forever football Walking football UK

 

Walking football is different to regular Association Football (soccer) in many ways and is specifically aimed at the over 50’s age group. Many tournaments now cater exclusively for the over 60’s age group and competitions for even older groups are planned.

There are specific rules that outlaw all running and allows no contact between players, as shown below …

Rules of the Game

Adapted from WFA Laws of the Game (Copyright UK 2019)

Introduction

This revised edition of the ‘Laws of the Game’ acknowledges that this new and unique sport is evolving and developing as it grows, but nevertheless holds fast to the basic ethos and values of the parent game of football: to ensure all matches are played safely with full consideration of every participant’s age, gender and ability. All players, managers and club members are required to conduct themselves accordingly, respecting all fellow participants including referees and other match officials.

Section A: Players, Pitches and Equipment

Although it is likely that tournaments, leagues, competitions and events may have individual rules and conditions, all matches should comply with the following standards:

Players

1. Teams should wear strips that are distinctly different. Goalkeepers must be clearly distinguishable from outfield players on either team. The referee should also be easily distinguished from all players.

2. Substitutes must be clearly distinguishable from players on either team, until they are called into play.

3. Matches are played between teams that are 5-a-side (4 outfield players plus goalkeeper) or 6-a-side (5 outfield players plus goalkeeper).

4. A match should be abandoned if a team is permanently reduced to below the minimum number of players because of injury or receiving a red (not blue) card. The minimum number of players per format is:

(i) 5-a-side matches – minimum of 3 players

(ii) 6-a-side matches – minimum of 4 players.

Any team which causes the abandonment of a match will forfeit the match.

Pitches

5. The standard pitch dimensions for competitions are a width between 25 metres (min) and 37 metres (max) and a length between 35 metres (min) and 55 metres (max). Slight variations from these dimensions will be permitted at the discretion of the referee.

6. The standard goal size for competitions is a width between 3 metres (min) and 5 metres (max) and a height between 1.2 metres (min) and 2 metres (max). Slight variations from these dimensions will be permitted at the discretion of the referee. A secure net should be attached to each goal.

7. A goal area must be clearly marked at each end of the pitch. This may be a semi-circle or rectangle and should extend between 4 metres (min) and 6 metres (max) from the goal line.

8. A clearly marked penalty spot should be positioned in line with the centre of the goal and 6 metres from the goal line.

9. The position of the ball on the pitch is determined when it crosses a line entirely (i.e. the whole of the ball). A ball located on the line marking the goal area is considered to be within that area and can, therefore, can be handled by the goalkeeper.

Safety

10. Players must refrain from openly wearing jewellery or watches. Tape may be used to safely cover rings and piercings, and wrist bands to safely cover watches / monitors.

11. All players must wear shin pads, covered by their socks.

12. Boots must not have any sharp edges that can cause accidental injury.

Section B. Starting, Stopping and Continuing Play

Starting a Match

13. A coin toss will be used at the start of a game to determine whether a team wishes to kick-off or choose which end they wish to attack. The team winning the toss is granted first choice.

14. The match commences only when the referee blows the whistle. Matches can be two halves of 20 minutes or four quarters on 10 minutes, switching end after each break.

15. A goal cannot be scored directly from a kick-off, even in the event of a deflection into the goal from an opposing player or the goalkeeper. The goal will be disallowed and a goal kick awarded to the opposing team.

Stopping and Resuming Play

16. If the referee stops play by blowing the whistle, play should only be resumed upon a further blow of the whistle. Quick free kicks, without a referee’s whistle to resume play, are not permitted.

17. Referees are not obliged to delay play any longer than they feel necessary and, if safe do to so, may blow the whistle to restart a game immediately after a free kick has been awarded.

18. A drop ball may be used to resume play when it is not possible to determine which team should have possession – for example, following a sudden halt in play caused through injury or if it is impossible to judge which team causes the ball to rise above cross-bar height.

Kick-ins and Corner Kicks

19. A kick-in resumes play at the point where the ball left the field of play.

20. A corner kick resumes play on the same side of the pitch that the ball left the field of play.

Kick-ins and corners are indirect, with opposing players being at least 3 metres from the ball. A goal will only be allowed following a kick-in or corner once the ball has been played by another player: direct shots at goal from a kick-in or corner are not permitted and any such goals will be disallowed, even if deflected in off another player (goalkeeper included).

21. A player executing a kick-in or corner is not permitted to take more than one step immediately prior to striking the ball. The ball should not be kicked with undue force or in a manner likely to cause injury.

22. Goalkeepers are permitted to distribute the ball when grounded.

23. Goalkeepers can handle the ball directly from a back pass and unlimited back passes between a player and goalkeeper are permitted.

24. Goals may be scored by any player from any outfield position in the attacking half of the field.

Section C. Infringements

Running and Jogging

25. Running or jogging on or off the ball is not permitted by any player (including goalkeepers) and will result in an indirect free kick being awarded. If the referee decides that such conduct results in a clear goal-scoring opportunity being denied, then the offending player(s) should be removed from play for 2 minutes (blue card) and a penalty kick awarded if the offence occurs in the goal area.

26. The referee will have sole interpretation of what is and what is not walking. A walking action will generally be a series of steps throughout which there is continuously at least part of one foot in contact with the ground; between steps both feet are momentarily grounded.

High Ball

27. The ball is not permitted to travel above the height of the goal cross-bar at any time the ball is in play. If the whole of the ball exceeds cross-bar height, as solely judged by the referee, an indirect free kick will be awarded against the team which last touched the ball ***, except:

(i) If the ball deflects off the goal frame and exceeds cross-bar height before landing in the field of play, the game is stopped and the defending goalkeeper is given the ball to recommence play, or

(ii) If the ball deflects off the goalkeeper in the process of making a save and exceeds cross-bar height before landing in the field of play, the game is stopped and the defending goalkeeper is given the ball to recommence play.

(iii) If a ball deflects off the goalkeeper in the process of making a save and exceeds cross-bar height before dropping into the goal without touching another player, a goal is awarded.

(iv) If a ball deflects off the goalkeeper in the process of making a save and exceeds cross-bar height, before directly leaving the field of play, a corner or kick-in should be awarded, where the ball crosses the line.

If a goalkeeper is deemed to have deliberately caused the ball to exceed cross-bar height, an indirect free kick should be awarded to the opposing team 3 metres outside the goal area, adjacent to where the infringement occurred.

Tackling from Behind

28. A player commits a foul by tackling an opposing player, or playing the ball from behind, regardless of whether there is any physical contact.

Physical Contact and Dangerous Conduct

29. Physical contact is not permitted and is regarded as foul play, including:

(i) Shoulder charging, pushing or barging.

(ii) Slide tackling or slide blocking.

(iii) Obstructing an opponent outside of playing distance of the ball to gain an advantage or deny that player access to the ball or movement into space.

(iii) Deliberately dangerous or reckless conduct, regardless of whether or not there is any physical contact.

In all cases, the referee will have the discretion to award a free kick, a blue or red card in line with the severity of the offence.

30. If a player, a team official or a substitute uses threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour towards the referee, any other player, official or any other participant, the referee will show a red card and cause them to play no further part in the game and, if applicable, the competition. The offending player must then completely leave the field and surrounding.

Other Infringements

A player commits a foul if he or she:

31. deliberately heads the ball.

32. deliberately plays the ball with their hand or arm (other than a goalkeeper)

33. fails to take a free kick, penalty, kick-in, kick-off or corner in accordance with football rules or as instructed by the referee.

34. (other than a goalkeeper) deliberately plays the ball whilst they are on the ground i.e. having a part of the body other than their feet on the pitch.

35. A goalkeeper commits a foul if they deliberately play the ball other than by throwing it under-arm or kicking it from the ground.

Playing an Advantage

36. The referee should play an advantage if:

(i) there is a benefit to the team which did not commit the infringement.

(ii) it is safe to do so and unlikely to result in a confrontation, especially following physical contact.

The referees should clearly indicate that an advantage is being allowed and then take appropriate action (blue card or warning) when it is safe and appropriate to do so.

Section D. Free Kicks

All free kicks are indirect and should be taken at the location of the infringement, with opposing players being at least 3 metres from the ball. A goal will only be allowed following a free kick once the ball has been played by another player. This does not include a direct shot at goal which deflects into the goal off another player or the goalkeeper.

37. A player taking a free kick is not permitted to take more than one step immediately prior to striking the ball. The ball should not be kicked in a manner likely to cause injury.

Free kicks awarded to an attacking team must not be taken within 3 metres of their opponents’ goal area, but must be moved back accordingly, directly 3 metres outwards in line from where the infringement occurred

Penalty Kicks

A penalty kick is a direct free kick.

38. A player taking a penalty kick is permitted to take only one step immediately prior to striking the ball.

39. A player in the process of taking a penalty kick commits a foul if they initially simulate striking the ball, in order to cause the goalkeeper to move in a specific direction.

40. When facing a penalty kick, a goalkeeper is permitted to move any part of their body and to travel along the goal line, but is not permitted to advance off the goal line prior to the kick being taken; this will result in the retaking of a saved or missed penalty.

41. All players, other than the goalkeeper defending the penalty kick, must be behind the ball immediately prior to the kick being taken. A defender encroaching this area before a kick is taken will result in the retaking of a saved or missed penalty. An attacker encroaching this area before a kick is taken will result in a successful penalty being retaken.

Blue Card and Red Card Infringements

Cumulative Fouls

42. If a player commits continual infringements for running, foul play or a combination of both ***, the referee has the discretion to show a blue card, causing the player to leave the game (sin-bin) and must miss 2 minutes of playing time.

43. If a player returns from the sin-bin and commits further infringements that would warrant a second blue card, the referee should issue a red card.

The referee has the sole discretion to determine which infringements are worthy of cumulation. For example, causing the ball to travel above head height may not necessarily warrant such action.