5-a-side Rules

This page contains all of the basic rules we use to organize our tournaments.​ The differences from Official FIFA laws of the game are marked in red. 


1. Number of Players

· A match is played by two teams each consisting of not more than 5 players, one of whom is the goalkeeper. A macth may not start if either team consists of fewer than 4 players

· Substitution Limit: None

· Substitution Method: Flying substitution - Players can substitute anytime they wish during the game when the ball is out of play (expect goalkeepers who need to inform the referee if they want to substitute). Players must always leave and enter the pitch from the same side.

2. The Authority of the Referees

Each match is controlled by two referees, the referee and the second referee, who have full authority to enforce the CIFL Laws of the Game in connection with the match to which they have been appointed.

The referees:
• enforce the CIFL 5-a-side Rules

• control the match in cooperation with the assistant referees, where
• ensure that any ball used meets the requirements of the CIFL 5-a-side Rules
• ensure that the players’ equipment meets the requirements of the
CIFL 5-a-side Rules

• keep a record of match incidents
• stop the match, at their discretion, for any infringements of the CIFL 5-a-side Rules
of the Game
• stop the match because of outside interference of any kind
• stop the match if, in their opinion, a player is seriously injured and ensure
that he is removed from the pitch. An injured player may only return to the
pitch after the match has restarted
• allow play to continue until the ball is out of play if a player is, in their
opinion, only slightly injured
• ensure that any player bleeding from a wound leaves the pitch. The player
may only return on receiving a signal from the referees, who must be
satisfi ed, either directly or through the third referee, that the bleeding has
• allow play to continue when the team against which an offence has been
committed stands to benefi t from such an advantage and penalise the
original offence if the anticipated advantage does not ensue at that time
• punish the more serious offence when a player commits more than one
offence at the same time
• punish the more serious misconduct when a player commits more than one
Act of misconduct at the same time

• take disciplinary action against players guilty of cautionable and sending-off
offences. They are not obliged to take this action immediately but must do
so when the ball next goes out of play
• take action against team offi cials who fail to conduct themselves in a
responsible manner and may, at their discretion, expel them from the
technical area and the surrounds of the pitch
• ensure that no unauthorised persons enter the pitch
• indicate the restart of the match after it has been stopped
• provide the appropriate authorities with a match report, which includes
information on any sanctions imposed on players and/or team offi cials and
any other incidents that occurred before, during or after the match

3. Duration of the Game

· Duration: 30 minute game, two halfs of 15 minutes.

· Half-time:  2 minutes  

4. The Start of the Game

Coin toss to decide who has kick off; opposing team waits outside center circle; ball deemed in play once it has been touched; the kicker shall not touch ball before someone else touches it; ensuing kick-offs taken after goals scored and at start of second half.  

5. Ball in and out of Play

· Ball out of Play: The ball is deemed out of play when it has fully crossed the line.

· Lines: Touchlines and goal lines are considered inside the playing area.  

6. Fouls and Misconduct

Direct free kick awarded when a player intentionally commits any of the following 11 offenses (penalty kick awarded when infringement takes place in penalty area). 

· Kicking or attempting to kick an opponent

· Tripping an opponent

· Jumping at an opponent

· Charging an opponent in a violent or dangerous manner

 · Charging an opponent from behind

· Striking, attempting to strike, or spitting at an opponent

· Holding an opponent

· Pushing an opponent

· Charging an opponent with shoulder (i.e., shoulder charge)

· Sliding at an opponent (i.e., sliding tackle)

· Handling the ball (except goalkeeper)

Indirect free kick awarded when any of the following 8 offenses is committed (kick taken from the 6-meter line when infringement takes place in penalty area):

· Dangerous play (e.g. attempting to kick ball held by goalkeeper)

· Obstruction

· Charging the goalkeeper in the penalty area (i.e., goalkeeper charge)

· Goalkeeper picks up or touches with his hands a back pass

· Goalkeeper picks up or touches with his hands a kick-in from a teammate

· Goalkeeper controls the ball with his hands for more than 5 seconds before releasing it from his possession

· Goalkeeper touches the ball again with his hands after he has released it from his possession and before it has touched another player


Shown yellow card when :

· a substituting player enters the pitch from an incorrect position or before the player he is substituting has entirely left the pitch

· He persistently infringes the Laws of the Game

· He shows dissent with any decision of the referee

· He is guilty of ungentlemanly conduct

- These 4 yellow-card offenses are punishable by direct free kick taken from the 10-meter line (exept if the foul was made in the penalty area).

- If two or more players are shown a yellow card at the same time, there will be no 10 meter free-kick for both teams. 

Players shall be sent off (i.e., shown a red card) and punishable by direct free kick taken from the 10-meters line (exept if the foul was made in the penalty area) for:

· (a) serious foul play

·(b) violent conduct

· (c) foul or abusive language

· (d) second instance of cautionable offense (i.e., second yellow card)

· (e) intentionally impeding a clear goal opportunity (e.g. through a “professional foul”)

· (f) intentionally impeding a clear goal opportunity in the penalty area by handling the ball

Direct free kicks (or penalty kicks) accompany the expulsion for (a), (b), (e) and (f); indirect free kicks, for (c) and (d) (from the 6-meter line when the infringement takes place in the penalty area).    

Rules of Expulsion:

· The player sent off (shown a red card) is out for the rest of the game

· The team of the player sent off can substitute for that player after 2 minutes of playing time or after the opposing team scores — which ever comes first.

 7. Free Kick

· Types: Direct free kicks and indirect free kicks

· Wall: At least 5 meters away until the ball is in play

· Ball in Play: After it has traveled the distance of its own circumference

· Time Limit: Kick must be taken within 5 seconds

· Restriction: Kicker cannot touch the ball again until it has been touched by another player  

8. Penalty Kick

· To be taken from the penalty mark on the mid-point of the 6-m-line.

· The kicker is to aim at goal, with the intention of scoring.

· All players must be out of the penalty area, and the players of the opposing team must also be at least 5 m from the penalty spot.

· The kicker shall not play the ball a second time until it has been touched by another player.  

9. Kick-in

At the moment of delivering the ball, the kicker:
• kicks the ball, which must be stationary, either from the point where it left
the pitch or on the ground outside it at a distance no greater than 25cm
from that point
• delivers the ball within 5 seconds of being ready to do so
The ball in is play when it enters the pitch.

• cannot play the ball a second time until it has been played by another player; infringement of this rule entail an indirect free kick to the opposing from the point of infringement.

The kick-in must be taken within 5 seconds; if it is not, the kick-in is given to the opposing team.

Players on opposing team must be at least 5 m away from point of kick-in.

Cannot score directly from a kick-in.  

10. Goal Clearance

· To be taken in place of goal kick.

· From inside the penalty area, the goalkeeper throws the ball into play.

· The ball is not in play until it has passed outside of the penalty area. If the goal clearance is received inside of the penalty area, the goal clearance shall be taken over.  

11. Corner Kick

· Ball placed on the corner (no corner-kick arc). If ball is misplaced and the corner kick is taken, a goal throw will be awarded to the opposing team.

· Must be taken within 5 seconds; failure to do so entails indirect free kick to the opposing team from the corner mark.

· The kicker cannot play the ball a second time until it has been played by another player; infringement of this rule entail an indirect free kick to the opposing from the point of infringement.

· Players on opposing team must be at least 5 m away from point of the corner kick.

· Can score goal directly from a corner kick.

12. Sliding

Sliding tackles are dangerous in 5-a-side and therefore deemed forbidden in CIFL 5-a-side leagues. However, sliding to kick or block the ball is allowed as long as you are 1m away from opponent players. Goalkeepers can slide closer than 1m inside their penalty area to save shots or collect the ball as long as there is no contact with the opponent players.

13. The Penalty Kicknew

A penalty kick is awarded against a team that commits any of the ten offences
for which a direct free kick is awarded, inside its own penalty area and while
the ball is in play.

Position of the ball and the players 
The ball: 
• must be placed on the 6-meter penalty mark 
The player taking the penalty kick: 
• must be properly identified 
The defending goalkeeper: 
• must remain on his goal line, facing the kicker, between the goalposts until 
the ball has been kicked 


The players other than the kicker must be located: 
• on the pitch 
• outside the penalty area 
• behind the penalty mark 
• at least 5m from the penalty mark 



CIFL 5-aside CODEX



Matches must be played according to the schedule created by the CIFL officials. Results from the preceding matchday fixtures will be posted on the CIFL website or/and CIFL Official Wechat Account.


Final rankings will be determined by the number of points each team has at the end of the season. In the event of teams having equal number of points, ranking will be determined in the following priority order:

1) Goal difference

Goal difference will decide: Where two or more teams have the same points at the end of the season, overall goal difference will determine their final league position.

2) The round-robin result between the two teams.

3) Penalty shootout

Non-appearance of Team

CIFL officials will make a decision about the match after waiting for 5 minutes. CIFL officials keep the right to make a final decision. Any team not appearing for a scheduled match without the prior agreement of CIFL officials also will be deemed to have lost the match 0-6. 

Abandoned Matches

Teams are responsible for the actions of their players, supporters and people associated with their team. If the actions of a player, supporter or person associated with the particular team results in the abandonment of a game by the referee or match official, then that team bears full responsibility. The team that is responsible for the abandonment will forfeit the match 0-6. If a match is abandoned for any reason, the team must e-mail a report to the CIFL officials within 24 hours following the scheduled kick off.

Organization of friendlies

In case of a team not showing up, CIFL will do their best to organize a friendly match for their opponents. The CIFL team which showed up MUST play the friendly game. Regardless of the friendly match result the team that showed up gets 3 points and the 6-0 score in favor. In case of a no-show for the friendly the team receives 0 points and a 0-6 result in the table.

Inclement Weather

If due to bad weather conditions, the match may be canceled. CIFL officials will make an official decision 2 hours before the match start. 

Pollution Policy

If the pollution level is higher than 250 three hours before the first game scheduled for kick off, the game will be canceled. Four hours before the game kicks off, CIFL officials will: Check the level of pollution using this website http://aqicn.org/city/beijing/dongsihuanbeilu/ Only CIFL officials can decide whether the game is cancelled or not. It is the team leaders’ responsibility to inform their players after they have been informed.      

Player Transfers

Players may only transfer from one team to another before the start of the new season. Players registered with a team may also concurrently play for ONE team in a division during a season. Players are allowed to play for more than one team ONLY if the teams are in different divisions. 


All players agree to play at their own risk. After a match, both team leaders must check on the Team Sheet from the Referee and ensure that the Referee has correctly filled in the details of the match. It is FORBIDDEN to wear any rings, necklaces, jewelry, metallic equipment or any another material that could be dangerous for players, may it be fashion or health reason whilst playing in CIFL

Players Participation

1. In order to participate any CIFL activity, players should have registered before the activity; otherwise they will not be able to participate. All players get one warning the first time they come without registration, but the second time won't be allowed to take part in the game if they still didnt register.

2. Any player who isn't wearing a full uniform according to the CIFL requirements won't be able to take part in the game. Without no exceptions, all players MUST wear identical shorts and jersey.

3. Cold weather:
Uniform shorts and jersey on top of long pants and jacket of any color. If a player wears pants, the color of the pants must be the same color of his temmates shorts. Goalkeepers can wear pants and/or shorts of any color.

Disputes with Officials

The  decisions  of  the  referee  and  match  officials  during  the match  are  final.  Dissent through  offensive  language  will  be considered  a  serious  breach  of  discipline.  If  a  team  wishes retrospectively  to  dispute  the  decisions  of  the  officials  or  to report on their conduct, they must submit a written report to the CIFL  officials  within  48  hours  of  the  scheduled  start  of  the match. 

Disciplinary Guidelines

The following guidelines constitute an indication of the action that may be taken by CIFL officials or the disciplinary committee in respect of breaches of discipline. These guidelines and rules are subject to regular review by the CIFL officials, and may be updated or amended before the new season without consulting the team leaders. Any changes will be communicated to members and clubs via the CIFL website. The CIFL official reserves the right to set the levels of punishment for any player or team for any breach of the rules at levels beyond those of the Disciplinary Guidelines. This includes the suspension or banning of players and also the suspension of teams. The CIFL officials also reserves the right to vary a punishment in cases that have a direct bearing on promotion, relegation or prizes by taking into consideration whether or not the rules were broken for the purposes of obtaining an unfair advantage.  

Non-Appearance of Teams

Any team failing to appear for a scheduled match will be deemed to have lost the match 0-5.  

Team Sheets

Teams and referees who receive poor consecutive grading on the team sheet will be subject to a performance appraisal by the CIFL officials.

Discreditable Conduct

The table below contains all of the punishments depending on the player/team situation. CIFL Official's will make the final decision on punishments according to the incident. CIFL Official's may ask other league members (including spectators) to give a witness statement on what they might have seen.


IMPORTANT! Players cannot play in other divisions during their week of suspension. For example, if a player is suspended one match week in Division 3. Said player is also suspended from playing in Division 2 and Division 1 during the same match week

Offence Number of times Sanction Duration
Abusive language or obscene gestures towards any participant of the game 1 Warning -
2 Suspension 1 matchday
3 Suspension 3 matchdays
Nationalist/Rasist/Chauvinist comments 1 Suspension 1-3 matchday
2 Suspension Permanently
Spitting on any participant of the game 1 Suspension 2 matchdays
2 Suspension Until the end of the current season
3 Suspension Permanently
Punching, Kicking, Headbutting, Neck grabbing 1 Suspension 1-3 matchdays
2 Suspension Until the end of the current season
3 Suspension Permanently
Smoking on the sidelines during the matches 1 Warning -
2 Suspension 1 matchday
3 Suspension 3 matchdays
Alcohol or illicit drugs consumption during the matchday 1 Warning -
2 Suspension 2 matchdays
3 Suspension Until the end of the current season
Dangerous behaviour (Threats, swinging, grabbing, face pushing, throwing items,etc.) 1 Warning -
2 Suspension 1 matchday
3 Suspension 3 matchdays
Malicious destruction of property Player can continue to play in the tournament only after he/she has restored the damage caused to the property.
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