Small-Sided Football

Five, Six and Seven-a-Side Leagues and Tournaments

There are thousands of small-sided teams playing across the country. This significant figure is continuing to grow and expand at a rapid rate and it is anticipated that the number of small-sided football teams will overtake the number of adult male 11v11 teams.

Small-sided football is identified in the National Game Strategy as one of The FA’s key growth targets for adult football. The popularity of this format is a reaction to changing work and leisure patterns and a move towards ‘pay and play’ football. The laws of small-sided football have been revised for the benefit of players and referees. The FA encourages all small-sided football centres to adopt these uniform laws.

With millions of footballers now playing small-sided football, there is always a need for more referees. The FA has introduced a referee’s course specifically for the sport and further details on this can be obtained from us, so please get in touch. There are many small-sided football providers across Essex. You will find links to the leagues operating in Essex on this page.

How do I set-up an affiliated small-sided football league?

A small-sided competition is one in which all the clubs or leagues taking part are fielding teams of four, five, six, seven or nine players. These need to be affiliated to the County FA. 11v11 charity games or one-off events can also be affiliated in a similar way.

We offer three different types of affiliation depending on the type of football being played. There are three types of competitions, one in which the match/es are completed in a single day or weekend, one where the games are spread over a period of time and one in which games are played on behalf of a charity. Below is information relating to the three types:

* affiliation fee is £25 for each individual competition/tournament
* clubs/leagues do not need to affiliate the slots (teams) taking part in the competition
* often these are run by clubs during the summer
* 11v11 games cannot run during the closed season of June (if you wish to play 11 v 11 you will have to seek permission from the County FA)

Please follow this link to begin the affiliation process.

* affiliation fee is £25 for each individual league/competition (for the year, or for the time limit supplied by the Secretary)
* small-sided leagues have to affiliate for each team (slot) within the competition/league (the fee to affiliate each slot is £5)

When affiliating a small-sided League with us you will get support with finding qualified referees, insurance for the league and the governance/discipline of the league. We understand many small-sided leagues manage discipline issues internally and have their own rules with regards to red/yellow cards. However, if the affiliated league didn't feel they could appropriately deal with any issue arising from football activity, they can contact our Governance Department, who will be able to support you with resolving this issue and finding the right outcome.

Please contact us to begin the affiliation process.

For clubs/leagues who want to put on an event, or a football match to raise money for charity, the affiliation is free.

A Charity Registration Number will need to be provided. After the games have taken place, the clubs/leagues will have 14 days to send us a ‘Statement of Receipt’ to show that the money raised was given to charity.

Please follow this link to begin the process.