Canterbury Mariners

Walking Football Club

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Page updated 04 August 2022

Summary of Rules for Walking Football

Full Rules from the FA can be viewed here


Walking is defined as ‘always having at least one foot in contact with the ground’.

Players are not allowed to run or jog at any time (on or off the ball).

If the referee sees a player running, then it’s a free kick against that player.

If a player is penalised on three separate occasions for infringing the walking law, they receive a blue card and are sin-binned.


Matches can be 5, 6 or 7-a-side

Teams can have a maximum of 3 substitutes

Substitutions can take place either when play has stopped or during play

Players can change places with the goalkeeper when play has stopped

Rolling subs are allowed


Referees keep players safe by stopping the game if a seriously injured (or bleeding) player needs to be removed from the playing area

Enforce the Laws of the Game and their decision is final!

Take disciplinary action against players guilty of sin-bin or sending-off offences

Try to keep the game going by playing advantage


The team that wins the toss decides which goal it will attack in the first period of the game.

The other team takes the kick-off to start the game

A goal may not be scored directly from the kick-off

All players must be in their own half, except the player taking kick-off

The ball is in play when it is kicked and moves

The kicker may not touch the ball a second time until it has touched another player

If players don’t do what they’re supposed to, the kick-off is re-taken, except if the kicker touches the ball for a second time – then it would be an indirect free kick.

Opponents of the team taking the kick-off must be at least three meters from the ball until it is in play.


The ball is out of play when:

All of it has crossed the goal line or touch line, whether on the ground or in the air

Play has been stopped by the referee


The ball is not allowed to go above a certain height (this is often head height but can’t be less than the height of the crossbar and must be no more than two metres)

If the ball does go too high, then it’s an indirect free kick against the offending team from the point at which the ball was last touched.

Players cannot head the ball

If the goalkeeper kicks or throws the ball too high within the penalty area, then an indirect free kick is given to the opposition three meters from the penalty area line nearest to where the ball was thrown or kicked from.

When the ball goes too high after a save or block performed by a goalkeeper, play restarts with a goal clearance


Anything other than minimal contact must be penalised

Players cannot slide tackle, tackle from behind, heel or ankle rap from the back or side, back into players when in possession


All free kicks are indirect.

From an indirect free-kick, a goal can only be scored if it is played by another player first.

All opponents must be at least three meters from the ball until it is in play. If they’re not, then the free kick gets re-taken.

A free kick is given if a player commits any of the following seven 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

Tackles an opponent

A free kick can also be awarded when a player commits any of the following offences:


Deliberately heads the ball

Holds an opponent

Bites or spits at someone

Slide tackles

Handles the ball deliberately

Careless is when a player shows a lack of attention or consideration when making a challenge. No disciplinary action is needed.

Reckless is when a player acts with disregard to the danger to, or consequences for, an opponent. The offending player must be cautioned and sin-binned.

Excessive is when a player exceeds the necessary use of force and/or endangers the safety of an opponent.

The offending player must be sent off.

A free kick is awarded against a goalkeeper when they:

Touch or control the ball with their hands or feet, in the penalty area, for more than six seconds

Receive the ball back directly from a team mate to whom they have just passed the ball without the ball having made contact with any other player

Allow the ball to stop in a stationary position in the penalty area without touching it for more than six seconds


A penalty kick is given when:

A defending player enters their own penalty area deliberately and gains an advantage by doing so

A goalkeeper deliberately exits their own penalty area

At a penalty kick, players have to stand:

Inside the pitch

Outside the penalty area

Behind or to the side of the penalty mark

At least three meters from the ball

The player taking the kick can only take one step before taking the penalty kick.


A goal clearance takes place when the whole of the ball, having last touched a player of the attacking team, passes over the goal line, either on the ground or in the air – and a goal isn’t scored.

A goal cannot be scored directly from a goal clearance.

To take a goal clearance, the goalkeeper either throws the ball underarm or kicks the ball from a stationary position within the penalty area.

The goalkeeper can pick up a back pass.

After the goalkeeper has distributed the ball, they can only receive a pass if the ball has either touched an opponent or if the ball has been touched by at least two of their teammates