Small Sided Disciplinary Regulations

Small –Sided Football is 5, 6 and 7-a-side games but not Mini-Soccer or Futsal. For a list of Small Sided providers please see the related documents. Over 1.24 million adults play Small Sided Football every week in over 28000 organised Small Sided Football teams (Sport England Active People Survey 2010). As a consequence Small Sided Football is now the largest form of the recreational game. The FA have developed this disciplinary process to accommodate the varied and different needs of Small Sided Football. The FA recognise that applying the same disciplinary processes to Small Sided Football as it does in 11v11 football does not satisfactorily meet the differing demands of this version of the game. However, this does not mean that The FA takes ill-discipline in Small Sided Football any less seriously.



A BLUE card offence

A blue card offence should always be accompanied by a temporary suspension from play.


The period of timed suspension in Small Sided Football shall be two minutes. The release of players from a temporary suspension should be at the direction of the Referee or a Match Official if one is available.



Temporary Timed Suspensions – Procedures

A player temporarily suspended from play will be shown a blue card by the match official and informed that he/she shall be suspended from play for two minutes.


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 rejoin the game.  Where barricades are used the players must use the opening onto the playing area.

Temporary Timed Suspensions



A player is shown the blue card and temporarily excluded from play if he commits any of the following offences:


C1 is guilty of unsporting behaviour

C2 shows dissent by word or action

C3 persistently infringes the Laws of the Game

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 infringes the substitution procedure

C7 deliberately leaves the playing area without the referee’s permission outside of a substitution


For any of these offences, an indirect free kick is awarded to the opposing team, to be taken from the place where the infringement occurred.  If the offence was committed within the penalty area the indirect free kick is taken from the penalty area line at the place nearest to where the infringement occurred. 



Exception to the use of ‘Blue Cards’ and Temporary Timed Suspensions


The only exception to the use of ‘Blue Cards’ and Temporary Timed Suspensions is in facilities where if a player is excluded for two 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 pitch. This might be the case in an enclosed sports hall or in a complex of caged pitches. In such circumstances safety considerations requires the Referee to employ the use of yellow cards, with all players remaining on the pitch unless excluded permanently. In this situation normal disciplinary sanctions will apply after the game as per the competition rules. If 2 yellow cards are given to an individual the player will be shown a red card and dismissed.  


RED Card Offences are separated into two categories:

Less Serious Red Card Offences

These are defined as:




(to be administered by Small Sided Provider)

Receiving a second ‘blue card’ in the same match

1 Match suspension

Denying a goal or an obvious goal scoring opportunity

1 Match suspension

Use of offensive, insulting or abusive gestures

2 Match suspension

Attempting to kick or strike another player

Violent Conduct

Serious Foul Play

3 Match suspension


Serious Red Card Offences

Offences that occur that do not fit in the category above.

The match was abandoned will my caution or sending off now be rescinded?

No, the match abandonment will be dealt with separately where in consultation with the Referee and League the County F.A will establish the reasons for the match being abandoned and deal with that appropriately.  No matter what the outcome any cautions, standard or misconduct charges that is sent to the club must be responded to in the manner requested.

This also applies to player who has moved to another club and in circumstances where the club/team resign from the League or Competition whether the offending or opposition club/team.

How long have I got to request a Personal Hearing?

14 days from the date of the letter. This is usually defined under the letter date under reply due date. If the reply is not received by the date specified as per the Memorandum of Procedures the player will forfeit a right to a Personal Hearing or to make a plea for leniency.

Extract from the Memorandum

When the provisions above are not complied with, the player’s right to a Personal Hearing or to make a plea for leniency is forfeited and the Commission may deal with the reported misconduct on such evidence as is available.


It is advisable to use the fax or scan and e-mail facility if you are nearing the deadline to ensure they arrive within the 14 days, we cannot as stated above accept late requests for Hearings after the 14 day deadline.

Recorded delivery 1st or second also know as signed for – usually an orange coloured label

This service does not offer a guaranteed time of delivery by the Royal Mail and they recommend that senders allow 2 weeks for any delivery.

Special delivery - usually a blue and silver label

This service offers a before 9:00am and a next day service to senders which will be requested when completing the form. It is advisable that post sent using this service on a Saturday should be confirmed with the Post Office to its date of arrival.

The Referee never showed me the appropriate card have I got a case?

If a referee omits to show the appropriate card when taking action against a player, this does not nullify the caution or sending-off offence.  However, the attention of the referee should be drawn to the correct procedure.


What is a sine die suspension?

Sine die is a Latin term for indefinitely, if you have been placed under a sine die it could be for various reasons, it is advisable to contact us immediately if you are not aware of why you have been placed under a sine die suspension by this Association.

What is an Interim Suspension?

An interim suspension is normally issued by the County F.A when an allegation of assault on another Participant or Match Official has been brought to the attention of the County F.A and they are satisfied that there is a prima facie case to be made. The County F.A will make every effort to contact the club and inform them of the interim suspension as soon as the decision has been made. This suspension will be from all footballing activities until the case has been dealt with.

The Interim Suspension Order can also be applied when the Club Official or Player has been charged by the Affiliated Association in relation to an alleged act of serious misconduct, or with a criminal offence, or by a League sanctioned by the Affiliated Association or the Football Association in connection with disciplinary action pursuant to relevant regulations of the League.


As soon as reasonably practicable notification of an Interim Suspension Order shall be advised to the Player and/or the Club and will be lifted when the charge of misconduct is dealt with by a Commission or the criminal charges are withdrawn or found not to have been proved.


I have not paid a fine and now it has increased?

If the fine is not paid within the deadline specified on the initial letter it is likely to increase as per the Memorandum of Procedures. The Lancashire F.A will be happy to advise you accordingly when these matters arise and you will be given the opportunity to write to the Discipline Chairman to explain the reasons for non-compliance. Upon receipt of this the Discipline Chairman and colleagues will consider the compliance issues in accordance with the Memorandum of Procedures.

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