Junior Football in Cairns and Districts

Small-Sided Football
Instructing Referee Under 8, 9, 10 & 11

Under 8-11 age group

The main role of the instructing referee is to control the game to ensure it is played fluently and instruct and correct the players (with minimal blowing of the whistle) on how to behave and what the rules are, e.g. what a foul is, what a free kick is and how to throw in etc... Should these indiscretions happen a second time the referee should stop the game and apply the appropriate action and decisions. This person can be a club official, capable parent, older child or player, beginning or official referee from the federation or association.

The basic laws and playing conditions:
  • Number of players
    Under 8 & 9 – 7 players per side (including goalkeeper)
    Under 10 & 11 – 9 players per side (including goalkeeper)
  • Field Size
    Under 8 & 9 – Length: 40m - 50m / Width: 30m x 40m
    Under 10 & 11 – Length: 60m - 70m / Width: 40m - 50m
  • Penalty area
    Rectangular – 5m depth x 12m width
  • Ball size
    Under 8 & 9 – Size 3
    Under 10 & 11 – Size 4
  • Duration of game
    Under 8 & 9 – 2 x 20 minutes (half time break 5 minutes)
    Under 10 & 11 – 2 x 25 minutes (half time break 7.5 minutes)
  • Start of play & re-start after a goal
    Pass forward to a team mate from the middle of the half way line. All players must be in their own half of the field of play. Opponents must be at least 5m away from the ball until it is in play. The ball must touch a team mate before a goal can be scored.
  • Ball crossing the touch line
    Throw in. Opponents must be at least 5m away from the ball until it is in play.
  • Ball crossing the goal line after touching defending team last
    Corner kick. - Opponents must be at least 5m away from the ball until it is in play.
  • Ball crossing the goal line after touching attacking team last
    Goal kick from anywhere within the penalty area. Opponents remain at least 5m outside the penalty area until the ball is in play. The ball is in play once it is kicked directly out of the penalty area.
  • Goalkeepers
    The goalkeeper is allowed to handle the ball anywhere in the penalty area. To restart play after a save or gathering the ball with their hands, the goalkeeper is not allowed to kick or drop kick the ball directly from their hands. The ball must be thrown or rolled from the hands or played from the ground with their feet, within 6 seconds. Opponents must be at least 5m outside the penalty area and cannot move inside the penalty area until the ball is in play. The ball is in play once it moves out of the penalty area.
  • Offside
    No offside
  • Fouls and misconduct
    Indirect free kicks are awarded for all acts of handball or fouls and misconduct with opponents at least 5m away from the ball. (An indirect free kick is where a goal can be scored only if the ball subsequently touches another player before it enters the goal). For deliberate or serious acts of handball or fouls and misconduct in the penalty area, a penalty kick is awarded from an 8m penalty mark with only a goalkeeper in position. All other players must be outside the penalty area and be at least 5m behind the penalty mark.

The instructing referee should:-

  • Encourage all children to have fun and different children to take re-starts.
  • Ensure the correct numbers of players are on the field.
  • Discourage players from permanently standing in blatant offside positions and instruct them to move into onside positions. In the Under 10 & 11 age groups children should be made aware of the offside rule during training and be encouraged to adopt this philosophy during the game at all times.
  • Ensure team officials and parents create a safe, enjoyable and positive playing environment for the children and do not emphasise winning or losing


Yorkeys IGA, Yorkeys Football Club Sponsor

Small-Sided Football

SSF For Parents
  Under 6 & 7 laws  
  Under 8 & 9 laws  
  Under 10 & 11 laws  
SSF Game Leader
Instructing Referee

The Small-Sided Game


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