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Unique 5’s League Rules and regulations


The following is a comprehensive list of rules and regulations relating to the playing of 5 a-side

football at Unique Fitness and Lifestyle

In particular these rules relate to:

  1. The Terms and Conditions for playing
  2. The Laws of the game.
  3. The Discipline Procedures.

The Terms and conditions for playing

1.0 The Playing area.

1.1 The pitch must be rectangular. The length of the touchline must be greater than the length of the goal line.


  • Minimum 25m
  • Maximum 50m


  • Minimum 16.5m
  • Maximum 35m

1.2 The centre mark is indicated at the midpoint of the pitch.

1.3 The pitch is surrounded by barriers, which shall mark the boundaries of the pitch.

1.4 Goals must be placed in the centre of the two smaller boundaries.

1.5 They consist of two upright posts equidistant from each corner and joined at the top by a horizontal crossbar.

1.6 The distance (inside measurement) between the posts is maximum 5m, minimum 3m and the distance from the lower edge of the crossbar to the ground is maximum 2m, minimum 1.2m

1.7 Both goalposts and crossbar have the same width and depths of 8cm. Nets, made of hemp, jute or nylon, and are attached to the posts and crossbars behind the goals.

1.8 The goals may be portable but must be anchored securely to the ground.

1.9 The playing surface must be flat and even and may be of artificial material.

1.10 The ball is: Spherical, made of leather or other suitable material and of a size appropriate to the age group playing.

1.11 If the ball bursts or becomes defective: the match is stopped, the ball replaced and play recommences with a drop from where the first ball became defective.

2.0 Unique 5’s League

2.1 Each 5-a-side Division will consist of a minimum of six and a maximum of twelve clubs.

2.2 A league season will normally constitute each team in the division playing each other twice; smaller divisions may operate a different procedure to enable all divisions to finish at the same


2.3 Three points shall be awarded for a win, one for a draw and no points for a loss.

2.4 League position shall be decided by: a) Total points b) Goal difference c) Goals scored

3.0 Team Entry

3.1 Teams may be entered by the team organiser completing the prescribed league application form

and player registration forms and paying the “registration fee”

3.2 Registration fees for the following season must be paid a minimum of 1 week before the first game to secure their place. A receipt will be issued for all registration fees paid.

3.3 No team owing money will be allowed to start the season or enter a new season. Records are kept of all money owed.

3.4 Team organisers must sign the league agreement form, noting the liability disclaimers contained within. Failure to sign the form will result in the team being withdrawn from the league.

4.0 Player registration and availability

4.1 All players must be registered with Unique Fitness and lifestyle on the appropriate forms.

4.2 All players in adult leagues must be a minimum of 16 years of age and the team organiser must a minimum of 16 years of age.

4.3 All teams may register a minimum of 5 and a maximum of 12 players that can be used per season. Teams may add to their squad during a season as long as the number of players does not exceed

a total of 12. All players must be registered at reception by the team organiser prior to the commencement of play.

4.4 Eight players may be selected from the team squad for each match, 5 players and three substitutes.

4.5 Players once registered for a particular team for a season may not transfer to another team in the same division.

4.6 Any team found with unregistered or suspended players on the field will have the match awarded to the opposition with a 10-0 score line; there will be no re-imbursement of match fee.

4.7 Any team found to be falsifying team sheets will have the match points awarded to the opposition with a 10-0 score line.

4.8 A breach of player registration or suspension rules entitles the opposing team to claim a 10-0 victory. Unique Fitness and Lifestyle may award a 10-0 forfeit whether the opposing team claim victory or not. Unique Fitness and Lifestyle reserves the right to deduct additional points if it suspects teams are deliberately attempting to gain an advantage, by playing unregistered or suspended players, they may also expel teams from the league if persistent breaches occur.

5.0 Prior to a League fixture

5.1 The team organiser must pay the match fee at reception. On doing so they will receive the match team folder and are responsible for nominating the maximum 8 players to take part in the match.

5.2 The Match referee will not commence any game until he/she has received both teams match tickets and score sheets.

6.0 Cancellations, Postponements and Re-arrangements

6.1 All games are to be played as per the original fixture list unless one of the following exceptions applies:

i) Adverse weather conditions making the pitches unplayable. Any decision to cancel the game can only be made by a member of Unique Fitness and Lifestyle Management. All games will be re-arranged by Unique Fitness and Lifestyle staff within an appropriate time scale.

ii) Public Holiday, if the branch is closed, games will be re-arranged by Unique Fitness and Lifestyle. All rearrangements will be verified with the team organiser and once agreed will be final. If the branch is not closed, games will be as scheduled.

6.2 Postponements are not allowed, except in exceptional circumstances and at the discretion of Unique Fitness and Lifestyle.

6.3 Cancellations are not allowed.

7.0 League Replacements and withdrawals

7.1 If a league team pulls out or is removed at any point in the season, Unique Fitness and Lifestyle will attempt to replace them from teams on the standby list. The new team will inherit the points total and league position of the team they are replacing up to week 10, thereafter the matches will be awarded 10-0, but a friendly match must be played for the opposing team to gain these points, it is not automatic. If Unique Fitness and Lifestyle cannot replace the team immediately, all scheduled fixtures in the meantime will be awarded to the opposition by a score of 10-0, as well as 3 points. The results of matches involving the exiting team prior to their departure will stand.

7.2 Any team withdrawing from the league will be billed their team fee for the league games they are failing to fulfil, for the remainder of the season, or until their place in that league has been filled.

8.0 Payment

8.1 Teams are required to fulfil all fixtures and are liable to pay the fee whether the game is played or not. Failure to turn up for the game will result in the team being subject to the following conditions and payment regulations.

i) If a team fails to turn up for any scheduled game or rearrangement the game will be declared a forfeit win to the opposition, 3 points and a 10-0 result. No exceptions.

ii) The team who cancelled or failed to turn up will either be billed the cost of their team's match fee, or at the discretion of the Branch Manager, be billed for both teams match fees.

iii) The Match fee must be re-paid within 5 days.

iv) Failure to make payment will result in a team being removed from the league (see league replacements and withdrawals)

v) Any debts owed by a team will be subject to debt collection in the name of the team organiser.

vi) Finally, should a game be abandoned at any stage with neither team at fault, a full-length replay with scores starting at 0-0 shall decide the match. The fees paid for the original match will be retained and the replay arranged free of charge.

9.0 Behaviour

9.1 Any player caught consuming alcohol prior to a league game or thought to be under the influence of drugs, prescription or otherwise will not be permitted to play and risks having the game abandoned.

9.2 Unique Fitness and Lifestyle can prevent anyone entering the premises if they think their behaviour or appearance is unsuitable. 

9.3 Players must show consideration for other people in the premises. Unique Fitness and Lifestyle will not tolerate rude or abusive language or the threat or use of violence towards other guests or its staff.

9.4 Racial Abuse and/or acts of Discrimination will not be tolerated, any person(s) found to be engaging in such actions will be served a Life Ban from all Unique Fitness and Lifestyle Establishments

9.5 Players must obey notices and signs on display in the premises. Players and their guests should ensure that their children or other junior members under their supervision keep to the rules displayed at all times whilst on the premises. Players are responsible for the behaviour and actions of their children at all times whilst they are on the premises or using the facilities.

9.6 Unless the child is attending an organised Unique Fitness and Lifestyle activity, children under 16 must be supervised at all times whilst on the premises by a Parent or guardian.

9.7 All teams will be responsible for supporters of their team, whether team members or not. Exclusion from the league will result for teams whose supporters consistently cause a nuisance. Referees have the authority to remove any unruly supporters from the pitch side, or if necessary abandon the game.

9.8 If a supporter is guilty of verbal abuse toward either the referee or the opposing team, the game will be stopped and will not continue until the individual is in the building. Should the abuse continue then the game will be awarded to the opposition with a 10-0 score line.

9.9 Any individual threatening to harm or inflicting harm on any Referee or Member of Unique Fitness and Lifestyle Staff, will not only receive a life ban from all Unique Fitness and Lifestyle sites, but the incident will also be reported to all relevant National associations, who have the power to enforce a ban from all forms of competitive football. The Police will also be involved.

10.0 Health & Safety

10.1 Shin Pads must be worn at all times during the game (including goalkeepers).

10.2 Footwear must be either: Astro-boots or Trainers. Soft rubber moulded boots may be used on Rubber Crumb surfaces, however on sand based pitches, Rubber Moulded Boots, Screw-in studs and Blades are not permitted. Please check with your local centre.

10.3 Jewellery must be removed or taped up during matches (including goalkeepers).

10.4 In the event of a fire, players and guests should make their way calmly to the nearest clearly marked exit.

10.5 Crockery and glass are not to be taken into changing areas or onto the pitches.

10.6 Smoking is not permitted in the premises.

10.7 Pets are not allowed on the premises or grounds (with the exception of guide dogs).

11.0 Lockers

11.1 Pitch fees do not cover the cost of lockers. Lockers require a padlock, players can bring their own fairly big sized padlock from home or Unique Fitness and Lifestyle will sell them for £2.50, the price of the lock is non-returnable and the lock is then yours to keep.

11.2 Any property stored in lockers is done so entirely at the hirer’s risk. Unique Fitness and Lifestyle has no responsibility.

11.3 Unique Fitness and Lifestyle is not responsible for any items removed from lockers that have been left behind.


12.0 Lost property

12.1 Any item of lost property found should be handed to Unique Fitness and Lifestyle Reception. Items found will be available for collection between 6:30am and 10pm Monday-Friday and between 9:00am and 5:00pm at weekends. Unique Fitness and Lifestyle will retain lost items for 6 weeks maximum, thereafter they may be given to charity.

13.0 Parking

13.1 Players and guests may park in the car park at the side of the building after 5:30pm, and at any time at the weekends. If the car park at the side is full there is a larger car park through a barrier, if you press the intercom security will open the gate for you and on the way out as well.

13.2 Motorbikes or scooters are not permitted beside the pitches and must be parked in the car park or designated area.

13.3 The University Of Bradford reserves the right to clamp or remove vehicles parked outside designated areas, or parked in disabled spaces when not entitled.

13.4 Unique Fitness and Lifestyle accepts no responsibility for any loss or damage (howsoever caused) to players or guest’s vehicles whilst on our premises.

14.0 Telephone calls

14.1 Unique Fitness and Lifestyle may record phone calls between players, their guests and members of staff.

15.0 CCTV

15.1 The Unique Fitness and Lifestyle premises are covered by CCTV cameras and activity is recorded 24 hours a day.

16.0 Liability

16.1 Unique Fitness and Lifestyle liability for damage or loss to user property is strictly limited to any damage or loss suffered as a result of Unique Fitness and Lifestyle negligence. With this exception Unique Fitness and Lifestyle will not accept liability for the safety of users personal property brought on to the premises. Any property stored in lockers is done so entirely at the user’s risk. Vehicles parked on Unique Fitness and Lifestyle property and all contents contained within are also at the owner’s risk.

16.2 Unique Fitness and Lifestyle staff are expressly forbidden to hold valuables (including locker keys) of any kind on behalf of players. Unique Fitness and Lifestyle does not accept responsibility for any goods or items left within or in the care of its staff.

16.3 Unique Fitness and Lifestyle cannot accept any liability for any accident or injury to any member, child or user that may happen on the premises or within the grounds of the premises, other than liability that arises from Unique Fitness and Lifestyle’s negligence. If any member (or other user) suffers an accident or injury whilst on the premises, it, and its circumstances must be reported immediately to the Duty Manager.

17.0 Physical Activity

17.1 Five-a-side is a vigorous sport and players and their guests should only undertake the activity to a level, which reflects their level of fitness. Players and their guests are responsible for monitoring their own condition during play. Unique Fitness and Lifestyle will not be responsible for any harm you may suffer as a result of taking part in any activity on our premises unless it is caused by our negligence.

17.2 If any player or guest suffers any unusual reaction to playing or feels unwell, they must immediately:

i) Stop the activity.

ii) Report it to the Duty Manager.

The Laws of the Game

LAW 1. The number of players.

A match is played between two teams, consisting of a maximum of 5 players, one of whom is the goalkeeper.

The minimum number of players permitted is 5, one of whom must be the goalkeeper. 

Up to 8 players only may be named for a match.

If any team is reduced to 3 players due to misconduct, the game will be awarded to their opponents with a score of 10-0. A reduction to 3 players means a permanent reduction through sending off, not temporarily two players in the sin bin. Where 3 players are sent to the sin bin at the same time then the game will be awarded to their opponents with a score of 10-0.

Substitution Procedure.

The maximum amount of substitutes permitted is three. The number of substitutions made during a match is unlimited. A player who has been replaced may return to the pitch as a substitute for another player.

Substitutions can only take place during a break in play, when the ball is deemed “dead” by the referee.

The player entering the playing area must wait until the player being substituted has left the pitch.

The player entering the playing area immediately becomes ‘active’ in play.

Changing places with the Goalkeeper

Any of the other outfield players or substitutes may change places with the goalkeeper. There is no restriction to the amount of times the goalkeeper may be changed but the following conditions must

be observed:

i) The referee must be informed before the change is made

ii) The change can only be made during a stoppage in play

iii) The referee is satisfied there is no intention to deliberately time waste.

iv) The replacement goalkeeper must wear a jersey which distinguishes him/her from all other players.

Infringements/Sanctions relating to this law

If whilst a substitution is being made, a substitute enters the pitch and play resumes before the departing player has completely left the field:

i) The play will be stopped.

ii) The player being replaced is instructed to leave the pitch.

iii) Play is restarted by the award of an indirect free kick, to the opposing team from the place where the ball was situated when the game was stopped. However if the ball was inside the penalty area then a free kick will be awarded to the opposition on the penalty line nearest to the position of the ball when play was stopped.

iv) If a player repeatedly offends he/she may be sin binned or with further infringements, sent off, at the discretion of the referee.

LAW 2. Players Equipment.


A player must not use equipment or wear anything that is dangerous to himself  or another player.

Jewellery must be removed or taped up, this includes Goalkeepers wearing gloves who should remove rings or tape them up.

Basic equipment

The basic compulsory equipment of a player is:

a) A jersey or shirt, the Goalkeepers shirt should distinguish himself from the other outfield players.

b) Shorts or track suit bottoms

c) Socks

d) Shin guards must be worn. They should be covered entirely by the socks and be made of a suitable material that offers a reasonable degree of protection.

e) Footwear must be either: Astro-boots or Trainers. Soft rubber moulded boots may be used on Rubber Crumb surfaces, however on sand based pitches, Rubber Moulded Boots, Screw-in studs and Blades are not permitted.

If teams have a similar colour, style of jersey, bibs will be assigned to one team to avoid confusion.

Infringements/Sanctions relating to this law

The referee is instructed not to allow any game to take place where the player or players are not properly attired. This includes all the above. If the player or players are unable to wear the correct equipment then, in such cases the game will be awarded to the opposition 10-0 and the team infringing will forfeit its match fee.

Players that can correct their equipment will be instructed to leave the field of play and do so. They may not return to the pitch without first checking with the referee that their equipment is now correct. This must take place during a stoppage in play.

LAW 3. 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 to which he/she has been appointed, from the moment he/she enters the locality where the pitch is situated until he/she leaves.

Powers and duties

The Referee:

i) Enforces the Laws of the Game

ii) 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 the time.

iii) Keeps a record of the match and provides the appropriate authorities with a match report 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.

iv) Acts as a timekeeper

v) Stops, suspends or terminates matches for any infringement of the Laws or due to any kind of outside interference

vi) Takes disciplinary action against players guilty of cautionable or sending off offences.

vii) Takes action against team officials or supporters who fail to conduct themselves in a responsible manner and may at his/her discretion expel them from the playing area and its immediate surrounds, or if necessary abandon the game. 

viii) Ensures that no unauthorised persons enter the pitch

ix) Stops the match if, in his/her opinion, a player is seriously injured and ensures he/she is removed from the pitch

x) Ensures that any player bleeding from a wound leaves the playing area

xi) Allows play to continue until the ball is dead, if a player is, in his/her opinion only slightly injured.

xii) Ensures the ball used conforms to Unique Fitness and Lifestyle requirements.

xiii) Makes use of timed suspensions to temporarily exclude players guilty of infringements of the laws.

xiv) Makes excluded players aware of the end of their period of suspension.

Decisions of the Referee

In matters pertaining to a specific game, the refereeing of the game and application of the rules during that game, the referee’s decision will be final.

LAW 4. Start of Play


The choice of ends is decided by a toss of the coin, the team winning the toss will have choice of ends; the team losing the toss will have kick off.

Kick off

A kick off is a way of starting or restarting play:

  • At the start of a match
  • After a goal has been scored
  • At the start of the second half of the match

A goal may be scored direct from a kick-off. There must be no second touch by the initial kicker.


  • All players must be in their own half of the field
  • The opponents of the team taking the kick-off are at least 1m from the ball until it is played.
  • The ball is stationary on the centre mark
  • The referee gives a signal
  • The ball is in play when it is kicked forward
  • The kicker may not touch the ball a second time until it has touched another player.
  • After a team scores the other team takes the kick-off.

Infringements/Sanctions relating to this Law

If the kicker touches the ball a second time before it has touched another player:

An indirect free kick is awarded to the opposing team to be taken from the place where the infringement occurred. For any other infringement of the kick-off procedure the kick is retaken.

Dropped Ball

A dropped ball is a way of restarting the game after a temporary stoppage


  • The referee drops the ball at the place where it was located 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 throwing the ball underarm from any point within the penalty area.
  • Play restarts when the ball touches the ground.
  • If the drop ball is required near the kickboards then the referee shall drop the ball at least 2m from the boards in the appropriate place.

Infringements/Sanctions relating to this rule

The ball is dropped again:

If it is touched by another player before it makes contact with the ground.

If the ball leaves the playing area after it makes contact with the ground without a player touching it.

LAW 5. The Ball in and out of play.

Ball out of play

The ball is out of play when:

  • It has wholly crossed the goal line or becomes caught in the catch netting surrounding the pitch, whether on the ground or in the air.
  • It hits the netting or kickboards directly behind the goal, in the area equal to the width of the goal and in a direct line extending upwards.
  • Play has been stopped by the referee
  • If it leaves the confines of the pitch.


In the event of the ball being out of play due to a goal being scored the opposing team will restart the game via a kick-off.

If the ball becomes caught in the catch netting the referee may restart the game by use of a drop ball at the nearest point to where the incident occurred and at least 2m from the boards.

If the ball hits the netting or kickboards directly behind the goal in the area equal to the width of the goal and in a direct line extending upwards, whether it goes above head height or not the ball will be returned to the goalkeeper to restart play.

If the ball leaves the confines of the pitch the ball will be returned to play via the nearest goalkeeper.

Ball in play

The ball is in play at all other times including when:

  • It rebounds from a goal post, crossbar, roof or kickboards.
  • It rebounds from the referee when on the pitch.

Head height

The ball must not travel above “head height” this is defined as 6ft, regardless of the height of the referee or any other player.

Heading the ball is not permitted.

Infringements and sanctions relating to “head height”

If the ball travels above “head height” then the game will be restarted by the award of an indirect free kick to the opposing team from the point where the ball began to rise.

LAW 6. The method of scoring.

Goal scored

Except otherwise provided by these laws, a goal is scored when the whole of the ball passes over the goal line, between the posts and under the crossbar, unless it has been thrown, carried or intentionally propelled by the hand or arm by a player of the attacking side, the goalkeeper included.

A goal may be scored from any point outside the goal area and within the field of play. The only exception is that the goalkeepers may not score in their opponent’s goal.

Winning Team

The team scoring the greater number of goals during the match is the winner, provided no disciplinary matters preclude them. If both teams score an equal number of goals or if no goals are scored, the match is drawn.

LAW 7. Offside

There is no offside.

LAW 8. Fouls & Misconduct

Fouls and misconduct are penalised as follows:

Direct free kick

A direct free kick is awarded to the opposing team if a player commits any of the following offences in a manner considered by the referee to be careless, reckless or using excessive force:

  • Kicks or attempts to kick an opponent
  • Trips or attempts to trip an opponent
  • Jumps at an opponent
  • Charges an opponent, even with the shoulder
  • Strikes or attempts to strike an opponent
  • Pushes an opponent
  • Forces a player into the boards

A direct free kick is also awarded to the opposing team if a player commits any of the following offences:

  • Holds an opponent
  • Spits at an opponent
  • Makes a sliding tackle
  • Handles the ball deliberately (except for the goalkeeper)
  • When the ball is played into the corners of the pitch the defending player must allow the ball player to take the ball out unhindered, the ball player will only have no more than 5 seconds to return the ball to play.
  • A direct free kick is awarded from the place where the infringement occurred.
  • A player may not stand closer than 1m from the ball when defending a free kick.
  • Free kicks must be taken 2m from kickboards or goal areas.

Penalty Kick

A penalty kick is awarded in the following circumstances:

  • If a player deliberately enters his own goalkeeper’s area to play the ball or, runs through it to gain an advantage (i.e.: quicker route to the ball).
  • A goalkeeper deliberately leaves his penalty area to play the ball (if his momentum carries him out after playing the ball inside his area, this does not warrant an infringement).

Only outfield players are permitted to take penalty kicks during the game (except in competitions when local rules may apply).

The Penalty must be taken using the “one step” rule.

Indirect Free Kick

An indirect free kick is awarded to the opposing team if a goalkeeper commits one of the following offences:

  • Returns the ball to play with anything other than an underarm bowling action.
  • It is an offence for the goalkeeper to make a deliberate passing/kicking motion to play the ball, if the match referee deems it a block with no deliberate passing action the game should continue.
  • Retains possession of the ball for more than 6 seconds before returning it to play.
  • Receives the ball back directly from the same player he initially passed to, without it first touching at least one other player.

An indirect free kick is also awarded to the opposing team in the following circumstances, if in the opinion of the referee:

  • A player plays in a dangerous manner
  • A player deliberately impedes the progress of an opponent when the ball is not being played
  • An attacking player deliberately enters the opposing goalkeeper’s area, either to play the ball or, to gain an advantage (i.e.: quicker route to the ball).
  • The ball travels above “head height”.
  • Commits any other offence, not previously mentioned, for which play is stopped to caution or dismiss a player.

The indirect free kick is taken from the place where the infringement occurred, unless the infringement is by the goalkeeper in which case it will be taken 2 metres from goal area at the nearest point to where the infringement took place.