed an offense as long as the ball is kept within playing distance and the player does not hold off the opponent with his arms or body. If the ball is within playing distance, the player may be fairly charged by an opponent. It is important to remember to play the ball and not the opponent.
Offsides: crossing the mid line early after whistle is blown and before ball is played on a kickoff or shootout. Players may not cross the line on a kickoff until the ball has been played, or on a shootout, until the referee’s whistle.
Penalty area: is the penalty arc.
Reckless: means that the player has acted with complete disregard to the danger to, or the consequences for, his opponent.
Slide: any deliberate movement of leaving one or both feet while going down to the carpet in an attempt to play the ball.
Unsporting behavior: There are different circumstances when a player must receive at least a blue card for unsporting behavior, these include but are not limited to, e.g. if a player:
- Commits a foul in a “careless” manner
- Commits a foul for the tactical purpose of interfering with or
breaking up a promising attack
- Holds an opponent for the tactical purpose of pulling the
opponent away from the ball or preventing the opponent from getting the ball
- Handles the ball to prevent an opponent gaining possession or developing an attack (other than the goalkeeper within his own arc)
- Handles the ball in an attempt to score a goal (irrespective of whether or not the attempt is successful)
- Attempts to deceive the referee by feigning injury or pretending to have been fouled (simulation)
- Fails to respect the encroachment rule
- Acts in a manner which shows a lack of respect for the game (defacing property)
- Verbally distracts an opponent during play or at a restart
- Illegal entry or re-entry of a player onto the field
- Audible obscene language
- On restart, deliberately kicking the ball into a defender to draw
an encroachment penalty on the defender
- Inappropriate celebration after a goal is scored
- Spitting anywhere in the facility other than in a trash can
- Chewing gum while playing, on the field, or in the bench area
Violent Conduct:physical force that injures, attempts to injure, or abuses any individual or facility property. Violent Conduct is also any verbally or physically threatening demeanor towards any individual.
PART A: POLICIES AND PROCEDURES
A1. PLAYER REGISTRATION
A1-1 Waivers and ID Cards
All participants must sign the Sports59 waiver of liability form. Anyone entering the bench area or the field must present a Sports59 player card ID.
NO WAIVER OR CURRENT ON INDIVIDUAL PAYMENTS = NO CARD, NO EXCEPTIONS.
This applies to ALL players, coaches, assistants who enter the bench area.
- A team using a player who did not complete a waiver prior to playing will forfeit that game.
- A player who provides inaccurate information on his waiver will be suspended for 1 year and his team will forfeit the game.
- A player who uses another player’s card to play will be suspended for a minimum of one year and his team will forfeit the game.
All fees paid by suspended players are non-refundable.
Acceptable documents for adult player verification of age or identification are one or more of the following: driver’s license, DMV ID, passport, an original birth certificate with a raised seal, green card, high school ID with birth date, or any government issued ID with his/her birth date listed thereon.
For youth players, a stamped outdoor roster or card from a recognized organization may be accepted. If a formal protest is made, it is the team’s responsibility to re-verify the age and/or identity of the player. Also, management of the facility or game officials may request identification from a player at any time to verify age and/or identity. The only forms of identification acceptable in these cases will be one of the items listed above.
If the player can no longer provide proof, or if the player lied about his age, his team may forfeit every game in which the offending player participated.
Any participant who is discovered to have lied about his age or identity to play in any league will be suspended for a minimum of one year. All fees paid by a suspended player are non-refundable.
A1-3 Player Eligibility
A player must be at least eighteen years old to play or enter the bench area in any adult league.
A youth player may play in a youth age group older than he/she is eligible for, but never in a younger age group.
If a player has been paid to play professional (indoor or outdoor) soccer within the last six months, or is currently playing professionally, he is only eligible to play at the highest level in each league available in that facility.
A facility may restrict advanced players from playing in leagues more than two levels down.
Persons with physical or mental impairments of a serious nature that may put them or others at risk will be restricted from play and bench area. Pregnancy and heart problems are conditions that put persons at risk.
A2. TEAM REGISTRATION
A2-1 Roster Restrictions
The maximum number of players per roster is unlimited. Players may be added to the roster throughout the season, with the exception of playoffs or championship/final contests. In order to be eligible to participate in a playoff or a championship game, a player must have participated in at least 2 prior games for that team, in that season.
No player may play on more than one team in the same division, except in those instances and circumstances where the facility management, at their sole and complete discretion, discloses and approves it.
No player may switch teams after having played for one team in the same season except where management, at their sole and complete discretion, determines that said switch is in the best interest of the player, the teams, and the game.
A2-2 Next Season Registration
Teams currently playing in any league will have the first priority to re-register by placing a deposit before a deadline set by the facility (usually after the 6th week of the season). The deposit is non-refundable.
A3-1 Team Deposits/Payment Schedule
Every registering team must pay a non-refundable deposit before the deadline established by the facility in order to be put on the game schedule. If a team’s registration fees are not paid before the first game of the season the team may be prohibited from playing or may dropped from the league, without a refund. A team may pay registration fees, in whole, or in part by various players, at the sole discretion of the Contact Person and players whose fees are not paid according to said Contact Person may be prohibited from playing.
A3-2 Officials’ Fees
Officials’ fees are payable in cash or via the Venmo app, before the start of each game and are not included in the team registration fee.
No refunds are given to suspended players. If a player who joined a team which registered as a “regular team” wants a refund, he must arrange to get the payment from the team’s authorized Contact Person. If a team deliberately forfeits two games in a season or decides to drop out of a league, they may be replaced, and no refund given. In addition, they may not be allowed to register a team again.
A3-4 Returned Checks
If any player’s or team’s check is returned, that player or team will be suspended from playing until payment is made. A $25 returned check charge is assessed in addition to the amount of the original check.
A4-1 Schedules and League Formats
Leagues will run an eight-game season format. If there are enough teams, a league may be broken into two or more divisions. Formats for a league may change from season to season, depending on the number of teams in a league. Please check with the league liaison for the format of your league. The home team is the first team listed on the league schedule or is designated with an H on the team schedule.
A4-2 Standings and Tiebreakers
Usually, leagues are set up on a best record system. A team’s record is the total number of points earned per game: 3 points for a win, 1 points for a tie.
Tiebreakers proceed in this order:
- If two or more teams are tied, the head to head results (win/loss record of the game(s) between the tied teams) determines the winner.
- If two or more teams are still tied, the head to head goal differential between the tied teams determines the winner.
- If two or more teams are still tied, the winner is the team with the fewest goals scored against them in all league games.
A team will forfeit if there are not at least 4 players ready to play within 5 minutes of a game’s scheduled start time. A team will forfeit if they lose enough players in the course of a game that they are unable to field four eligible players. A team may also forfeit a game if their league fees are not paid up in full prior to that game.
Forfeits are recorded in the standings as a loss for the forfeiting team and maximum points for the winning team.
A forfeit is given to a team if a player on the team has deliberately broken any rules regarding registration or eligibility, or a team causes a game to be terminated. If a team deliberately forfeits two games in a season or decides to drop out of a league, they may be replaced, and no refund given.
If your team is in danger of forfeiting due to a lack of players, please advise the facility manager. He or she will attempt to find more players.
A4-4 Suspended Games
Any game which is suspended at or after half time, is final. A game, which is, suspended before the end of the first half because of a rainout or blackout or injury will be rescheduled.
If your team has a scheduling request, please ensure that it is clearly communicated to the league liaison in writing (via email, SMS Text, etc), before the league schedule is made. After the schedule is released, a reschedule is only possible if there is an available time slot, the opposite team is available to play, and if both teams comply with facility policies.
Rescheduled games may not be played on the same day the league is played. Saturdays, Sundays and sometimes a different weekday will be offered as potentials dates/times for rescheduled games.
Rulebooks are available online https://www.sports59.com
Each member of the league winning team who has played at least half of the games will be eligible to receive a Sports59 championship T-shirt (or another award as chosen by the facility).
A5-1 Red Card Suspension
If a player, coach, or spectator is issued a red card, he is ejected for the remainder of that game and the facility manager will determine the length of the suspension.
Any player, coach, or spectator, who touches, bumps, physically contacts or verbally abuses a game official or facility staff shall be guilty of violent conduct and ejected from the indoor facility.
Any player, coach, or spectator who receives a red card suspension cannot return to Sports59 for any reason until the full time of the suspension is served.
A player or coach who receives a 1 game red card suspension (remainder of game when card is given and next game) and is only suspended from playing for that team, may stay in the building and play for a different team, at the sole discretion of management.
A5-2 Multiple Red Cards
Any action following a red card combined with a player’s prior history, can and will affect the length of the player’s overall suspension.
A5-3 Terminated or Abandoned Games
If the referee terminates a game, the outcome of the game and any disciplinary action will be decided by the facility manager.
If any player, coach, or spectator involved with a particular team gives the referee cause to terminate a game, the victory will be awarded to the opposing team.
A6. ALCOHOL POLICY
Players and others must abide by the rules governing drinking on the premises. Players are allowed to consume alcohol after their game has concluded. If a player is found to be consuming alcohol prior to a game or is playing under the influence of alcohol, he or she will be red carded and ejected from the Sports59 premises. No exceptions!
PART B: PLAYING RULES
Sports59 will provide balls for league games and warm up. No other balls are allowed on the field of play.
B2-1 Number of Players
Sports59 hosts 6-aside leagues. Each team can field a maximum of 5 field players and 1 designated goalkeeper. The minimum number of players allowed to avoid a forfeit is 4 (3 field players and 1 goalkeeper)however, in the event of an injury or suspension, the team playing short will be forced to forfeit the game.
A team must have 1 designated goalkeeper on the field at all times.
- The goalkeeper must wear a jersey color that distinguishes him from all other field players and from the referee.
- A team may NEVER have more than one goalkeeper on the field at one time.
- The goalkeeper may play the ball with his hands within his own penalty area, if the ball is not deliberately passed to him by a teammate’s foot pass.
- The goalkeeper may distribute the ball by rolling, throwing, punting or drop kicking except for a goal throw or free kick restart.
- The goalkeeper may drop the ball to his own feet and kick or dribble the ball.
- The goalkeeper is not allowed to bounce the ball, as it becomes an infraction. When bouncing the ball, the keeper is dropping and picking up the ball, which is not allowed. Infraction is marked as a procedural violation (no foul counted), however the offending team turns the ball over.
B2-3a Substitutions During Play
During the game, unlimited player substitutions are allowed, provided that the player substituted for is within 6 feet of his/her bench gate. and in front of his team’s bench or off the field before the replacement steps onto the field.
Neither the substitute entering the field nor the player leaving may play the ball while the other is on the field. If either substituting player plays the ball, a timed penalty is given to the player that plays the ball.
B2-3b Guaranteed Substitutions
Goalkeeper subs and injuries are considered guaranteed substitutions.
B2-3c Goalkeeper Substitutions
- On a guaranteed substitution, a goalkeeper can be substituted for any player on his team, including players on the field. The departing goalkeeper must receive acknowledgment from the referee or scorekeeper, when a goalkeeper change is made during a guaranteed substitution.
- On any other substitution, the goalkeeper must be replaced by a player from his team’s bench, who cannot leave the bench until the goalkeeper is within the touchline in front of his bench or off the field. The goalkeeper must enter the bench to remove his goalkeeper jersey.
- When a goalkeeper receives a time penalty, the offending team must get another designated goalkeeper onto the field and ready to play in a timely manner. A violation results in a blue card bench penalty to the offending team, and the team will play an additional player short.
- TIP: During a shootout, a goalkeeper substitution is allowed as long as the subbing player is already on the field.
B2-3d Illegal Methods of Entering or Exiting the Field
Players may only enter or exit the field through their own bench door. Any other entry or exit may result in a blue card penalty.
B2-3e Substitution Violations
Violations of the above substitution rules will result in a blue card penalty.
Play is restarted with a free kick from where the ball was when the whistle (or horn) sounded.
The referee shall send any player off the field that requires treatment for injury or blood (regardless of whether the blood is his own or another’s, or is on his body or uniform). For treatments involving blood, the player must obtain the referee or the scorekeeper’s approval before he may re-enter the field.
Play shall stop when the referee decides
- an injury is critical (safety of the player comes first),
- the injured player’s location is likely to interfere with play, or
- the injured player’s team has control of the ball.
When play is stopped for an injury, the injured player must leave the field, except the goalkeeper. The second time play is stopped because of an injury to the same goalkeeper, he then must leave the field. An injured player may re-enter the field after play is restarted. If play is stopped for an injury, anyone entering the field to assist the injured player must wait for the referee’s signal. If no clear possession is determined the ball is given to the defensive team.
B3. PLAYER’S EQUIPMENT
B3-1 Uniforms and Equipment
All the field players of a team must wear the same color jersey, or everyone must wear a bib. The goalkeeper will wear a jersey color that distinguishes him from all other field players and from the referee. The home team changes in case of a color conflict.
Socks and shin guards are mandatory.
B3-2 Jewelry, Footwear, and Headwear
No jewelry or watches are allowed.
Smartwatches will be allowed at the discretion of the center official.
Players must wear shoes designed for the playing surface. NO CLEATS allowed. Flat or indoor shoes are permitted.
No hats are allowed. Other non-dangerous headwear must be approved by the facility’s management.
A player who loses a shoe or headwear during the normal course of play will receive a warning from the referee for the first offense and a blue card penalty for the second offense.
B3-3 Braces and Casts
Knee braces must be inspected and approved by the referee prior to the start of the game. Only hand or arm casts are allowed. Casts must be padded and must be inspected and approved by the referee prior to the start of the game. Please check with your facility for approval.
B3-4 Equipment Violations
The referee or assistant referee can order a player to remove any unauthorized or dangerous equipment. A blue card penalty shall be issued to the player who fails to comply with the adjustment ordered. The player is prohibited from play so long as he is not in compliance with the order.
B4. THE REFEREE
B4-1 Referee’s Powers
The referee’s power to assess penalties and maintain control of the game includes violations committed during play, during stoppages, and as the players and others proceed to and from the field. The referee has the power to:
- Warn/Penalize/Caution/Eject – From the time the referee enters the building he has the power to penalize any player, coach, or spectator for fouls or misconduct as stated in these Rules and to give warnings or time penalties, including blue, yellow, or red cards, regardless of whether the ball is in play.
- Declare an Advantage – The referee allows play to continue when the team against which an offense has been committed could benefit from such an advantage.
- Stop, Suspend or Terminate the Game – The referee has the discretionary power to stop the game for any violation and to suspend or terminate the game because of the elements, interference by spectators, extreme misconduct, or other situation which he deems unsafe or unacceptable. In the case of a terminated game, the outcome of the game, and any necessary disciplinary action, will be determined by the facility manager.
- Prohibit Entry onto the Field – The referee ensures that no unauthorized persons enter the field.
- Halt Play Due to Injury – The referee may stop the game if a player has been injured and have the player removed from the field.
- Signal Restarts – The referee signals the restart of the game.
B4-2 Referee’s Report
The referee will file a report with the facility manager, giving all pertinent information regarding any red cards issued or player injuries.
B4-3 Referee’s Decisions
The decisions of the referee regarding facts connected with play and interpretation of the rules are final. The referee may change a decision prior to restart, upon his own reconsideration.
B5. THE ASSISTANT REFEREE
The assistant referee shall be positioned at the halfway line, outside the field. His responsibilities include:
- ensure that every person entering the bench or the field, presents his/her own player ID card
- ensures that no unauthorized person(s) enter the field
- start the clock at the scheduled start time and keep the time for the duration of the game
- record fouls, player penalties and suspensions, reason for player suspensions, injuries, goals time outs called by the official.
- sound the horn or blows the whistle to indicate illegal substitutions or any other occurrences not seen by the center official.
- inform a player when his time penalty will expire,
- sound the horn or otherwise inform the referee about any fouls or misconduct on the bench, in the stands, or on the field behind the referee’s back,
- assist the referee by watching for and indicating:
- 3 line violations,
- ball out of bounds, and/or
- anything else requested by the referee,
- in case of an altercation on the field, make every attempt to prevent players from leaving the bench to join in; observe and record violations which happen during the altercation
- in case of an injury, fill out an incident report,
- in case of a red card, fill out a red card report.
B6. COED LEAGUES
Sports59 hosts 3 different types of COED Leagues. Tuesday COED A/B and Saturday Corporate COED.
The Tuesday COED leagues use the same rules as the rest of the leagues with the following exceptions:
- A minimum of 2 women players MUST be on the pitch at the same time (4 men – 2 women rule)
- Woman goal counts as 2.
- Teams may add ONLY 1 extra player (man or woman) when trailing by 5 or more goals, for a maximum of 7 players on the field
- Extra player must come off once the score margin drops below 5.
- COED A features the 3-touch rule for men
- COED B features unlimited touches for men
- Teams may play with more women on the field but never with less than 2, except for suspensions.
For the Corporate COED leagues a minimum of 1 woman player is required on the pitch at all times.
All other COED rules apply.
B7. YOUTH LEAGUES
Two unique rules are in effect for Youth Leagues:
- Goal differential rule in effect. A team which is behind by 5 goals is allowed to add a player. The team may add another player when the goal difference increases to 7. Players must be subtracted by the trailing team as the goal differential is reduced.
- Youth teams may have a maximum of two coaches or non-players that must be at least 18 years of age, on the team bench during a game.
B8. DURATION OF THE GAME
B8-1 Game Length,
League games consist of 2 x 20 minutes halves and a 60 second half time break.
The referee may call an official’s time out for an injury or any unusual circumstance.
- TIP: The center ref is the ONLY official who can stop the game clock.
The only instance when regulation time will be extended is at the end of the second half, if there is insufficient time on the clock to conduct a shootout. In that case, .05 seconds are set on the clock. Clock will start on the referee’s whistle.
B8-2 Suspended Games
Any game which is suspended at or after half time is final.
A game which is suspended before the end of the first half because of a rainout or a blackout will be rescheduled.
B8-3 Terminated or Abandoned Games
If the referee terminates the game, the outcome of the game and any disciplinary action will be decided by the facility manager. If any player, coach, or spectator involved with a particular team gives the referee cause to terminate the game, the victory will be awarded to the opposing team.
If a team abandons a game, the outcome of the game and any disciplinary action will be decided by the facility manager.
B9. START OF THE GAME
B9-1 Starting the Clock
Balls must be off the field immediately after the referee or the assistant referee calls for them. Offending team will receive a blue card penalty. If both teams are involved, the clock will start, and ball removal done under a running clock.
- The clock will begin to run at scheduled game time.
- A team must have at least 4 players ready to play for the game to begin one of which must be a goalkeeper.
- If a team is unable to start the game after two minutes have elapsed, their opponent will be awarded one goal.
- If a team is four minutes late, their opponent will be awarded a second goal.
- If a team is not prepared to play after five minutes have elapsed, the game is forfeited, and the opponent is credited with maximum points (for standings purposes).
B9-2 The Kickoff
The HOME team kicks off the first half on the referee’s whistle.
- The player kicking the ball may not touch the ball a second time until it is touched by another player (a “double touch”).
- Players may not cross the mid line until the ball is kicked (“offside”).
- The kickoff does not have to go forward.
- A goal may be scored directly from a kickoff.
- If offside is called or the kicker takes longer than 5 seconds to play the ball, the opposing team is awarded a free kick at the mid line center spot. (Because this restart is a free kick, the players can be anywhere on the field, if they do not encroach.)
- If a double touch is called, the opposing team will be awarded a free kick at the point of the infraction.
After each goal, the game is restarted with a kickoff by the team just scored upon, except when a goal is scored at the end of the half.
Prior to the second half, the teams change defensive ends. The AWAY team kicks off in the second half.
B10. THE BALL IN AND OUT OF PLAY
B10-1 Ball in Play
The ball is still in play
- when it rebounds from a goalpost, crossbar or wall and remains in the field of play
- when it rebounds off a referee on the field, or
- in the event of a supposed violation, until stoppage is ordered by the referee.
B10-2 Ball Out of Play
B10-2a Ball Out of Bounds
The ball is out of bounds when it goes over the perimeter wall or touches the netting above the wall or the ceiling netting.
If the referee judges that a ball was deliberately kicked out of bounds, the restart will be taken at the point where it crossed the perimeter wall or hit the netting, and the offending player may be subject to a blue card penalty.
Any ball kicked out of the field will be replaced with another; players should not leave the field to retrieve the ball.
B10-2b Ball Out of Play
The ball is out of play when it crosses the goal line or when the game is stopped by the referee’s whistle. A ball out of play is restarted with a kick off, free kick, or a goalkeeper throw.
B11-1 Scoring Goals
A goal is scored when the whole ball crosses the whole of the goal line, between the goalposts and under the crossbar, provided that no violation of the rules has been committed by the team scoring the goal. A goal cannot be scored once the horn has begun to sound; the whole ball must cross the whole line before the start of the horn. The team scoring the greater number of goals is the winner.
- TIP: A goal may be scored directly from a kickoff or any restart, including but not limited to: goalkeeper throws, corner kicks, kick ins and other free kicks, except in the case of a violation (ex: 3 line violation) of the rules recognized by the referee.
No goal is allowed if an outside agent alters the path of the ball on its way over the goal line. The restart is a free kick to the defending team.
B11-3 Referee Interference
If the ball touches the referee (or another match official) and goes into the goal, team possession changes or a promising attack starts, a dropped ball is awarded. This is at the discretion of the official as he/she will also have to assess if there was intent in hitting the official.
B12-1 Definitions and Procedures
A restart is the procedure for resuming play after a stoppage.
- Restarts consist of kickoffs, free kicks (including Kick-Ins) and goalkeeper throws.
- Once the referee signals a restart, a player has 5 seconds to play the ball and may not touch the ball again until it has been touched by another player.
- For a 5 second violation, the opposing team is given a free kick at the same spot unless the violation occurs in the team’s own penalty area then the ball must be placed at the top of the penalty area.
- In the case of a double touch, the opposing team is given a free kick at the point of infraction. The ball must be stationary; if it is not, the kick is retaken.
- Opposing players may not encroach.
A whistle is not required for a restart after a foul, unless it is taken at the top of the penalty area. A whistle is not required for a kick-in, ceiling out of bounds, or a goalkeeper throw.
The following restarts require the referee to signal the restart with a whistle:
- a kickoff, a 3-line violation,
- a free kick taken at the top of the opponent’s penalty area,
- a shoot-out,
- when a player requests that opponents are 15 feet from the ball,
- after a time penalty is given, or
- after a referee’s stoppage.
If the player taking the kick ignores the restart whistle, the official may award the ball to the other team (circumventing the delay of the game rules).
After each goal the game is restarted with a kickoff by the team just scored upon, except when a goal is scored at the end of the half.
Prior to the second half, the teams change defensive ends. The home team kicks off the second half.
B12-2 Free Kick Restarts
Specific free kick restarts include:
- Free Kick in Own Penalty area: When a player takes a free kick in his defensive penalty area, all opposing players must be a minimum of 5 feet from the ball until the
ball is in play. All free kicks taken from own defensive area may be taken from the top of the box/goal area.
- Free Kick in Opponent’s Penalty area: When a team is awarded a free kick in their opponent’s penalty area, the kick takes place at the top of the penalty area. Defensive players must be 15 feet away from the ball, and the kicker must wait for the referee’s whistle.
- Delayed Blue Card: The location of the restart after a delayed blue card is
- at the center spot of the mid-line if a goal is scored,
- at the point of the original foul if a defensive player touches the ball,
- at the point of the infraction if another foul occurs before the defensive team touches the ball.
- Three Line Pass Violation: The restart after a three-line pass shall be taken at the offending team’s defensive yellow line center spot.
- Pass Back to Goalkeeper Violation: The free kick awarded after an illegal pass back to the goalkeeper. The kick is taken at the top of the offending team’s penalty area. The defending team must provide a minimum distance of 15 feet and the play is restarted with the referee’s whistle.
- Ceiling Out of Bounds: A ball which hits the top netting shall be restarted directly beneath the spot it struck the netting, unless it is kicked into the netting above either penalty area by a defending player, in which case it shall be restarted at the top of the penalty area.
- Kick Ins: When the ball goes over the wall or touches the netting above the wall, a kick in is awarded to the opposing team, and play is restarted on the touch line or between the line and the wall, even with the point where the ball went out. If the ball touches a player or other person on the bench who is inadvertently extending into the field, or if the ball exits through an open bench door, a kick in shall be awarded to the opposing team.
- Corner Kicks: A corner kick is a kick in when the ball is last played by a defending player and crosses over the wall or hits the netting between the corner marks, the opposing team takes a free kick from the corner mark nearest to where the ball went out.
- Referee Stoppage: When the play is stopped by the referee’s whistle for any unusual circumstance, play is restarted at the spot it was stopped, with a free kick by the team that was in possession when the whistle was blown. If possession was not clear, the ball is given to the defensive team.
B12-3 Goalkeeper Restarts
If a player from the opposing team impedes the progress of the goalkeeper or prevents or hinders him from releasing the ball into play, the offending player receives a time penalty for unsportsmanlike behavior. Offensive players must do everything in their power to steer clear of the goalkeeper area.
B12-3a Goalkeeper Throws
When the ball is last played by an attacking player and crosses over the wall or hits the netting between the corner marks, the opposing goalkeeper restarts play with a throw. The throws shall be taken by the goalkeeper from any point within the penalty area.
The goalkeeper has 5 seconds to throw the ball, and he may not play the ball again until it is touched by another player.
A violation shall result in a free kick awarded to the opposing team at the point of the infraction if it occurred outside the penalty area, or at the top of the penalty area, if it occurred within the penalty area.
B12-3b Goalkeeper Free Kicks
The goalkeeper may also restart play with a free kick; for example, after an out of bounds or an injury time out.
B13. PROCEDURAL VIOLATIONS
Procedural violations do not result in blue card penalties, are not recorded as fouls and are not added to a team’s foul count. A free kick is awarded to the opposing team.
B13-1 Three Line Pass
A ball kicked or thrown forward over all three lines in the air towards the opponent’s goal without touching another player, the perimeter wall, or the referee is an illegal three-line pass. The ball will be brought back to the center spot of the first red line it crossed, and a free kick awarded to the other team.
B13-2 Illegal Pass Back to Goalkeeper
The goalkeeper may not play the ball with his hands if the ball is deliberately kicked to him by a teammate’s foot either directly or off the wall. The goalkeeper may use his hands to play the ball if it is deflected off a teammate, or if the teammate plays the ball with another part of the body, e.g.; his head, chest, or knee.
A violation results in a free kick to the opponent at the top of the penalty area.
A player may not circumvent this rule by playing the ball from his foot to his head and then passing it back to the goalkeeper. A violation results in a blue card penalty to the offending player.
Other procedural violations include:
- goalkeeper brings the ball in the penalty area and picks it up
- goalkeeper possession (longer than 4 seconds)
- player takes longer than 5 seconds to put the ball into play
- player double touches ball on a restart
- offsides on a kickoff
- Keeper bounces the ball prior to putting it in play
B14. FOULS AND PENALTIES
B14-1a Offenses and Restarts
The restart after a foul is called will be a free kick within 3 feet of the point of the infraction, or a free kick at the top of the penalty area, if it is a defensive foul in the penalty area. A whistle is not required for a restart after a foul, unless it is at the top of the penalty area, or the kicker asks for 15 feet.
B14-1b Six Foul Accumulation
Every accumulation of six fouls by one team results in a penalty shootout awarded to the opponent. (Procedural violations and time penalties do not count toward the total of six fouls). The foul count carries over from the first half to the second half. For a six foul accumulation no blue card penalty is given, and the team is not shorthanded.
B14-2 Violations Involving the Goalkeeper
B14-2a By the Goalkeeper
- The goalkeeper may only possess the ball within the penalty area for a maximum of 5 seconds (hands or feet). He can move anywhere in the penalty area in that 5 seconds. If the goalkeeper exceeds that time, the opposing team is given a free kick at the top of the penalty area. The defending team must provide 15 feet minimum distance for the kick. The kicker must wait for the referee’s whistle.
- The goalkeeper may not play the ball with his hands if the ball is deliberately kicked to him by a teammate’s foot either directly or off the wall. The goalkeeper may use his hands to play the ball if it is deflected off a teammate or if the teammate plays the ball with another part of the body; e.g.: his head, chest, or knee. A teammate of the goalkeeper may not circumvent this rule by playing the ball from his foot to his head and then passing it back to the goalkeeper. A violation results in a blue card penalty to the offending player.
- The goalkeeper has only one possession with his hands per team possession. The goalkeeper cannot bounce the ball or throw it in the air and catch it again.
- The goalkeeper cannot bring the ball into the box and then pick it up.
- Violations of rules above are procedural infractions and are not added to the six foul counts.
- For any goalkeeper violations in the penalty area, the opposing team is awarded a free kick at the top of the penalty area.
- The defending team must provide 15 feet minimum distance for the kick.
- The kicker must wait for the referee’s whistle.
- A goalkeeper may slide within the penalty area but may not play the ball outside the penalty area while on the ground (dangerous play). A violation is a free kick at the point of infraction.
- If the goalkeeper either deliberately strikes an opponent by throwing the ball violently at him, or pushes him with the ball while holding it, he shall be cautioned or ejected, as deemed appropriate by the referee, and the opposing team awarded a shootout if the offense is initiated within the penalty area.
- If a ball is handled by the goalkeeper outside the penalty area it may result in a blue card penalty. To clear up any confusion about the goalkeeper handling the ball around the penalty area we offer the following explanation.
- TIP: The key point is the location of the ball. If the ball is inside the penalty area (lines are inside) at the moment of contact, it is not a handball, even if any other part of the goalkeeper’s body is outside the penalty area.
When a goalkeeper receives a time penalty, the offending team must get another designated goalkeeper onto the field and ready to play in a timely manner. A violation results in a blue card bench penalty to the offending team, and the team will play an additional player short.
B14-2b Against the Goalkeeper
- If a player from the opposing team deliberately impedes the progress of the goalkeeper or prevents or hinders him from releasing the ball into play, the offending player receives a time penalty for unsportsmanlike behavior.
- During play or on a restart, if a player follows a goalkeeper around inside the penalty area, impeding him from the play a foul will be called, and the ball awarded to the goalkeeper’s team at the point of infraction.
- Charging the goalkeeper or attempting to play the ball when he has possession of the ball is a foul.
- TIP: The goalkeeper is said to have possession of the ball when the GK has at least one finger on a ground ball, or the goalkeeper is covering up the ball and no play can be made on the ball without striking the goalkeeper.
Clarification: If the ball is in the air or bouncing, it is considered a live ball. A goalkeeper finger on a bouncing ball is NOT considered possession, hence the ball is still live.
B14-3 Time Penalties (Cards)
B14-3a Definitions and Restarts
Referees may issue blue, yellow or red cards for various infractions.
A player can be given a yellow or a red card without first receiving a blue card or warning.
After a time penalty for a hard foul is given, play is restarted at the point of the infraction with a free kick by the opposing team.
B14-3b Short-Handed Play
When a player receives a time penalty
- The player cannot return to the game until their full time is served, even if a goal is scored against his/her team.
- A blue card means that player cannot return to play for a full 2 minutes.
- A yellow card means that player must sit for the full 3 minutes.
- The time penalty begins on the referee’s whistle to restart play.
When a player receives a time penalty his/her team’s shorthanded plays ends when:
- Penalty time expires
- The opposing team scores having a man advantage (more players on the field) the team may add an eligible player (not the player who received the time penalty) so they are no longer playing shorthanded.
EXCEPTION TO THE ABOVE RULE: If and when simultaneous blue, yellow or red cards are issued (one for each team) for a particular foul or incident, a HARD PENALTY is in effect. This means that both players MUST serve their time penalties in full. As such both teams will play short regardless of scored goals.
Regardless of the number of players from one team serving time penalties, a team may not have fewer than four players on the field.
Only 2 penalties per team may be served at one time. Any penalties after that, cannot start until the shortest time penalty ends. Because an offending player cannot return to play until his penalty is served, a team that does not have enough substitutes to field at least four eligible players must forfeit the game.
B14-3c Accumulation of Blue, Yellow and Red Cards – Personal Penalties
Multiple blue cards:
- 1st blue card = player is penalized 2 minutes.
- 2nd blue card after serving 1st blue = player is penalized 2 minutes and is recorded as being at yellow card status.
- 2nd blue card concurrent with the 1st = player is penalized 2 minutes for the first blue card and 2 minutes for the second blue and is recorded as being at yellow card status. (If his team is shorthanded and the opposing team scores, his first penalty ends and the second one begins.)
- 3rd blue card (consecutive or concurrent) = player is recorded at red card His team is penalized 5 minutes.
Multiple yellow cards:
- 1st yellow card = player is penalized 3 minutes and is recorded at yellow card status.
- 2nd yellow card after serving 1st yellow = player is recorded at red card His team is penalized 5 minutes.
Accumulating a blue and yellow card:
A player who receives a blue or yellow card, consecutively or concurrently = red card status. His team is penalized 5 minutes.
If a player, coach, or spectator receives a red card, that person is ejected from the premises for at least the remainder of the game. His team will be penalized for 5 minutes. Team will return to full strength once the penalty time expires or if and when they are scored upon.
B14-3d Bench Penalties
The following violations can result in a bench penalty, which is a time penalty during which the team plays short, but no player is recorded as serving the penalty.
- Illegal substitutions.
- Abusive language or persistent misconduct from the bench area.
- Abusive language or persistent misconduct by spectators in the stands.
- A team can receive an unlimited number of bench penalties with or without an initial warning.
Play restarts with a free kick by the opposing team where the ball was when the whistle (or horn) sounded.
B14-4 Blue Card Penalties
B14-4a Delayed Blue Card
In instances where the referee may issue a blue card, but chooses to apply the advantage rule, he shall acknowledge the offense by holding the blue card above his head until either:
- the team of the offending player gains control of the ball (possesses the ball for more than one second, deflects the ball into open space, or directs the ball toward a teammate or the goal), or
- the referee stops play for any reason.
If the offending player leaves the field of play before the two minutes is issued, he/she will be issued a second blue card for unsporting behavior.
Once play is stopped, the offense is recorded, and the penalty is served by the player. If a goal is scored against the offending team the penalty is still recorded and served by the player; however, the team may not play short if they have an eligible substitution. The location of the restart after a delayed blue card is:
- at the center spot of the mid line if a goal is scored, or
- at the point of the original foul if a defensive player touches the ball, or
- at the point of the infraction if another foul occurs before the defensive team touches the ball.
For all free kick restarts:
- The defender must provide a minimum of 3 feet for the taking of a free kick. If a defensive player makes any movement towards the ball and crosses into the 3 feet minimum space, he/she is guilty of encroachment and will be assessed a blue card penalty. The defender may move from side to side to play the ball but never forward.
- If the player taking the free kick asks the referee to enforce the 15 feet distance, he must wait for a whistle restart. If a defensive player makes any movement toward the ball to block the free kick and crosses into the 15 feet space, he is guilty of encroachment and shall be assessed a blue card penalty. The defender may move from side to side to play the ball but not forward.
- If the referee asks a defensive player to move 15 feet from the ball, and the player does not immediately comply, a blue card delay of game penalty shall be assessed.
- If the player taking the free kick chooses to ‘quick kick’ the ball and it strikes the defender attempting to provide the minimum space (moving backwards) then there is no encroachment.
- When a team is awarded a free kick in its opponent’s penalty area, the kick will take place at the top of the penalty area. Defensive players must be 15 feet away from the ball, and the kicker must wait for the referee’s whistle.
On a kickoff, the defending team must be on their side of the mid line and outside of the center circle. A player stepping into the center circle before the ball is kicked is encroachment. The kickoff is retaken. Jumping in the air towards the ball counts as encroachment as well.
B14-4c Dissent/Entering the Referee’s Crease
Any words or actions directed by a player, coach, or spectator at a referee in question or shows a difference of sentiment or opinion of a call. Dissent may result in at least a blue card penalty. If the penalty is given to the coach or the bench, the team must play short, but no player is recorded as receiving the penalty.
Only the authorized team captain or coach may discuss a call with the referee, at a stoppage of play, with the agreement of the referee.
Players may not approach the referee or assistant referee during discussion. Players who approach may be given a blue card penalty.
B14-5 Extreme Misconduct
B14-5a Yellow Card Offenses (Cautions)
Behavior which warrants a minimum of a yellow card includes, but is not limited to:
- fouls which the referee considers “reckless”,
- initiating physical contact short of fighting,
- a tackle from behind,
- persistent infringement of the rules.
B14-5b Red Card Offenses (Ejections)
Behavior which warrants a mandatory red card includes, but is not limited to:
- fouls which the referee considers to involve “excessive force”
- a push, shove, tackle, kick or trip from behind which endangers the safety of an opponent,
- striking or attempting to strike an opponent,
- any form of fighting or violent conduct,
- racist remarks,
- ant threats towards the safety of players, coaches, guests or staff,
- spitting on or at another person,
- leaving the bench to join an altercation on the field,
- abusive language or behavior toward a referee, assistant referee or facility staff,
- touching, bumping or any physical contact with a referee, assistant referee, or facility staff
The referee or assistant referee while in uniform, any management or staff on duty have the right to eject a player, coach or spectator before, during or after a game. That person must leave the property immediately (possible tournament or two leagues exception). If an ejected player(s) fails to leave the premises, the game will be terminated, and the victory awarded to the opposing team. If, after receiving a red card misconduct continues, additional red cards may be issued.
B15. SHOOTOUTS AND OVERTIME SHOOTOUTS
B15-1 Shootout Fouls
A shootout shall be awarded for any of the following fouls committed by a defending player in his defensive half of the field:
- a foul within his defensive penalty area or inside the goal for which a time penalty is issued,
- a foul from behind against an attacking player who has control of the ball and has one or no defensive players between himself and the goal, or
- any foul where he is the last player on his team between an attacking player with the ball and the goal.
A shootout is awarded when one team has accumulated six fouls.
B15-2 Conduct of a Shootout
- The designated shooter must set the ball on the center spot of the opponent’s yellow
- The goalkeeper has at least one foot on his goal line and may not move off it until the referee whistles the start of the shootout.
- The defensive team must be behind the mid line inside the midfield circle, and the offensive team behind the mid line outside the circle. When the referee blows the whistle, play is restarted.
- The player taking the shootout can play the ball forward using any legal manner to score, including direct shot, dribble and shoot, playing the ball off the boards, passing to a teammate, etc.
- For a shootout other than a six-foul penalty, the penalized player must be off the field.
- Should game time expire before the taking of the shootout, the clock shall be reset at 5 seconds and the shootout retaken.
- During a shootout if a goalkeeper commits a dangerous foul, a blue card penalty will be issued, and a shootout will be awarded. A new player will be required to step in goal to replace the penalized keeper.
- Offsides on a shootout: If any player crosses the mid line before the whistle, the horn will sound, and play will be stopped. The referee will give a verbal warning to all the players. If one or more players is offsides again, his team receives a bench penalty and will be one player short. (If both teams are offsides, both are one player short.) If one or more players is offsides again, another bench penalty is given, and the team is short one more player
B15-3 Sixth Foul Shootout
For a six-foul accumulation, no blue card penalty is given.
B15-4 Playoff Shootout
For league or tournament formats in which some playoff games cannot end in a tie and must have a winner, the game will be decided with a shootout. (E.g., the winner advances, or winner takes all) which will be explained to both teams by the center official.