Quick list of rules

Our competition, although competitive, is intended to be fun, social and non-confrontational. The rules reflect that. Take a few moments to familiarise yourself with them if you don’t already know them.

Game format

A game consists of two 25 minute halves (with 5 minutes at half-time). A team consists of 7 players with a maximum of 4 male players. A team must field at least 5 players otherwise they forfeit the game. Substitutions can be rolling (i.e. players roll-on and roll-off at any time during the game). If the keeper is being substituted or is swapping with an outfield player, he/she must inform the referee before doing so.


The home team (first listed on the matchcard) kicks-off.

Goal kicks

A goal kick takes place if the ball fully crosses the goal line either side of the goal with the last touch coming from an attacking player. If ball last touches a defending player (including the keeper), a corner kick is awarded to the attacking team (see diagram on next page). The goal kick is taken from the ground (not in hands). It can be taken by any member of a team. If the keeper receives the ball whilst in play, they may throw or kick the ball from their hands if they wish.

Back-pass rule

The back-pass rule is not enforced. Therefore, the keeper can handle the ball after receiving it from their own team mate.

Off-side rule

Due to the lack of assistant referees, the off-side rule is not enforced. You may goal-hang as much as you like but remember that this may leave short at the back!


Please keep in mind that this is a friendly, mixed comp and play in that manner. Therefore, no sliding tackles are permitted. Referees should not refrain from stopping play for a foul. The following fouls are punished by a free-kick (or penalty if in the penalty area). The most commonly committed fouls are:

Sin bin

When players conduct themselves in a manner that is not in the spirit of a mixed, social competition, the referee should in the first instance warn them that their actions are inappropriate (such as sliding tackles, barging, dangerous play, over-zealous play, etc) and ask them to modify the manner in which they play. On the second offence, the referee is entitled to sin bin the player for 5 minutes (the referee has discretion to sin bin players for a first offence if deemed appropriate). The player must leave the field and cannot be replaced for the duration of the sin bin penalty. After 5 minutes the referee should call the player back onto the pitch. The purpose of this rule is to promote a style of play that does not deter players from participating in the competition.

Free kicks

The referee should allow a ‘wall’ to be erected 10 yards from the ball. The free-kick is then taken after the referee blows the whistle.

Penalty kicks

Penalty kicks are awarded for most fouls committed in the penalty area (see fouls above). If the keeper has control of the ball, no player may challenge him/her. Referees should be especially vigilant when corner kicks are taken. The penalty kick can be taken by any member of the team. The only stipulation is that if the keeper is female, the penalty must be taken by another female player. The keeper must not move off their line until the ball has been kicked (otherwise, the penalty should be retaken).


The ball is thrown-in by the team who did not last contact the ball before it crossed the side-line (see diagram, below). When throwing-in the ball, both feet should be on the ground and the ball should be released from behind the head with both hands. If a player performs a netball or basketball pass, the referee should instruct them to retake it.

The pitch (throw-ins, goal kicks and corners)

For those of you who haven’t played before, here is a crude representation of the pitch and players to indicate who is awarded throw-ins in different situations and the difference between a goal kick and a corner.

Soccer pitch diagram

Restart after a goal

After a goal is scored, kick-off is taken from the centre circle by the team who conceded the goal.

Minimum players for a result to stand

If for a scheduled match a team cannot field a full 7 players, they may recruit a maximum of 2 registered players from other teams for the match. However, the team must comprise of at least 5 players from the original team for the result to stand. If the team is not able to field 5 original players the rules for a forfeit apply.

Playing ring-ins

Teams may recruit up to 2 players from another team to bolster numbers. These players must be regsiter Sunday Soccer League participants.

Forfeiting games

If a team cannot field at least 5 players registered in their team for a given match, the match is forfeited. Teams may recruit registered players from other teams but at least 5 players need to be from the original team for the result to stand.

In the event of a forfeit, the winning team will be awarded goals determined by their average goal difference (rounded up) in the season to-date, with a minimum scoreline of 1-0.

e.g. A team with a goal difference of 34 after 10 games will be awarded a score of 4 – 0 (34/10) = 3.4 ~ 4.

Bond/point penalties

The following penalties apply according to the circumstance:

Fielding unregistered players

If a team fields an unregistered player, they lose any points gained in that match (i.e. in the case of a win or draw) and receive a 3-point penalty. Furthermore, any goals scored in the match by the offending team will not be counted. Regardless of the result, the opposition team will be awarded a win.

Blood bin rule

Under FIFA laws of the game, if a player has a wound that is bleeding, he/she must leave the field and cannot return until the bleeding has stopped. Players can not wear clothing that has blood on it.

Submitting results

Referees assigned to matches are responsible for sending all match details (score and scorers) via My Sunday Soccer by mid-day on the Monday after the match (or Tuesday in the case of a Public Holiday falling on a Monday). If the referee is not able to do so, the team captain of the team assigned to referee the match is responsible for ensuring that details are submitted. When processing the results, the organiser will confirm receipt of the details via email.

If a team assigned to referee a match does not send results by the stated deadline, a 1-point penality per day late will be applied to the team, up to a maximum penalty of 3 points.

General guidance for referees

As a referee most of the time officiating a match is spent watching where no intervention is required. However, referees are required to make decisions during a match and should not be reluctant to do so. A well officiated match is one where the referee has a strong grasp on the game and makes decisions when required. When referees are apathetic, it often leads to discord as teams resort to making decisions themselves and the element of impartiality is lost.

During a game, the referee does not need to blow their whistle for every event that occurs. Instead, the referee should only blow their whistle when play needs to be started or stopped (e.g. kick-off, foul or free-kick). When other events occur, such as throw-ins, corners and goal-kicks the referee does not need to blow their whistle but instead indicate to players whose play it is (e.g. white team throw-in; black team corner). Usually, the players work this out themselves and no intervention is required. However, the referee should intervene and make a decision when a dispute occurs.

Disciplinary action

The organiser reserves the right to expel individuals and teams from the competition. This is only likely to occur if individuals or teams conduct themselves in a way that is not in the interests of the league (e.g. overly physical play, not heeding the referee's warning, etc). If players and teams play in the spirit of a mixed social league, this should not occur. Keep it friendly!

Lightning policy

When lightning and storms are in the vicinity of the venue, the 30/30 policy should be implemented as follows:

  1. If thunder can be heard within 30 seconds of the sighting of lightning then outdoor activities should cease.
  2. Players should remove themselves from the playing surface and dugouts and seek shelter. Sturdy buildings are the safest place to be during lightning storms. Staying in a car with the windows closed also offers some protection.
  3. These activities should not re-commence until 30 minutes after the last such similar occurrence of lightning.
  4. If the match cannot re-commence within the allotted time:
    1. If at least 30 minutes have been played the result will stand.
    2. If less than 30 minutes have been played, the match will be rescheduled subject to venue availability.

That’s it!

The full rule book is massive and this document would easily grow if it outlined all of the game’s laws. These pointers should get the games going and make them fair and competitive. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask the referee.