Rules For 11-A-Side


In general, standard soccer rules apply to all Ottawa Footy Sevens games, with the following exceptions or notes. The FIFA rules can be found here. (Laws of the Game 2020/2021)

General Rules 

  1. A game can end in a tie during the regular season.  Honestly, it does happen....  

League Format

The format of the league will vary depending on the number of teams involved and the skill levels of the teams.  In general, the format will be a league split into one or more divisions with playoffs for the final 1 or 2 weeks of the season.

There will be 3 points for a win, 1 for a draw and 0 for a loss. 

Teams tied on points at the end of the league portion will be ranked by the following: 

1. "Head to Head" encounters; 2. Goal Difference (+/-); 3. Goals Scored, and; 4. Goals Against. 

Equipment/Set-Up/Team Colours

Teams are comprised of 11 players (including goalie).

We recommend that all players wear suitable footwear such as indoor turf trainers or cleats (metal cleats are not allowed). Shin guards are mandatory. 

Team captains are responsible for making sure that all players on their team wear matching colours.  Team colours are chosen at the beginning of the season and are always visible in the league table and fixture list.  In the event of a colour clash, the home team (the team listed first on the fixture schedule) will get preference and the other team must bring an alternative colour ie The Away team must wear an alternate strip.  The game official may request that players not wearing the correct colours must leave the field of play and change if they deem it to be interfering with the game.  For future reference, black and white are not the same colour and grey is neither black nor white.

Co-Ed Requirements

For all Co-Ed games there must be a minimum of 4 male and 4 female players on the field of play at all times.  This requirement INCLUDES the goalkeeper (for example a team may play with three female player outfield and one in goal).  A team may play with just 3 male or 3 female player but must play short.

Captains may agree to waive these rules but this should be decided before the game starts and should be the exception and not the rule. 

Teams who can not meet the gender requirements or field a team of 7 players or more will forfeit the match.

Kick Off Times  / Default

Players should arrive sufficiently early so that games will start on time.  Games will start and end at the designated time and WILL NOT overrun because teams were late arriving.  A halftime break of 5 minutes for the 90 minute games and 3 minutes for the 60 minute games will occur and teams will optionally switch ends after the half.  Teams may waive the half time interval if they wish but both captains must agree and inform the referee. 

A default will occur if any team cannot field a squad by 10 minutes past the official start time or they are unable to meet the Co-Ed requirements to field a team.  Captains may agree to waive the rules regarding minimum players but this should be decided before the game starts.

Full Time Whistle / The End Of The Game

Games will normally end on the hour or half hour with the next game commencing a few minutes after.  Referees may, at their discretion let the game continue past the normal end time if there is currently a play in motion, so please (as with all rules) wait for the full time whistle.  


Player substitutions can be made at any stoppage, at the discretion of the referee. If the referee deems substitution(s) to be excessive, unsporting or used to delay or disrupt the match it will not be allowed. Please ensure that the player coming off has completely entered the team area before the new player joins the action and the change does not disrupt the flow of the game. Goalies cannot change on the fly - please wait for a stoppage in play before substituting goalies.  Unlike in the Europe, having a cigarette on the sidelines is not considered "substituting".


A handball will occur for contact anywhere below the shoulder if the referee deems it a deliberate movement or if a significant advantage was gained by using it.  The referee will allow the game to play if he deems it to be incidental, unintentional or of significant advantage to the team in possession of the ball, so always play to the whistle.

Women are allowed to protect their chest and men their family jewels.

Free Kicks

Free kicks will be both direct and in-direct, depending on the type of infringement. Please see the Laws of the Game for any rule clarification. 


Penalties will be awarded for handballs and fouls within the goalkeepers areas.  Penalties will be taken from the penalty spot (12 yards from goal).

Players that miss penalties should be immediately patted on the back and have the words "hard luck son it happens to the best of us" whispered in their ears with a modicum of condescension in the tone.  

Throw-ins / Corners / Kick-offs 

Throw-ins will be enforced. Throw-ins are in-direct. 

A goal may be be scored directly from a corner kick but NOT from a kick in from the side.

A goal may be scored directly from a goal kick or kick-off. 


They are the bigger guys with gloves, sometimes they have a screw loose.

  1. Goalies can use their hands ONLY when they are inside the 18-yard box.
  2. When inside the goal crease, a goalie CANNOT pick up a ball with his/her hands if the ball has been deliberately played back to the goalie by a player on his/her team. This includes all forms of passing and throw-ins. The only exception is if the player directs the ball back to the goalie with their head or chest - in this case the goalie CAN pick the ball up with his/her hands. A violation of this rule results in an indirect free kick for the other team at the spot where the goalie inappropriately used their hands.
  3. A goalie can "roam" as far from their goal as they want, but once outside their area, the goalie CANNOT use their hands at any time.

Fouls, Infringements and Punishments

An advantage may be applied to any given play, at the discretion of the referee.

Slide Tackling

Even if contact is made with the ball first, slide tackling is not allowed under any circumstances. As well, no players (with the exception of the goalie inside his area*) can slide to block a shot or pass at any time.  Sliding is permitted to reach a cross or to keep a ball in play but this must NEVER be done in close proximity to other players (common sense should prevail in these situations).

*Be aware that dangerous sliding challenges by the goalkeeper may be called, at the discretion of the referee, if deemed to reckless, excessive or endangering the safety of an opponent. 


To score a goal, the ENTIRE ball must pass over the goal line.  The referee will have the final say on any disputes.


If a game needs to be recorded as a forfeit (such as not being able to make the game etc), then a 3-0 score will be awarded to the other team.


Off-sides will be enforced. 

Yellow & Red Cards

A yellow and red card system will be in place to issue punishments to players for various offences.  The rules governing which cards are issued under which circumstances are listed (but not limited to) those below.

Yellow Card (Cautionable Offences) - The referee issues a yellow card for reckless fouls and for the following offences:

(a) Deliberate Handball or Handball by a Goalkeeper (unless denying a clear goalscoring opportunity); (b) Goalkeeper Endangerment; (c) Unsporting Behaviour by a player or non-player personnel; (d) Continued or aggressive abuse toward the referee; (e) Provoking Altercation: Making physical contact with an opponent (e.g., pushing or poking), short of fighting, or using the ball in so doing.

Red Card (Ejectionable Offences) - A person receives a red card for fouls and offences described directly above, which the referee considers violent or use of excessive force, and for:

(a) 2nd Yellow Card; (b) Elbowing: Intentionally elbowing an opponent above the shoulder; (c) Vicious Slide Tackling: A tackle from the side or from behind directly into one or both legs of an opponent, seriously endangering him; (d) Fighting; (e) Leaving Team Bench or Penalty Area to engage in a fracas or confrontation with the opposition or a Game Official; (f) Extreme Unsporting Behaviour: Committing particularly despicable behaviour, including: (g) Spitting at an opponent or any other person; (h) Persistent use of extremely abusive language or behaviour toward a Game Official; (i) Bodily contact with a Game Official in dissent; (j) Deliberate handball or foul that denies a clear goalscoring opportunity.

Time Penalties - There will be no time penalties for cautions, however, in the event of a red card:

(a) Red Card: Team must play short for the remainder of the game with the offending player being ejected:  any player receiving a Red Card will take no further part in the game and will, depending on the circumstances, be banned from a number of subsequent games or dismissed from the league entirely.

If a team has fielded a team with the minimum amount of players required (ie. 7) and has a player dismissed, an automatic forfeit will be called. 

Playoff Games

If a playoff game ends in a tie:

  1. The game goes immediately to penalty kicks. No extra time or golden goal will be played.
  2. The referee will decide which net is used for the penalty kicks.
  3. Which team shoots first is decided by a coin-toss. The team that wins the toss chooses whether to shoot first or second.
  4. Each team will take three penalty kicks.
  5. Each team must alternate between male and female shooters. (e.g. if a male kicks the first penalty, the team’s second penalty must be taken by a female and so on)
  6. The goalkeeper who was in goal when the final whistle went must remain in goals for the penalties (a serious injury is the only exception).
  7. If the game is still tied after three penalties each, the teams will continue to take sudden death penalties until one team scores and the other misses, Both teams must take an equal number of penalties.
  8. A male player cannot take a 2nd penalty until every male in the team has taken one. The same rule applies to female players.



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