Oxford Football Club Logo Facebook

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Rules and Regulations

These are not the full laws of the game, but are published as a guide only.
- Please refer to the complete FIFA rules for full details. -



  1. A match is played by two teams, each consisting of not more than eleven players, one of whom must act as goalkeeper, 7 players is enough to start a game.
  2. Players equipment:
    1. Dangerous articles must not be worn, i.e. earrings, watches, rings etc.
    2. It is compulsory for all players to wear shin guards, which must be covered entirely by the stockings.
    3. Street glasses are not acceptable while playing, sports glasses must be worn.
    4. Visible undergarments such as cycling shorts are authorised. These should be the same colour as the shorts.
    5. Goalkeepers may wear tracksuit trousers if the state of the field or play or weather conditions render it necessary.
    6. The referee's decision on the field is final.
  3. A game is normally divided into two equal periods, the time being dependent on the grade game duration as set down.
    A halftime rest of 5 min's is allowed and for the second half the teams change over to play from opposite ends of the filed (referees can extend the period of play to make up for time lost through accident or any other cause).
    If the game has started late, the length of playing time must be reduced to finish on time allowing following games to start on time
  4. A game commences from a kick-off in the center of the field and the decision as to which side should take the kick is decided by the toss of a coin. The team that wins the toss must choose the direction in which to play; the team that loses the toss must kick-off. The team that kicks off must play the ball into their opponents half of the field.
  5. To score, a team must direct the ball into their opponent's goal without throwing it or knocking it by hand or arm.
  6. lf a player propels the ball by any method into his own goal, his/her opponents score a goal.
  7. The team scoring the greater number of goals is the winner.
  8. The ball may be kicked, butted or propelled with any part of the body except the hands or arms.
    But the goalkeeper is permitted to handle the ball when within his/her penalty area subject to the conditions given below:

...back to top


When playing as a goalkeeper and within his/her own penalty area, from the moment he/she takes control of the ball with his/her hands he/she may take as many steps as he/she wishes for a maximum of 6 seconds while holding or bouncing the ball. He/she must then release the ball into play. If after having gained control of the ball with his/her hands he/she returns the ball to ground, revealing the intention of playing the ball with his/her feet, he/she can no longer touch the ball or pick it up with his/her hands until it has either been played by an opposing player whether inside or outside of the penalty area or played by another player of the same team outside of the penalty area.

(Note, in the junior game it must be realised that some leeway must be given to young players in the interpretation of this law)


  1. Back pass: The pass to the goalkeeper rule should be over interpreted for young players. The essential features are if the ball is passed to the goalkeeper by a member in his side, then the goalkeeper cannot pick it up without incurring an indirect free kick against him at the position the ball is picked up.
  2. The ball may be passed to the goalkeeper by members of his own team by any other part of his body other than the foot (as long as no tricks e.g. flicking the ball up, are used). The goalkeeper may not pick up the ball when it is received directly from a throw-in from a team-mate.
  3. A goalkeeper may only hold the ball for a maximum of 6 seconds before releasing it into play. Note that this applies only the duration which the ball may be in the keepers hands – if he/she drops the ball to his/her feet it is then deemed to be available for play and is not subject to the 6 second limitation.
  4. The goalkeeper may take the goal kick from any position within the goal box (and hence defensive free kicks in the goal box).

...back to top


The fundamental principle here is that the offside law applies at the instant the ball is played (NOT, when the ball is received). (Thus a player cannot be played onside by the ball touching an opponent – a common misconception).

It is not an offence in itself to be in an offside position.

A player is in an offside position if:

  • He/She is nearer to their opponent's goal line than both the ball and the second last opponent.

A player is not in an offside position if:

  • He/She is in his own half of the field of play or
  • He/She is level with the second last opponent or
  • He/She is level with the last two opponents

A player in an offside position is only penalised if, at that moment the ball touches or is played by one of their team, he/she, in the opinion of the referee, involved in active play by:

- Interfering with play or

  • Interfering with an opponent or
  • Gaining an advantage by being in that position

There is no offside offence if a player receives the ball directly from:

  • A goal kick or
  • A throw in or
  • A corner kick

For any offside offence, the referee awards an indirect free kick to the opposing team to be taken from the place where the infringement occurred.

...back to top


These are awarded to an attacking team if any of the of the nine penalty offences is deliberately committed by a defending player inside his penalty area.

These offences are:

  • Charging an opponent dangerously or violently.
  • Charging an opponent from behind.
  • Holding an opponent.
  • Striking or attempting to strike an opponent.
  • Pushing an opponent.
  • Tripping an opponent.
  • Kicking or attempting to kick an opponent.
  • Jumping at an opponent.
  • Handling the ball.

The penalty kick is taken from the penalty spot as marked (or for full sized fields, 12 yards from the goal line) from the goalmouth, and only the goalkeeper is allowed to be in a position to save the ball from entering the goal. The goalkeeper must stand without moving forward of (may move sideways) the goal line until the ball has been kicked. Goals are often scored from penalty kicks and whilst there is every sympathy for the unfortunate goalkeeper, they are only brought about because of deliberate misconduct by his/her own team.

...back to top




Referees are empowered to award free kicks to one side for offences committed by the other. These fee kicks are divided into two distinct groups:

  • For breaking one of the general rules of the game, an indirect free kick is awarded to the other side.
  • For deliberate act, which is against the spirit of fair play, or is likely to cause injury to a player on the other side, a direct free kick is awarded to the other side. (This includes all of the penalty offences, 1 to 9).
    Indirect free kicks cannot directly score a goal. Direct free kicks can directly score a goal.

...back to top


Fouls frequently occur during a match, but the referee will distinguish between the accidental offence and the intentional or reckless foul. If a player persistently infringes the laws of the game, the referee will caution the player and if a player in the opinion of the referee is guilty of violent conduct or serious foul play, the player shall be sent off the field.

Deliberate fouls spoil a football game and no matter how enthusiastic a player may be a spirit or sportsmanship must be observed. Several acts of unfair or dangerous play are shown, all of which will result in the player's opponents being awarded a free kick or penalty kick.

Distinction between serious foul play AND violent conduct:

Serious foul play:

When a player commits one of the 9 offences punishable with a direct free kick and uses disproportionate and unnecessary strength when fighting for the ball against an opponent. It is not serious foul play if against a team-mate, the referee, a linesman, a spectator etc.

Violent conduct:

Is the aggression of a player towards an opponent without their fighting for the ball and also when a player attacks one of his team mates, the referee, a linesman, a spectator etc.

Deliberate (cynical or professional) fouls in and around the penalty area including deliberate hand ball, to prevent an opponent scoring, will be dealt with severely. A yellow card (booking) will be given in a situation deemed to not lead to a goal, but a red card (sending off) will be given for a situation deemed to be a direct goal scoring opportunity. Young players should be made fully aware of the penalties for this type of foul play and coaches should coach fair play in order to avoid the repercussions for young players not just in the present, but for their future as senior players.

This situation has been further defined with particular reference to tackling from behind; the moving of arms and elbows (without due care) too near opponents whilst challenging for the ball; slide tackles in which a player making the tackle brings down the opponent instead of making contact with the ball.

FIFA has made it very apparent to referees that they have been too lenient and the game is a game of skill with penalties being handed out to those who seek to prevent this by foul and/or violent play. Again, foul or violent play is rarely seen in junior soccer, especially at the younger levels. However it is the job of coaches to make the players (and their parents) very aware of the current thinking of FIFA towards the playing of the game of soccer. Of course these sentiments are echoed in the Hillary Commission's Fair Play policy.

...back to top


The ball to be thrown in by a player from the opposing side at the place as indicated by the Referee. If not thrown from the correct place, the throw to be taken by the player from the opposing side.

Time wasting: time wasting by the side throwing in the ball will result in the loss of the throw: e.g. Player picks the ball up and makes to throw, but drops the ball behind his/her back and another team mate comes from the field of play and takes his place, or takes too long in the referee's opinion to get the ball in to play.

The ball is still in play until it has completely crossed the touchline or goal line.

If the ball swerves over the line in the air and lands back in the field, it is out of play. When a ball is out of play after crossing a touchline, a throw in must take place. The throw in can only be taken by a player belonging to the opposite team from that of the last player who touched the ball.

The correct throw in:

  • The ball must be thrown in with both hands, passing the ball over the head, and both feet must be on the ground with part of each foot either on the touch line or outside the touch line at the point where the ball left the field of play.
  • A goal shall not be scored directly from a throw in.
  • Players are not allowed to attempt to hinder the thrower.

...back to top


  • The referee should prevent any player who is bleeding profusely from taking any further part in a match until he has been adequately treated and the bleeding has stopped. Any seriously injured player should not be moved until the nature of the injury has been ascertained.

...back to top


  • For safety reasons all goals, especially portable ones, must be anchored securely to the ground. Nets must be anchored with plastic pegs.
  • Players must have their shirts tucked in at all times and also must have their socks up at all times. At the junior level it would be a matter of pride in appearance of the team that this would be the norm, but under the rules it is insisted upon.
  • Players may score directly from kick-offs and goal kicks. At set pieces (corners, free kicks, penalty kicks), the ball is deemed to be in play once it has moved.
  • A reminder that in senior soccer, only one person may convey tactical instructions to a team and this must be done from within a technical area (5 meters either side of the halfway line). In junior soccer, coaches have always been allowed to coach from the sideline (and for the very young – from the pitch). This practice will continue since it should be a teaching process. It should be restricted to the one person and coaches should be aware that coaching from behind the goal line by anyone is not permitted – unfortunately this has been the cause of sideline arguments with parents leaning on goalposts to instruct goalkeepers and often intimidate opponents.
  • Coaches/managers are asked to co-operate by moving supporters to the sidelines and by setting a positive example themselves. Common sense should apply – just remember the idea is to teach young people the game, not abuse them.

...back to top


  • Remember that you are dealing with young people who are learning the game. The younger the players, the more inexperienced they will be. Teach players the laws of the game; do not expect deep knowledge (after all many adults do not understand the laws); do not be harsh in the application of the laws; make sure players understand the reason for your decision. Rather than penalise young players, teach them. For example, get a player to take a throw in again so that it is correct. Above all use common sense.

...back to top


Teams, Coaches and players

  1. All teams shall play in their Club colours except where colours clash, in which case the second named team in the draw will change to a contrasting colour.
  2. Each team playing in matches, whether competitive or not, that have been arranged, sanctioned or authorised by Mainland Soccer, shall be in possession of a suitably approved ball.
  3. Mainland Soccer shall have the power to suspend or expel any Club, team or individual who wilfully breaks the Bye laws or the Laws of the Game.
  4. Mainland Soccer shall have the power to discipline any player, who is cautioned or sent off by the Referee whether on or off the field of play, where an official report has been sent to the Mainland Soccer office.
  5. Any Club, team or coach who refuses to accept a Referee appointed by the Referees Associates, or is found to have abused or harassed a Referee, then the said Club, team or coach (whomsoever commits the offence shall be fined a minimum of fifty dollars ($50.00) and shall be liable for suspension
  6. No Club/School shall allow players under suspension or disqualification to take part in any match controlled by Mainland Soccer. A breach of this Bye law renders the offending Club/School liable to suspension and/or fine as the Executive may see fit.
  7. For all grades, any player ordered off the field by a Referee (or person acting in that capacity whether qualified or not) from a match under their control shall have imposed upon them by their Club an automatic suspension of one playing day. Mainland Soccer shall have the right to request the player concerned to appear before its Executive or Judicial sub committee and if so requested, the player shall remain suspended until such time as determined by the Federation.
  8. Mainland Soccer shall have the power to discipline any player, coach or spectator who is guilty of bringing the game into disrepute. Such disciplinary action may not only include the penalties described in Bye law 3, but may also include the power to deduct points from a team with which the said player, coach or spectator is associated.
  9. Furthermore, the Federation shall have the power to discipline a coach under the requirement of the Coaching Code as laid down in the Handbook that coaches are deemed responsible for the conduct of parents and supporters associated with a team

...back to top

Registration and grading of players

  1. All players shall be registered on the form provided (or such other as may be approved). Players shall be registered in each grade in alphabetical order, with each grade on a separate sheet. Late registrations shall be made with each grade separate.
  2. When a player is first registered, the registration shall be accompanied by acknowledgement that his/her certificate of birth or such other evidence as may substantiate his/her date of birth and is acceptable to the Federation has been sighted and held by the Club/School.
  3. If proof of age is not possible to obtain at time of initial registration, 28 days shall be allowed, on request, for dispensation. Players without proof of age after the 28 days shall be classified as unregistered and not permitted to play.
  4. In the competitive grades, requests for player transfers to be given in writing to the Federation, to be dealt with at the Executive's discretion.
  5. Players shall be graded according to age between 1st January and 31st December in the playing year. This means that: 7th Grade is for players younger or turning 7 during year, 8th Grade is for players younger or turning 8 during year. Exceptions for three players, per grade, per Club may be made if their birth date is after 1st October in the previous year. Any team that has more than two dispensations per team will play for zero point's exception being rural teams.
  6. Applications for re-grading of other players under the jurisdiction of the Federation shall be in writing prior to the player playing.
  7. If a player plays three games in a higher grade, he/she is ineligible to play in a lower grade without being re-graded.
  8. Any team playing an unregistered player or a player not eligible by reason of age or any other cause, under these Bye laws will forfeit any points won in any match in which such player has taken part during the season and will be fined as the Federation shall see fit. Each such match shall count as a win for the opposing team providing their team card is in order.

...back to top

Team Cards and Results

  1. The Federation shall supply to Clubs/Schools, team cards for the purpose of recording the player's names playing or intended to be played, in any match. Such cards shall have provision for the signatures of the team's coach/manager, the opposition coach/manager, the Referee together with such other information, as the Federation may deem necessary.
  2. Prior to the commencement of each match a team card shall be completed by each team and handed to the Referee. At the finish of the match the team cards shall be returned to the captain/coach/manager of each team.
  3. If no referee appointed then both coaches shall sign each others cards, to approve scores and any comments.
  4. Team cards for all grades after being correctly filled and signed shall stay with the club unless, (1) Mainland Soccer has an appointed referee officiate, (2) there is a dispute regarding the score, (3) player eligibility or (4) incident. If any of these has occurred the team card has to be in the hands of Mainland Soccer by the following Wednesday.
  5. Any team/club/school/manager, filling out a team card with the intention of misleading the Federation shall be fined a maximum of fifty dollars ($50.00) and the team/club/school/manager shall be liable for suspension.
  6. Results for Competitive Grade must be in by email or prior arrangement, to the results officer This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. no later than 8:00am the Sunday after the game. If not this will be regarded as a late result and will incur a $5.00 fine per team.

...back to top


  1. Two corner posts must be provided by each team. The posts must be such that they extend a minimum of five feet above the playing surface and are of a material and in such condition that they are unlikely to cause injuries to players. The minimum fine for not providing corner posts or posts deemed to be hazardous shall be five dollars ($5.00).
  2. Nets, if nets are available these can be assembled using plastic pegs to secure.
  3. Balls, The game shall be played with FIFA approved match balls, each team shall provide 1 FIFA approved match ball, and during the course of the game other FIFA approved match balls may be used. If no FIFA approved match balls are available a ball suitable to both coaches may be used.

...back to top

Non Competitive Grades

  1. All grades below and including 10th Grade shall be non-competition; non-competition being defined, as there shall be no points awarded for winning or drawing a game, nor will games be "strung" together for the purposes of determining a winner of a grade.
  2. There will be no knock out games for these grades.
  3. The number of players in a team shall be as per competition rules.
  4. Any team playing an unregistered player or a player not eligible by reason of age or any other cause, then the Club/School may be fined at the discretion of the Federation.

...back to top

League Competitions

  1. The Federation reserves the right to decide the winner of any competition in whatever manner the Executive considers appropriate.
  2. The Federation shall organise and administer competitive leagues for the eleventh to seventeenth grades. The Federation reserves the right to determine the makeup of such leagues and may for the proposes of providing adequate competition combine grades where appropriate or provide separate leagues for school or sexes provided that there is sufficient numbers and that it is in the best interests of the development of the players and the code.
  3. 11th Grade. The games where possible will be played on intermediate size grounds. There will be 4 grading games, weather permitting, at the commencement of the season. Teams will be placed in sections of 14 teams, where possible, with 1 full round.
  4. For the 12th Grade to 17th Grade no Grading. Teams will be placed in sections of 8 teams, where possible, based on their placing last season. This will be done in consultation with clubs. Then there will be one full round where 1st round winners will receive 1st round winners certificates. Teams will be re-graded with promotion relegation as necessary, all points set to zero. And the second round will be played for. The winner of this 2nd round will be deemed as division Champion.
  5. Players shall be interchangeable between their own Club/School teams only in the registered grade or above for the duration of the competition. Where a player plays in a grade above the registered grade, the registered grade shall be noted on the card beside the player's name. Failure to comply with this Bye law will result in the Club/School being fined five dollars ($5.00) for each offence.
  6. Any player playing three games above their registered grade shall be placed in the higher grade until such time as the player is regraded by the Federation. After re-grading should a player play in a higher grade that player must remain in the higher grade.
  7. Points shall be awarded for each game in accordance with the following scale:
  8. Winning a game in the manner prescribed by the Laws of the Game: 3 points
  9. Drawing a game in the manner prescribed by the Laws of the Game: 1 point
  10. Winning a game by default 3 points and 3 goals
  11. Bye 0 points 0 goals
  12. Deferment of a game may be granted at the discretion of the Federation where a team has three or more players absent from the team because of commitments at an event sanctioned by the Federation. Requests for such deferment to be in writing at least twenty-one days prior.
  13. A maximum of five substitutes is permitted in all grades.
  14. A system of rolling substitutes is permitted in all grades.

...back to top

Knockout Cup Competitions

  1. The entire control and management of these competitions shall be vested in the Federation executive.
  2. All players registered in a grade are to compete in that grade's Knockout Cup competition. Players are eligible to play in a higher-grade Knockout Cup Competition than their registered grade. A player once named on a team card becomes cup tied to that team and grade for the duration of the competition; this includes senior competitions.
  3. For 12th to 17th grades, at the conclusion of the League Competition, weather and time permitting there shall be Knockout Cup Competitions. The Knockout Competition shall be within each Grades Section. For 8 or 7 team sections the format shall be position on table vs position on table at the conclusion of the season. The draw that was made at a Delegates meeting on 7th December 2005 at English Park and drawn by various attendees shall be put in place for 2007 season. The draw as follows (6 v 4), (8 v 2), (5 v 3) and (1 v 7) for 7 team sections 8 shall be the Bye. First named team shall be the home team.
  4. In the 12th to 17th grades inclusive, goals only shall count during normal playing time to determine a result. In all rounds including the final, games which result in a draw at full time extra time will be played to a maximum of 10 minutes each way. The game will cease immediately a goal is scored with the team scoring the goal being declared the winner. If the game is still a draw the game will immediately be decided by a penalty shootout.
  5. A team once defeated shall be considered to be out of the competition
  6. There shall be NO byes after the first round.
  7. In the case of a replay only those players shall be allowed to play in the later match or matches who were eligible on the date fixed for the original game, but a player who was under suspension at the date of the original game may play in a subsequent match or matches after his term of suspension has expired.
  8. The name of the winning Club(s) shall be inscribed on the trophies won by each Club in a manner approved by the Federation and at the expense of Mainland Soccer
  9. There will be no deferment of knockout games. Explanatory note: this does not - include cancellation by the Federation

...back to top

Disputes and Complaints

  1. Mainland Soccer will handle all disputes or complaints from Club administrators only, this has to be on Club letterhead or email from Club Administrator. Within 3 working days of the dispute.
  2. There is a dispute or complaint form available from your club, which can be filled out by any party but this has to go through your club administrator.

...back to top

Appeals and protests

  1. All appeals must be in writing and will be dealt with by the Federation. All appeals must be in the hands of the Federation by 7.00pm not later than seven days following the meeting at which the offence was announced.
  2. A Representative of each interested Club/school may attend the Federation meeting at which an appeal/protest or dispute is heard. The Club/school entering the appeal or protest must give forty-eight hours notice of its intention to appeal to the Federation who shall notify the interested parties.