Don’t hang up your boots yet…
If you grew up kicking a football around a park inspired by the likes of George Best, Bobby Charlton and Jimmy Greaves, you may have thought your playing days were over. Think again! Thanks to the rapid growth of the sport of Walking Football you can once more show off your dribbling skills.
From an initiative launched by Chesterfield FC Community Trust in the summer of 2011 aimed at the 50s and over, the sport has grown exponentially. Walking Football teams, leagues and tournaments can now be found across the length and breath of the UK and the sport continues to gain in popularity. Its great selling power is that it provides an opportunity for ex footballers, amateur and professional, to return to the “beautiful game” alongside over 50s enjoying the game for perhaps the first time since their school days. It also has proven benefits to both physical and mental health.
- 1 Warming up for Walking Football
- 2 Walking Football Near You
- 3 Health Benefits
- 4 The Rules of Walking Football
- 4.1 LAW 1 – The Field of Play
- 4.2 Law 2 – Qualities and measurements
- 4.3 Law 3 – Number of players
- 4.4 Law 4 – The Players’ Equipment
- 4.5 Law 5 – The Referee
- 4.6 Law 6 – The Additional Match Official
- 4.7 Law 7 – The Duration of the Match
- 4.8 Law 8 – The start and Restart of Play
- 4.9 Law 9 – The Ball in and out of Play
- 4.10 Law 10 – Determining the Outcome of a Match
- 4.11 Law 11 – Off-Side
- 4.12 Law 12 – Fouls and Misconduct
- 4.13 Law 14 – The Penalty Kick
- 4.14 Law 15 – The kick-in/Roll-in
- 4.15 Law 16 – The Goal Clearance
- 4.16 Law 17 – The Corner Kick
- 4.17 Law 18 – Walking
- 5 What is next for Walking Football from The FA?
- 6 Final Thoughts
Warming up for Walking Football
It is always important to warm up properly for any sporting activity and this becomes increasingly important as we get older. Walking Football is an active sport and requires physical preparation like any other. A suggested warm up routine could be as follows:
- Dynamic: Walking – change stride length and pace
- Dynamic: Side steps – change stride length and pace
- Dynamic: Lunges – correct posture and alternate legs
- Dynamic: Arm windmills – change direction
- Static: Calf stretch – feet facing forwards and back leg straight
- Static: Quadriceps – straight back and switch legs
- Static: Hamstrings – straight back and straight legs
- Dynamic: Star jumps – spread arms and legs wide
- Game preparation: Passing and dribbling
Walking Football Near You
If you are interested in giving Walking Football a go, the best place to start looking for sessions or teams to play in is at your local sports centre. Many sports and leisure centres are offering Walking Football for the over 50s. If you have no luck there you might try visiting https://www.walkingfootball.com/.
Already leagues are being established which are age specific. In the Greater Manchester league there is an Over 60 league, an Over 65 league and even an Over 70 league. So once you have started, there is no reason why you can’t play competitively for years to come.
Walking football offers many health benefits to older people such as reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke while improving blood pressure. Positive changes in postural balance, blood pressure and resting heart rate, lowered cholesterol, improved blood sugar levels, bone density and improving reactions, whilst significantly reducing the odds of suffering from type 2 diabetes are all indicators of general good health.
Studies have shown it can be effective in the treatment of mild to moderate hypertension and that it can produce high aerobic activity with marked improvements in fat oxidation and aerobic power. Importantly, benefits are felt whilst deriving enjoyment, which makes people far more likely to exercise.
There are also many psychological and mental health advantages to playing walking football derived from high levels of personal reward and satisfaction with reduced levels of stress and exertion while playing, despite working physically hard.
Walking Football also gives an often isolated section of the community the chance to become involved in something they really enjoy, make new friends, form lasting relationships with like-minded people and generally improve their social circle and overall quality of life, often making them feel less isolated and more a part of the wider community.
There are also significant benefits for any older people involved in a walking football environment or club who perhaps don’t always want to play but can engage in other aspects of the sport or club such as administrative roles, team manager, organising fixture etc or sitting on a management committee of the club or even just being in involved in a social capacity for the good company and friendship. All these things can help to keep older people mentally active and give their lives a very real sense of purpose and belonging.
As we get older, many of us struggle with our balance, strength, stamina, weight and worst of all confidence and self-esteem levels but walking football has the potential to make a significant impact in all these areas, building body strength, improving muscles, core stability and hopefully losing some of the weight usually gained during the ageing process. As well as being able to increase fitness levels, emotional health gets a great boost too for a person involved in walking football, not least self-confidence and self-esteem.
In the context of an ageing society, rising levels of obesity and the growing incident of late onset diabetes, it is thought Walking Football has the potential to make a significant impact.
The Rules of Walking Football
Something that is quintessentially British is our ability to take a casual recreational sport and turn it into an international sport. This has been the case with golf, cricket and badminton, and although the roots of football and rugby go back centuries, it was the British that gave the sport its rules and structure.
It will therefore be of no surprise that as the sport of Walking Football has blossomed it has been quickly accompanied by a comprehensive set of rules. For the start of the 2018-19 season the FA have produced an updated and comprehensive set of rules (below). It is interesting that the section on fouls and misconduct is twice as long as any other section which presumably reflects the passion in which the game has been played and the British sense of fair play. For the less athletic the same section allows that “players are permitted to hold the barriers to correct their balance”. However, for the more aggressive player beware because “A player who has been sent off may not take any further part in the match … nor may they sit on the substitutes’ bench, where provided.”
LAW 1 – The Field of Play
Walking Football may be played with or without barriers.
The playing area must be rectangular; the length of the touchline must be greater than the length of the goal line.
For 5-a-side and 6-a-side football the following dimensions are recommended:
Length: minimum 25 m
maximum 50 m
Width: minimum 16 m
maximum 35 m
For 7-a-side football the following dimensions are recommended:
Length: minimum 50m
Width; minimum 30m
The playing area is marked with lines. The two longer boundary lines are called touchlines. The two shorter lines are called goal lines.
The playing area is divided into two halves by the halfway line.
All lines must be of the same width which must not be more than 12cms.
The centre mark is at the midpoint of the halfway line. A circle with a radius of 3m is marked around it.
The penalty area
A penalty area is defined at each end of the playing area as follows:
A semi-circle of 6m radius is drawn from the centre of each goal line. The extremities of these semi-circles should reach the goal line, barrier or wall, regardless of whether or not the goal posts encroach onto the playing area.
Within each penalty area, a penalty mark is made 6m from the midpoint between the goal posts.
The corner arc
Where barriers do not surround the playing area, a quarter circle with a radius of 25cm from each corner is drawn inside the playing area in each corner.
A goal must be placed on the centre of each goal line.
A goal consists of two vertical posts equidistant from each corner and joined at the top by a horizontal crossbar.
The distance (inside measurement) between the posts is 5m (maximum) – 3m (minimum); the distance from the lower edge of the crossbar to the ground is 2m (maximum) – 1.20m (minimum).
The goal posts and the crossbars have the same width and depth as the lines. Nets may be attached to the goals and the ground behind the goal; they must be properly supported and must not interfere with the goalkeeper.
The goals may be portable and must meet British Standards and be anchored securely to the ground during play as per Health and Safety requirements. Where there are no barriers a suitable run off should be provided around the playing area. The FA recommends a minimum of 3m; if this distance cannot be met a suitable run off should be provided subject to a risk assessment.
Where natural turf is not used the surface must be smooth, flat and non-abrasive; the use of wood or artificial material is recommended.
Law 2 – Qualities and measurements
The ball is:
• made of leather or other suitable material
• appropriate in size to the group playing
Replacement of a defective ball
If the ball becomes defective:
• play is stopped and
• restarted by dropping the replacement ball where the original ball became defective
If the ball becomes defective at a restart, the re-start is retaken.
If the ball becomes defective during a penalty kick or kicks from the penalty mark as it moves forward and before it touches a player, crossbar or goalposts the penalty kick is retaken.
The ball may not be changed during the match without the referee’s permission.
Law 3 – Number of players
A match is played by two teams, each consisting of not more than the following number of players and substitutes for each format:
• 5-a-side = 5 players per team and 3 substitutes (total of 8 players)
• 6-a-side = 6 players per team and 3 substitutes (total of 9 players)
• 7-a-side = 7 players per team and 3 substitutes (total of 10 players)
A match should not be considered valid if a team is permanently reduced by:
• more than two players for 5–a-side,
• more than two players for 6-a-side
• more than three players for 7–a-side.
However this should only apply when players are sent off (not temporarily dismissed) and/or unable to continue through injury, illness etc…
Number of Substitutes
The number of substitutions made during a match is unlimited. A player who has been substituted may return as a substitute for another player.
Substitutions should take place when play is stopped or during play if an additional official is involved in refereeing the match; this will be determined by the competition rules.
The substitution procedure is as follows:
• the player entering the playing area may not do so until the player leaving the playing area has passed completely over the boundary line
• where barricades are used the players must use the opening onto the playing area
• the substitution is complete when the substitute enters the playing area from which moment the replaced player becomes a substituted player and the substitute becomes a player and can take any restart
All substituted players and substitutes are subject to the referee’s whether they play or not.
Changing the goalkeeper
Any of the players or substitutes, may change places with the goalkeeper if:
• the referee is informed before the change is made
• the change is made during a stoppage in play
Offences and sanctions
If, while a substitution is being made, a substitute enters the playing area before the player being replaced has completely left:
• play is stopped
• the player being replaced is instructed to leave the playing area
• the substitute is temporarily dismissed for the agreed period.
• play is restarted by an indirect free kick to be taken by the opposing team from the place where the ball was situated when the match was stopped. However, if the ball was inside the penalty area, the indirect free kick is taken 3m from the penalty area line, at the place nearest to the position of the ball when play was stopped.
Where barricades are used if, while a substitution is being made, a substitute enters the playing area or a player being replaced leaves the playing area from a place other than the recognised opening in the barricades:
• play is stopped
• the substitute/player is temporarily dismissed for the agreed period.
• play is restarted by an indirect free kick to be taken by the opposing team from the place where the ball was situated when the match was stopped. However, if the ball was inside the penalty area, the indirect free kick is taken 3m from the penalty area line, at the place nearest to the position of the ball when play was stopped
Law 4 – The Players’ Equipment
A player must not use equipment or wear anything that is dangerous.
All items of jewellery (necklaces, rings, bracelets, earrings, leather bands, rubber bands etc…) are forbidden and must be removed. Using tape to cover jewellery is not permitted.
The compulsory equipment of a player is:
• a shirt with sleeves
• shorts or track suit trousers
• shin guards – these must be of suitable material to provide reasonable protection and covered by the socks
• footwear –appropriate to local conditions and surface type
• The two teams must wear colours that distinguish them from each other and the referee
• Each goalkeeper wears colours which are distinguishable from the other players and the referee
Non-dangerous protective equipment for example headgear, facemasks and knee and arm protectors made of soft, lightweight padded material is permitted as are goalkeepers’ caps and sports spectacles.
Offences and sanctions
For any Offences of this Law:
• the player at fault is instructed by the referee to leave the playing area to correct their equipment or to obtain any missing item of equipment. The player may not return to the playing area without first reporting to the referee, who then checks that the player’s equipment is correct. The player is only allowed to re-enter the playing area when the ball is out of play.
• players can return to play whilst the ball is in play if a second official has checked the equipment. If no second official is present the player must wait for play to stop in order for the referee to check the faulty equipment.
Law 5 – The Referee
The authority of the referee
Each match is controlled by a referee who has full authority to enforce the Laws of the Game in connection with the match.
Decisions of the referee
Decisions will be made to the best of the referee’s ability according to the Laws of the Game and the ‘spirit of the game’.
The decisions of the referee regarding facts connected with play are final. The decisions of the referee, and all other match officials, must always be respected.
Powers and duties
• enforces the Laws of the Game
• controls the match in cooperation with the other match official
• acts as timekeeper and keeps a record of the match and provides the appropriate authorities with a match report which includes information on any disciplinary action taken against players, and/or team officials and any other incidents which occur before, during or after the match
• supervises and/or indicates the restart of play
allows play to continue when the team against which an offence has been committed will benefit from such an advantage and penalises the original offence if the anticipated advantage does not ensue at that time
• punishes the more serious offence in terms of sanction, restart, physical severity and tactical impact when more than one offence occurs at the same time
• takes disciplinary action against players guilty of cautionable, sin-bin (temporary dismissal) and sending-off offences
• takes action against team officials who fail to conduct themselves in a responsible manner and may, at their discretion, expel them from the playing area and its immediate surrounds
• make use of timed suspensions to exclude temporarily players guilty of offences of the Laws.
• in the absence of a second official, the referee should make excluded players aware of the end of their period of suspension
• allows play to continue until there is a stoppage in play if a player is, in their opinion, only slightly injured
• stops the match if a player is seriously injured and ensures that the player is removed from the playing area
• ensures any player bleeding leaves the playing area
• stops, suspends or terminates the match for any offence of the Laws or due to any kind of outside interference
• allows no unauthorised persons to enter the playing area.
Law 6 – The Additional Match Official
The duties of the additional match official are to assist the referee in controlling the match in accordance with the Laws of the Game in the following areas:
• assist the referee in identifying offences in relation to Law 18, especially offences that occur off the ball
• control of the substitution procedure, ensuring that the player to be replaced has left the playing area before the substitute is allowed to enter the playing area
• check the equipment of all the substitutes entering the playing area
• ensure that a player sent from the playing area by the referee, to replace any missing or defective equipment is checked before being allowed back on to the playing area
• if a player who is bleeding has been removed from the playing area by the referee, the match official must ensure that the bleeding has stopped before the player is allowed to re-enter the playing area
• keep a full record of the match details
• act as the timekeeper for any player who has been given a temporary suspension from the match
• report to the referee any misconduct by any of the team players or officials in the technical / bench / substitute area
• carry out any other duties as requested by the referee.
Law 7 – The Duration of the Match
The duration of the match shall be divided into between two and four equal periods of between 5 to 30 minutes each, subject to the following:
• allowance shall be made in each period for time lost through stoppages
• the duration of any period shall be extended to enable a penalty kick to be taken
• the interval between periods shall not exceed five minutes, except with the referee’s permission
Competition rules may allow for a match to be played in its entirety without any interval or requirement to change ends. A kick-off starts each half/period of a match and restarts play after a goal has been scored. Free kicks (direct or indirect), penalty kicks, kick/roll-ins, goal clearances and corner kicks are other ways of restarting play (see Laws 13 – 17). A dropped ball is the restart when the referee stops play and the Law does not require one of the above restarts.
If an offence occurs when the ball is not in play this does not change how the play is restarted.
Law 8 – The start and Restart of Play
• the team that wins the toss of a coin decides which goal it will attack in the first half
• their opponents take the kick-off
• the team that wins the toss takes the kick-off to start the second half/period
• for the second half/period (and subsequent periods) the teams change ends and attack the opposite goals: kick-offs continue to alternate between the two teams
For every kick-off:
• all players, except the player taking the kick-off, must be in their own half of the field of play
• the opponents of the team taking the kick-off must be at least 3m from the ball until it is in play
• the ball must be stationary on the centre mark
• the referee gives a signal
• the ball is in play when it is kicked and clearly moves
• a goal may not be scored directly against the opponents from the kick-off; if the ball directly enters the kicker’s goal, a corner kick is awarded to the opponent. If the ball directly enters the opponents goal, a goal kick is awarded to the opponents
Offences and sanctions
• If the player taking the kick-off touches the ball again before it has touched another player an indirect free kick is awarded.
• In the event of any other kick-off procedure offence the kick-off is retaken.
The referee drops the ball at the position where it was when play was stopped, unless it was in the goalkeeper’s possession, when the goalkeeper shall, at the referee’s signal, return the ball into play by dropping the ball from any point within the penalty area. Play restarts when the ball touches the ground.
Where barricades are in use the referee shall drop the ball 2m from the barricade.
Offences and sanctions
The ball is dropped again if it:
• touches a player before it touches the ground
• leaves the playing area after it touches the ground, without touching a player
• If a dropped ball enters the goal without touching at least two players play is restarted with;
• a goal kick if it enters the opponents’ goal
• a corner kick if it enters the team’s goal
Law 9 – The Ball in and out of Play
Ball out of play
The ball is out of play when:
• it has wholly passed over the goal line or touchline on the ground or in the air
• play has been stopped by the referee
• when playing indoors, it hits the ceiling
Ball in play
The ball is in play at all other times including when it rebounds off a match official, goal post, crossbar, corner flag post or the barricades and remains in the playing area.
Offences and sanctions
When a match is played indoors and the ball hits the ceiling, an indirect free kick is awarded to the opposing team to the one which last touched the ball.
The indirect free kick should be taken from the point at which the ball hit the ceiling.
Height of ball restrictions
A height restriction must apply, which cannot be less than the height of the crossbar and not greater than 2 metres. If a height offence occurs within the penalty area and is committed by the goalkeeper an indirect free kick should be awarded 3m from the penalty area line nearest to where the offence took place. The exception to this rule shall be when the ball rises above the designated height restriction resulting from a save or block performed by a goalkeeper. In this case the goalkeeper gains possession of the ball and must restart play with a goal clearance.
Law 10 – Determining the Outcome of a Match
A goal is scored when the whole of the ball passes over the goal line, between the goalposts and under the crossbar, provided that no offence has been committed by the team scoring the goal.
The goalkeeper from the attacking side is not allowed to score. The exception to this is during kicks from the penalty mark. If the goalkeeper does play the ball in to the opponents’ goal, play is restarted with a goal kick.
The team scoring the greater number of goals during a match is the winner. If both teams score an equal number of goals or if no goals are scored, the match is drawn.
When competition rules require a winning team after a drawn match or home-and-away tie, the only permitted procedures to determine the winning team are:
• away goals rule
• two equal periods of extra time
• kicks from the penalty mark
Kicks from the penalty mark procedure
Kicks from the penalty mark are taken after the match has ended and, unless otherwise stated, the relevant Laws of the game apply.
• unless there are other considerations (e.g. ground conditions, safety etc.), the referee tosses a coin to choose the goal at which the kicks will be taken which may only be changed for safety reasons or if the goal or playing surface becomes unusable
• the referee tosses a coin and the team that wins the toss decides whether to take the first or second kick.
• the referee keeps a record of the kicks being taken
• competition rules will determine the number of kicks with the kicks taken as described hereafter.
• the kicks are taken alternately
• only players who are on the playing area or are temporarily off the playing area (injured, adjusting equipment, in the sin bin etc.) at the end of the match are eligible to take kicks
• if, before or during the kicks from the penalty mark, one team has a greater number of players than its opponents, it must reduce to the same number as the opponents and the referee must be informed of the name and number of each player excluded.
• if, before both teams have taken their designated number of kicks, one has scored more goals than the other could score, even if it were to complete its designated number of kicks, no more kicks are taken
• if, after both teams have taken the designated number of kicks, both have scored the same number of goals, kicks continue to be taken in the same order, until one team has scored one goal more than the other from the same number of kicks
• any eligible player may change places with the goalkeeper
• only the eligible players and match officials are permitted to remain on the playing area when kicks from the penalty mark are taken
• all players, except the player taking the kick and the two goalkeepers, must remain in the opposite half to that where the kicks are being taken
• a goalkeeper who is unable to continue before or during the may be replaced by a player excluded to equalise the numbers or, if their team has not used its maximum permitted number of substitutes, a named substitute but the replaced goalkeeper takes no further part and may not take a kick
Law 11 – Off-Side
There is no off-side
Law 12 – Fouls and Misconduct
The ethos of Walking Football is one that expects a minimal contact match, with the players, match officials and other participants all understanding the spirit of the match.
Fouls and misconduct are penalised with an indirect free kick as follows:
An indirect free kick is awarded to the opposing team if a player commits any of the following offences against an opponent in a manner considered by the referee to be careless, reckless or using excessive force:
• jumps at
• kicks or attempts to kick
• strikes or attempts to strike (including head-butt)
• tackles or challenges
• trips or attempts to trip
An indirect free kick is also awarded to the opposing team if a player commits any of the following offences:
• deliberately heading the ball
• holds an opponent
• bites or spits at someone
• slides in an attempt to play the ball when it is being played or attempted to be played by an opponent (sliding tackle). Additionally no playing from the floor is permitted.
• handles the ball deliberately, except for the goalkeeper in their own penalty area
• throws an object at the ball, opponent or match official or makes contact with the ball with a held object where barriers are in place, holding onto the barrier to shield the ball; players are permitted to hold the barriers to correct their balance.
An indirect free kick is awarded if a goalkeeper commits one of the following offences:
• touches or controls the ball with their hands or feet, in the penalty area, for more than six seconds
• receives the ball back directly from a team mate to whom they have just passed the ball without the ball having made contact with any other player
• allows the ball to stop in a stationary position in the penalty area without touching it for more than six seconds
• if a height offence occurs within the penalty area and is committed by the goalkeeper an indirect free kick should be awarded 3m from the penalty area line nearest to where the offence took place.
• the exception to this rule shall be when the ball rises above the designated height restriction resulting from a save or block performed by a goalkeeper. In this case the goalkeeper gains possession of the ball and must restart play with a goal clearance.
An indirect free kick is also awarded if, in the opinion of the referee, a player:
• plays in a dangerous manner
• impedes the progress of an opponent without any contact being made
• Is guilty of dissent, offensive, insulting or abusive language and/or gestures or other verbal offences
• prevents the goalkeeper from releasing the ball from their hands
• commits any other offence, not mentioned in the Laws, for which play is stopped to caution or send off a player
The use of temporary time suspensions (sin bins) and the exclusion of a player arising from the issuing of a red card are the recommended disciplinary sanctions for use in walking football. Match officials should employ the use of temporary timed suspensions (blue cards) in all cases traditionally regarded as cautionable offences.
The options for a match official imposing disciplinary sanctions are therefore:
• player issued with a blue card and temporarily suspended from play
• player issued with a red card and permanently excluded from play
A blue card offence should always be accompanied by a temporary suspension from play.
The period of timed suspension in walking football shall be between two and five minutes. The release of players from a temporary suspension should be at the direction of the referee or additional match official.
Temporary Timed Suspensions – Procedures
A player temporarily suspended from play will be shown a blue card by the match official and informed that they share suspended from play for between two and five minutes. The length of the temporary suspension must be set by the competition prior to matches.
The player is obliged to leave the playing area and remain in a designated ‘sin bin’ area for the required suspension time. Separate ‘sin bin’ areas should be identified for each team. If no designated ‘sin bin’ areas are provided then suspended players should remain in the area where they can be seen by the referee and adjacent to team officials and substitutes.
A player will be informed as to the end of a period of suspension by the referee or match official and invited to re-join the match. Where barricades are used the players must use return through the opening onto the playing area.
A player is shown the blue card and temporarily excluded from play if they commit any of the following offences:
• C1 – unsporting behaviour
• C2 – shows dissent by word or action
• C3 – persistently offends the Laws of the Game, with exception to that covered under Law 17
• C4 – delays the restart of play
• C5 – fails to respect the required distance when play is restarted with a corner kick, kick-in, free kick or goal clearance.
• C6 – enters or re-enters the playing area without the referee’s permission or commits a substitution procedure offence
• C7 – deliberately leaves the playing area without the referee’s permission outside of a substitution
Exception to the use of ‘blue cards’ and temporary dismissals
The only exception to the use of ‘Blue Cards’ and Temporary Timed Suspensions is in facilities where if a player is excluded for between two and five minutes, they are unable to take up a position which is still in the eye line of the referee but outside the boundaries of the playing area. This might be the case in an enclosed sports hall or in a complex of caged playing areas. In such circumstances safety considerations requires the referee to employ the use of yellow cards, with all players remaining on the playing area unless excluded permanently. In this situation normal disciplinary sanctions will apply after the match as per the competition rules. If 2 yellow cards are given to an individual the player will be shown a red card and dismissed.
A player is sent off and shown the red card if he/she commits any of the following offences:
• S1 – serious foul play
• S2 – violent conduct
• S3 – spits at or bites someone
• S4 – denies the opposing team a goal or an obvious goal-scoring opportunity by deliberately handling the ball (this does not apply to a goalkeeper within their own penalty area)
• S5 – denies an obvious goal-scoring opportunity to an opponent moving towards the player’s goal by an offence punishable by a free kick or a penalty kick
• S6 – uses offensive, insulting or abusive language
• S7 – receives a second blue/yellow card in the same match
• If play is stopped for a player to be sent from the playing area without having committed any additional offence of the Laws, the match is restarted by an indirect free kick, awarded to the opposing team, to be taken at the place where the offence occurred. However, if the offence is committed in the penalty area, the indirect free kick is taken 3m from the penalty area line at the place nearest to where the offence occurred.
A player who has been sent off may not take any further part in the match nor may they sit on the substitutes’ bench, where provided.
Types of free kicks
Indirect free kicks are awarded to the opposing team of a player, substitute, substituted or sent off player, or team official guilty of an offence.
The referee indicates an indirect free kick by raising their arm above their head. They maintain their arm in that position until the kick has been taken and the ball has touched another player or goes out of play.
An indirect free kick must be retaken if the referee fails to signal that the kick is indirect and the ball is kicked directly into the goal.
Ball enters the goal
• if an indirect free kick is kicked directly into the opponent’s goal, a goal kick is awarded
• if an indirect free kick is kicked directly into the team’s goal, a corner kick is awarded
All free kicks are taken from the place where the offence occurred, except:
• free kicks to the attacking team are taken 3m from the penalty area line at the point nearest to where the offence occurred
• free kicks to the defending team in their penalty area may be taken anywhere in that area
must be stationary and the kicker must not touch the ball again until it has touched another player
Is in play when it is kicked and clearly moves except for a free kick to the defending team in their penalty area where the ball is in play when it is kicked directly out of the penalty area
Until the ball is in play all opponents must remain:
• at least 3m from the ball
• outside the penalty area for free kick inside the opponents’ penalty area
Offences and sanctions
• If, when a free kick is taken, an opponent is closer to the ball than the required distance the kick is retaken unless the advantage can be applied.
• If, after the ball is in play, the kicker touches the ball again before it has touched another player an indirect free kick is awarded.
Law 14 – The Penalty Kick
The penalty kick
A penalty kick is awarded for the following offences:
• a defending player deliberately enters their own penalty area
• a goalkeeper committing any of the seven sending off offences within their penalty area
• a goalkeeper deliberately exits their own penalty area
A goal may be scored directly from a penalty kick.
Additional time is allowed for a penalty kick to be taken at the end of each period or at the end of each period of extra time.
• The ball must be stationary on the penalty mark
• The player taking the penalty kick must be clearly identified.
• The defending goalkeeper must remain on the goal line, facing the kicker, between the goalposts, until the ball has been kicked.
• The players other than the kicker and the goalkeeper must be:
• at least 3m from the ball
• behind or to the side of the penalty mark
• inside the playing area
• outside the penalty area
The player taking the penalty kick:
• must kick the ball forward
• must not play the ball again until it has touched another player
• must take a maximum of one step before taking the penalty kick
• The ball is in play when it is kicked and clearly moves
• The penalty kick is completed when the ball stops moving, goes out of play or the referee stops play for any offence.
Offences and sanctions
Once the referee has signalled for the penalty kick to be taken, then kick must be taken. If, before the ball is in play, one of the following occurs:
• A player of the defending team commits an offence:
• the kick is retaken, if a goal is not scored
• the kick is not retaken if a goal is scored
A team-mate of the player taking the kick commits an offence:
• the kick is retaken if a goal is scored
• the kick is not retaken if a goal is not scored
• The player taking the kick commits an offence after the ball is in play an indirect free kick is awarded to the opposing team.
Law 15 – The kick-in/Roll-in
A kick-in/roll-in is a method of restarting play.
A goal cannot be scored directly from a kick-in/roll-in.
A kick-in/roll-in is awarded:
• when the whole of the ball passes over a touch line, either on the ground or in the air, or hits the ceiling
• from the place where it crossed the touch line
• to the opponents of the player who last touched the ball
• Where the playing area is surrounded by barricades, there are no kick ins/roll-ins. When the ball leaves the field of play, play is restarted with a goal clearance, by the goalkeeper whose half of the field the ball was in when leaving the field of play.
Position of the ball and the players
• must be stationary on the touch line; or 2m into the playing area from the barrier where barricades are in use
• may be kicked in any direction
The player taking the kick-in/roll-in:
• must have part of each foot on the touch line or on the ground outside the touch line at the moment of kicking/rolling the ball; or
• must stand between the ball and the barricade where in use
• must use an underarm action when rolling the ball in
The players of the defending team must be at least 3m from the place where the kick-in is taken
• the player taking the kick-in must not play the ball again until it has touched another player
• the ball is in play when it is kicked/rolled and clearly moves
Offences and sanctions
The kick-in is retaken by a player of the opposing team if:
• the kick-in is taken incorrectly
• the kick-in is taken from a position other than the place where the ball passed over the touch line or where indicated by the referee where barricades are in use
An indirect free kick is awarded to the opposition if the player taking the kick in plays the ball again before it has touched another player.
Law 16 – The Goal Clearance
The goal clearance
A goal clearance is a method of restarting play.
A goal may not be scored directly from a goal clearance.
The goal clearance is awarded when:
• the whole of the ball, having last touched a player of the attacking team, passes over the goal line, either on the ground or in the air, and a goal is not scored in accordance with Law 10
• a player enters the opposing penalty area
• the opponents must remain outside the penalty area
• the goalkeeper must not play the ball again until it has touched another player
• the ball is in play when the ball is thrown underarm or kicked from any stationary point within the penalty area by the goalkeeper of the defending team
Offences and sanctions
• If the ball is not thrown or kicked directly beyond the penalty area the goal clearance is retaken.
• If, after releasing the ball, the goalkeeper touches the ball again, before it has touched another player an indirect free kick is awarded 3m from the penalty area line from the place nearest to where the offence occurred.
• If the goalkeeper receives the ball from a team mate in open play the goalkeeper is permitted to touch the ball and to pick the ball up.
• If, after releasing the ball, the goalkeeper touches the ball again before it has either touched an opponent or has been touched by at least two players of the goalkeeper’s team, an indirect free kick is awarded 3m from the penalty area line to the place nearest to where the offence occurred
Law 17 – The Corner Kick
The corner kick
• A corner kick is a method of restarting play.
• A goal may be scored directly from a corner kick, but only against the opposing team.
• A corner kick is awarded when the whole of the ball, having last touched a player of the defending team, passes over the goal line, either on the ground or in the air, and a goal is not scored in accordance with Law 10.
• the ball is placed inside the corner arc at the nearest corner
• opponents must remain at least 3m from the ball until it is in play
• the ball is kicked by a player of the attacking team
• the ball is in play when it is kicked or touched
• the kicker must not touch the ball again until it has been played by or touched another player
Offences and sanctions
An indirect free kick is awarded if the player taking the corner kick touches the ball again before it has been played by or touched another player.
For any other offence the corner kick is retaken.
Where the playing area is surrounded by barricades, there are no corner kicks. When the ball leaves the field of play, play is restarted with a goal clearance, by the goalkeeper whose half of the field the ball was in when leaving the field of play.
Law 18 – Walking
Walking is defined as ‘always having at least one foot in contact with the ground’.
Offences and sanctions
• The referee will award an indirect free kick against any player who is not walking, unless there is a clear attacking opportunity for the team in possession, where advantage can be played and the offender sanctioned once play has stopped, or the advantage has not accrued.
• A player who is penalised three times for a walking offence will receive a blue card and are sin binned for a duration of between two and five minutes.
What is next for Walking Football from The FA?
The FA plans to utilise the revised Laws of the Game across its flagship Walking Football competition, The FA People’s Cup in early 2019.
Before that however the focus is upon a roll out of The FA’s new Walking Football referee course. This along with the revised Laws of the Game will drive consistency and help support provision of high quality competition at both a national and local level, setting the foundations for The FA’s wider competition review in the coming months.
Walking Football is the perfect sport for those who enjoy competitive team sports, but are finding it increasingly difficult to run around a pitch for ninety minutes.
While the sport has grown in popularity so too have the opportunities to get involved at all kinds of levels and in all kinds of ways.
Walking Football also provides a great chance to improve your all round fitness and keep some of the familiar physical aspects of ageing at bay for a few more years.
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