Primary Rules


For your advice and assistance, the following guidelines:

  1. One of the main aims of the Scottish schools Football Association in its small sided games is to promote good attitude towards the game of football, and to try to improve playing skills. Above all, playing football MUST be an enjoyable experience for all our players no matter how skillful or successful they are.
  2. Home teams are responsible for making the arrangements for the game, i.e. booking pitch, checking team colours, arranging referee. Home teams should contact their opponents at least 3 days before the fixture, i.e. No later than Wednesday for Saturday matches and Monday for Thursday games.
  3. Teams should make every effort to fulfill scheduled fixtures. If a cancellation is unavoidable, please let your opponents know in plenty time.
  4. Results should be reported in to myself, the Primary Match Secretary.
  5. Both teams should take a ball to the match (size 4)
  6. You are expected to use the correct size of pitch (max 65m x 45m) and goals (5m x 2m) for your matches
  7. All players MUST wear shin pads., Metal studs are suitable for grass fields only, Glasses MUST have safety frames and lenses
  8. In the spirit of fairness, try to avoid any team running up a very large score against their opponents. A team winning by 3 or 4 goals should invite the opposition to add a player and another after a further 2 or 3 goals. It would be nice to avoid a team winning by double figures. The ref could also negotiate shortening the game if the addition of players is making no difference.
  9. Team Representatives will be held responsible for the good behavior of all players in their teams and any accompanying adults. Representatives are reminded that while players should receive encouragement, the formal coaching of players is discouraged.

Game / Match Rules

  1. All games are 7 a side for both boys and girls. With rolling substitutions. All substitutes MUST PLAY at some point in the game.
  2. Games are 20 mins each half, unless Reps agree before starting to a shorter game.
  3. There will be no offside in play and all freekicks direct
  4. When the ball goes out of play at the sidelines a throw-in will be awarded, usual SFA rules apply re feet and ball behind head etc
  5. The game shall be started, or restarted after a goal with a centre ball. The game shall be re-started with a goal kick or corner kick (as appropriate) if the ball goes out of play behind the goals. Goalkeepers may kick or throw out the ball as preferred but not into opponents half of the field. Infringement of this rule will result in an indirect free kick on the half way line. The opposing team must retreat to their own half of the field. In normal play when the goalkeeper takes possession of the ball he or she should move it on quickly. The retreat rule does not need to be applied.

Code of Conduct for Adults Involved in Primary School Teams

  1. Players should be encouraged at all times
  2. Players must be allowed to make mistakes, without receiving criticism from adults. Players can learn a lot from their mistakes and therefore should be allowed to make their own decisions about what to do during the course of a game.
  3. Refereeing is a very difficult job and we must accept that there will be times when referees will make mistakes. Adults must avoid the temptation to criticize referees. The referee’s decision is final, right or wrong.
  4. Adults must remember that children play football because it is something they enjoy doing. Children’s participation and enjoyment are more important than winning.
  5. Leagues are organized purely as a means to giving everyone a game to play each week.
  6. Whenever possible, adults should try to avoid any team running up a large score against their opponents. This could be done by allowing the losing team to play an extra player, or by shortening the game.

Adults attending Primary games have a big responsibility

They should
  • Set a good example to their players
  • Highlight and applaud good play by both teams
  •  Emphasise good sportsmanship
  • Be patient and supportive
They should not
  • Instruct / coach players during the game
  • Criticize players who make mistakes
  • Dispute refereeing decisions
  • Place too much emphasis on results
At the end of every game
  • There should be applause for both teams
  • Players should shake hands
  • The referee and match organizers should be thanked for their time and effort