Villarreal take on Sparta Prague

Small sided - 5, 6, 7-a-side leagues


The small game making a big impact.

Small Sided Football is the most popular and fastest growing area of adult football and has as emerged as the format of choice for many amateur players.

There are nearly 30,000 Small Sided teams playing across the country. This significant figure is continuing to grow and expand at a rapid rate and it is anticipated that the number of small sided football teams will overtake the number of adult male 11 v 11 teams.

Small Sided football is identified in the National Game Strategy as one of The FA’s key growth targets for adult football. The popularity of this format of football is a reaction to changing work and leisure patterns and a move towards ‘pay and play’ football.

The Laws of Small Sided Football have been revised for the benefit to players and referees. The FA encourages all Small Sided Football centres to adopt these uniform Laws.

With over four million footballers now playing Small Sided Football, there is always a need for more referees. The FA has introduced a referee’s course specifically for the sport and further details on this can be obtained from the Berks & Bucks FA.

We know that Small Sided football helps keep people stay involved in the game for longer. With it's fast, fun and flexible format, you're guaranteed to still feel all the benefits of playing the beautiful game, just on a smaller scale.

Wherever you are around the county & country, there are opportunities to play Small Sided Football right on your doorstep. Through a host of operators and providers, the game continues to flourish - just make sure that when you start playing in an organised Small Sided league that it is appropriately affiliated to The FA.

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benefits of Affiliation

Some of the benefits of affiliating small sided football leagues

Recognition from the players that the competition is taking place under the auspices of the National Governing Body for Football. This will assist in the promotion and recruitment of Teams and Officials.
If the competition is affiliated to the FA or County Football Association it will be subject to the FA’s Disciplinary processes. These will provide an additional safeguard to players and officials.
FA Qualified Referees are only permitted to officiate in affiliated football and any insurance they carry is not applicable in unaffiliated competitions.

Only affiliated competitions are in a position to recruit additional referees through running the FA Small Sided Referees Qualification.
Affiliated competitions have the opportunity to post their results on ‘Full Time’ at - the Football Association’s official website.
National Providers of Small Sided Football are invited to regular industry seminars at the FA, whilst a growing number of County FA’s are increasing their membership benefits and provide representative rights within the County FA structure.