U8s Match Rules


To provide children with a fun, safe and positive experience through a match program that develops their movement and basic football skills.

Spirit of the game

To give all available players a game of football in which they have every opportunity to gain possession of the ball and safely dispose of it by kick or handball.

The game

A modified match program with no premiership points, no finals, no ladders, no match results (scores), no player names published and no representative teams.

Playing ground - 75m x 50m The field is divided into three equal zones

Officials - Two coaches who provide support and advice to players, two goal umpires.

The ball -  Synthetic Size 1

The team

9-a-side: 3 forwards, 3 centres, 3 backs. Interchanges can be made at any time but all players must play at least 3 quarters of the match


Backs are restricted to the back zone. Centres are restricted to the centre zone. Forwards are restricted to the forward zone. Rotate players to provide opportunities in several positions.


When a team moves the ball from the back zone to the forward zone, it must be touched by a player from the centre zone, or a free kick will be paid to the opposition team at the point where the ball entered the end zone.

Scoring - Only forward zone players can score

Possession Rule

Once a player gains possession, all other players must back off to the side of the player in possession, so that the player may kick or handball uncontested (there is to be no blocking or standing in the pathway of the player in possession). Decide doubtful cases with ball-ups

Playing time - 4 x 10 minute quarters, no time on

Start and restarting play

A ball-up is conducted between 2 centre players of similar height as nominated by the umpire. The umpire should nominate different pairs of players for subsequent ball-ups after goals are scored

Scrimmage and field ball ups

Where a scrimmage develops, if a free kick is not possible the umpire shall stop play, send players back to their positions and nominate 2 players of equal size to contest a ball up. At the ball up , 'full possession' and diving on the ball are not permitted

Full possession

In relation to all ball ups the following full possession rule applies as follows:

-a player contesting a ball up may not grab the ball and play on,

-the player must knock, palm or punch the ball to a team mate or open ground, and may not play

the ball again until it has been touched by another player or hit the ground

Out of bounds

From a kick - a free kick is awarded against the player who last kicked the ball. If there is doubt, or if the ball came off hands or a body, the umpire shall call a ball up 5m in from the boundary.


There is to be absolutely no contact or spoiling whatsoever except accidental and light shoulder to shoulder contact while running to and at the ball.

Tackling - Not permitted

Shepherding - Not permitted

Barging - Not permitted


A mark is awarded, irrespective of the distance the ball has travelled, to any player who catches the ball, or makes a reasonable attempt to catch the ball from a kick. Set the mark after a mark is awarded. No playing on allowed.


Bouncing is optional but no more than one bounce is permitted. The player must then dispose of it by hand or foot and may not touch the ball again until it has been touched by another player

Distance Run - A player running with the ball must bounce it within 5 metres

Kicking off the ground - Not permitted unless accidental

 Distance penalty - N/A

Order off rule

To be applied at the umpires discretion. Bad language, poor sportsmanship and disrupting umpiring decisions should be actively discouraged


The coach is allowed on the ground to provide immediate feedback to players


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