Rule 1 : Possession
1.1 The side in possession shall be known as the attacking side; the side not in possession is the defending side.
1.2 No single figure shall play the ball more than three times in succession, unless the ball touches another figure of
the same side.
1.3 Only the figure flicked by the attacking side can make contact with the ball. No buffeting or the pushing of other figures onto the ball is allowed. If this occurs the defending side may request "Back" and possession is lost.
Rule 2: The Kick-0ff
2.1 At the kick-off each side must have at least three figures within 90mm of the halfway line and the defending team must not have any figures within the centre circle.
2.2 At a kick-off figures of any one side must be placed at least 25mm apart.
2.3 The figure taking the kick-off kicks the ball forward over the halfway line, after which that figure must not touch the ball again until the ball has been played by another figure of this same side.
2.4 The attacking side continues to play the ball until:
2.4.1 the figure misses the ball;
2.4.2 the ball is intercepted by an opposing stationary figure;
2.4.3 the ball is kicked out of play;
2.4.4 a foul is committed;
2.4.5 a goal is scored.
Rule 3: Interception
3.1 The last figure to intercept (touch) the ball is ruled to be in possession, unless it is a moving blocking flick (see Rule 4).
3.2 Possession after a save: When the goalkeeper has made either a moving or a stationary save, possession of the ball passes to the defending side as the goalkeeper was the last to touch the ball. See also Rule 3.3.
3.3 If after a shot is saved by the goalkeeper, the ball rebounds onto an attacking figure, it is the attacking side's possession and a goal stands if subsequently scored.
3.4 Where two figures touch the ball at the same time, the side last to play the ball assumes possession and it is their flick next. However, after the ball has been played, possession goes to the opposing side as the ball will have struck the opposing figure last.
Rule 4 - Blocking Flicks and Defence
4.1 The defending side may take alternate flicks to those of the attacking side for defence purposes. This "blocking flick" can be taken each time the attacking side flicks at the ball, but the attacking side does not have to wait for the defending side to make its blocking flick (that is, the blocking flick must follow immediately the last attacking flick).
4.2 If, when making the blocking flick, the defending figure touches either the ball or the attacking figure, the attacking side can appeal either "Back" or "Play on". If "Back" is appealed, then the figures and the ball are repositioned and the blocking flick is lost.
Note: Should a mix-up occur, which is blameless on either side, then the referee may restore the figures and the ball to their former positions and order a restart in play from that point. The attacking side retains possession.
Rule 5: The Goal Kick
5.1 A goal kick is awarded to the defending side when the whole of the ball passes over the goal-line (either in the air or on the
ground) after having last been deflected or played by a figure or goalkeeper of the attacking side.
5.2 The goal kick can be "forced" only when the attacking figure, the defending figure and the ball are completely in the shooting area before the forcing flick is taken.
5.3 For a goal kick, each player may pick up his figures and place them anywhere, with the following exceptions:
5.3.1 Figures in the opposing half can be moved only backwards or sideways but not forwards.
5.3.2 Figures in their own half can be moved only up to the halfway line.
5.3.3 Figures should be placed at least 25 mm away from an opposing figure.
5.3.4 There must be no figures of either side in the penalty area, apart from the
goal kick taker.
5.4 A reasonable amount of time should be given for each side to re-arrange its figures before the kick is taken. No delaying tactics are allowed and the referee can insist on
5.5 On taking the goal kick, the ball should leave the penalty area; if it does not, then the kick should be re-taken.
5.6 The ball can travel to any part of the pitch.
5.7 Should the ball enter the defending side's goal direct from a goal kick, then the goal does not count and a goal kick is awarded to the defending side.
5.8 The spare goalkeeper can be used to take the goal kick provided that the standard goalkeeper is placed at the back of the goal. After the kick, Rule 13.11 applies.
5.9 The figure taking the goal kick must not play the ball again until the ball has been touched by another figure.
Note: The Law of forcing applies from the taking of a goal kick.
Rule 6 : The Throw-In
6.1 A "throw-in" is awarded when the ball has passed completely over the touch line.
6.2 The "throw" must be taken from the point where the ball crossed the touch-line.
6.3 The side taking the throw must place a figure for the throw; each side is then allowed one free positional flick with the attacking side flicking first. Buffeting of figures into position is not allowed.
6.4 The ball is placed on the line and the figure, including its base, must not
cross over nor obscure any part of the line before, during or after striking the ball. If the figure does cross over or obscure the line it is a "foul throw" and the throw is awarded to the other side. If, however, the figure taking the throw
subsequently rebounds off the fence surround and crosses the line onto the field of play, this does not count as a foul throw; the figure is placed on the touch-line where the throw was taken and play continues. See also Rule 6.7.
6.5 The figure taking the throw-in may not play the ball again until the ball has been touched by another figure.
6.6 The figure which took the throw-in is placed on the touch-line at the point where the throw-in was taken.
6.7 In the event of a foul throw, before any play proceeds, the figure which committed the foul throw is placed by the referee in the field of play 90 mm from the side line (where the foul throw was committed)
parallel to the goal line.
6.8 'Forcing' a throw-in off an opponent:
6.8.1 A throw-in can be forced provided that the ball, the attacking figure and the defending figure are all completely within one quarter before the flick is taken, and that the ball crosses the touch line within that quarter.
6.8.2 When the ball rebounds off the goalkeeper or its handle and goes into touch, then the throw is awarded to the opposing side.
6.8.3 When shooting at goal, a throw-in can be forced provided that the ball is completely within the shooting area and that the attacking figure is in the opposing side's half.
6.9 Off-side at throw-ins: When a throw is taken and the ball has stopped moving, an automatic onside flick can be requested for the figure that took the throw-in. The defending side, contrary to Rule 4, is not entitled to a blocking flick.
Rule 7: The Comer Kick
7.1 A corner kick is awarded:
7.1.1 if the attacking side plays the ball over its own goal line;
7.1.2 if the ball is forced over the goal line, off a defending figure, provided that the defending figure and ball are in the shooting area and the attacking figure is in the opposing side's half. If these conditions are not satisfied, a goal kick is awarded to the defending side.
7.2 A goal can be scored direct from the corner kick.
7.3 The ball must be placed on or within the quarter circle at the side where the ball crossed the goal line.
7.4 The figure taking the corner must not play the ball again until the ball has been touched by another figure.
7.5 The figure taking the kick is placed at the corner; each side then takes three positional flicks, with the attacking
side flicking first. Buffeting of figures into position is not allowed.
7.6 The figure taking the kick can be moved from any part of the pitch.
7.7 When taking the corner kick, there should be no defending figures within 90mm of the ball.
7.8 Offside at corners: When a corner kick is taken, and the ball has stopped moving, an automatic onside flick can be requested for the corner kicker; contrary to Rule 4, the defending side is not entitled to a blocking flick to cover the corner kicker. However, one shot for goal, while the ball is still moving, is allowed. The figure taking the corner would not be deemed offside in this situation.
7.9 Either hand can be used to take the corner kick and subsequent moves, enabling the ball to be hit whilst moving.
7.10 Any ball passed back by the defending team can concede a corner.
Rule 8 : Goal Scoring
8.1 Before a goal can be scored or a shot taken at goal, the ball must be entirely in the shooting area; that is, the whole of the ball must be over the line.
8.2 The attacking figure shooting for goal must be fully inside his opponent's half before a shot can be taken, provided that Rule 8.1 is met.
8.3 If the ball goes into the net and Rule 8.1 is not complied with, a goal kick is awarded to the defending side.
8.4 The ball must be completely over the goal line before a goal is scored.
8.5 The figure must be flicked in the correct manner.
8.6 The ball can be hit whilst rolling to score a goal.
8.7 The attacking side does not have to wait for the goalkeeper to be in a ready position.
8.8 The attacking side does not have to wait for the defensive 'blocking flicks' to occur.
8.9 Own goal:
8.9.1 Any ball which is passed back by the defending side from within its own half and which goes into its own goal, counts as an 'own goal';
8.9.2 For any ball entering the goal directly from the other half, a corner kick is awarded.
8.10 Any ball that is dragged into the goal by the goalkeeper, after the ball has stopped moving, is a goal.
8.11 Any shot rebounding off either the goalkeeper or the goalposts and going into the opposite goal does not count as a goal, and a goal kick is awarded.
Rule 9 - Foul Play and Free Kicks
9.1 If an attacking figure is flicked and it hits a defending figure before striking the ball, it is a foul, and a free kick is awarded at the point of offence.
9.1.1 If this occurs outside the shooting area, an indirect free-kick is awarded.
9.1.2 If it occurs inside the shooting area, a direct free-kick is awarded.
9.1.3 If it occurs inside the penalty box, a penalty is awarded.
9.2 For indirect and direct free kicks the figure taking the kick may be taken from anywhere on the pitch. Each player is allowed two positional flicks; the attacking side flicks first. See also Rule 9.1.2. For penalties see Rule 10.
9.3 If a figure hits a goalpost,
rebounds on to the field and strikes an opposing figure before hitting the ball, it does not commit a foul and play continues.
9.4 If a player's hand prevents the ball going into the goal and it is regarded by the referee to be intentional, a goal is awarded.
9.5 If either player touches the ball with his hand, a free kick is awarded at the point of offence.
9.5.1 If it occurs outside the shooting area, an indirect free kick is awarded.
9.5.2 If it occurs inside the shooting area, a direct free kick is awarded.
9.5.3 If it occurs inside the penalty box, a penalty is awarded.
9.6 If a defending player obstructs his opponent around the table, a free kick is awarded at the position of the ball at the time of the offence.
9.6.1 If it occurs outside the shooting area, an indirect free kick is
9.6.2 If it occurs inside the shooting area, a direct free kick is awarded.
9.6.3 If it occurs inside the penalty box, a penalty is awarded.
9.7 If a player puts both his hands on to the table, an indirect free kick is awarded at the position of the ball at the time of the offence. A player may, however, hold his goalkeeper and flick another figure at the same time.
9.8 If an attacking figure is flicked at the ball (directly) four times in succession, an indirect free-kick is awarded at the position of that figure at the time of the offence.
9.9 For offside, an indirect free-kick is awarded (see Rule 11).
9.10 If, following a kick-off, the same figure plays the ball a second time before the ball has touched another figure, then an indirect free kick is awarded at the position of the offending figure at the time of the offence. This rule also applies following a free kick, a corner kick, a goal kick, a penalty kick or a throw-in.
9.11 When positioning players for Free Kicks:
9.11.1 For a free kick, there should be no defending figures within 90mm of the ball.
9.11.2 For a direct free kick inside the shooting area, the defending side may either place a 4-figure wall as a
barrier or flick
two figures to mark up the attacking side. The attacking side flicks first.
9.12 A figure lying down is considered as a normal figure.
9.13 For positional flicks, the buffeting of figures into position is not allowed.
Rule 10: The Penalty Kick
10.1 When a penalty kick is taken, the base of the goalkeeper must be touching the goal line. The handle must be level with the pitch and the goalkeeper must remain stationary until the kick is taken. If this rule is infringed three times, a goal is awarded.
10.2 The player taking the penalty shall, after setting up his shot, take his hands well away from the pitch until the referee signals 'carry on'. The penalty is then taken without delay.
10.3 All figures, apart from the goalkeeper and the penalty taker, must be outside the penalty area and arc. The kick Is taken from the penalty spot, 130mm from the goal line.
10.4 After the figure has been flicked and the ball kicked, provided that there have been no infringements, the kick is deemed to have been taken and the normal rules of possession apply.
Rule 11 - Offside
11.1 A figure is in an offside position if he is nearer to his opponent's
goalline than the ball, unless:
11.1.1 that figure is outside the shooting area; or
11.1.2 there are at least two of his opponent's figures nearer to their own goal than he is.
At least one defending figure, other than the goalkeeper, must be in the shooting area before offside can be claimed.
11.2 A figure in an offside position (as in Rule 11.1), is not actually offside until the ball is past the last defending figure (excluding goalkeepers) and a figure is offside whether the ball is passed to that figure or not.
11.3 If, through the play of his opponent, a figure in an offside position receives the ball, he is not offside as this was not a pass forward from his own side.
11.4 A player in an offside position can be flicked to play for the ball.
11.5 No figure can be offside immediately from the taking of a goal kick, corner kick, or throw-in. Two flicks must be taken, including the goal kick, corner kick or throw-in, before a figure can be offside.
11.6 A figure in an offside position may be flicked on-side at any time by a player after having asked permission of the referee. The following rules apply:
11.6.1 The side requesting the flick must be in possession of the ball.
11.6.2 The figure flicked on-side should not touch an opposing figure.
11.6.3 The figure should not strike the ball.
11.6.4 The flick should be such that the figure travels parallel to the side line, or as near to parallel as possible.
11.6.5 The figure should not travel over the half way line. 11.6.6 Only one attempt at flicking on-side may be taken.
11.6.7 Only two on-side flicks are allowed at any one time whilst you are in possession of the ball.
Any infringement of these rules results in the flick being lost, and the figure (and the ball, if appropriate) returned to its former position.
11.7 For each 'on-side' flick made by the attacking side, the defending
side may have a 'blocking flick' to mark up that figure. This flick must not be used to mark up any other attacking figure.
11.8 After a corner kick has been taken the corner kicker can be flicked on-side immediately after the kick. This is known as an 'automatic on-side flick'. Rules 11.6.1 to 11.6.7 apply. The defending side, contrary to Rule 4 and Rule 11.7, is not
entitled to a blocking flick to cover the corner kicker.
Rule 12: Figures Leaving the Field of Play
12.1 A figure can leave the field of play after being flicked and return to the field to play the ball
(that is, if it swerves back on to the field) provided that it does not leave the green baize or touch any
perimeter fencing or any other accessory. If this occurs, then the figure should be placed at the point on the touch line where it first left the field of play and possession goes to the opposing side.
12.2 If a figure is flicked successfully at the ball but subsequently leaves the field of play, it may be placed on the touch-line at the point where it left the field, or it may be flicked from off the field, provided
that it does not leave the green baize, or touch any perimeter fencing or any other accessory. See Rule 12.1.
12.3 A figure travelling into the goal, whether a defending figure or an attacking figure, shall be placed on the goal line just outside the goalkeeper's area.
12.4 A figure leaving the field of play and not subject to Rules 12.1, 12.2 or 12.3,
should be replaced immediately on the line at the point where it left the field. For figures hitting a goalpost,
see Rule 9.3; for figures taking a throw-in, see Rule 6.
Rule 13 : The Goalkeeper
13.1 The goalkeeper including the handle are as one, and any part of it can make a save, deflect the ball into the goal, or concede a corner or throw-in.
13.2 A goalkeeper should be ready at all times during play. No hindrance to the attacking player is allowed.
13.3 A goalkeeper cannot normally be fouled, but the defending side may appeal on such occasions, when it is being threatened by the attacking side. Any figure from the previous attack, which is still in the goalkeeper's area after possession has been lost, is moved at once to the nearest goal line.
13.4 If a defending player tries to adjust his goalkeeper and the ball hits his hand, a penalty is awarded.
13.5 If the goalkeeper on the handle touches the ball outside his box, whether in possession or not, a penalty is awarded.
13.6 The goalkeeper must not be waved 'to and fro' in the air or on the ground, nor must it be flicked by the handle at the ball.
13.7 The goalkeeper's handle must not raise the net at the rear of the goal.
13.8 The goalkeeper must not be raised from the playing surface prior to
a shot at goal.
13.9 Before a shot is taken the goalkeeper must not be tilted more than 45 degrees from the vertical.
If a shot at goal is unsuccessful as a result of an infringement of any of these rules, then the attacking side may request 'Back'. If the 'Back' claim is allowed, the ball and figures are returned to their former positions and the shot is retaken. If the 'Back' claim :is rejected, the game continues as normal.
13.10 Possession after a save: When the goalkeeper has made a save, possession of the ball passes to the defending side as the goalkeeper was the last player to touch the ball.
13.11 The Spare Goalkeeper:
13.11.1 The goalkeeper on the handle may be replaced by a spare goalkeeper (such as reference 61106 or a spare team figure). This may be used to take goal-kicks and to play the ball outside the keeper's box. The spare goalkeeper can be flicked from anywhere within the goalkeeper's box, and the area immediately behind it. The spare goalkeeper may only be used by the side in possession of the ball.
13.11.2 When the spare goalkeeper is brought into use, the standard goalkeeper must either be taken out of the goal or be pushed well to the back of the goal.
13.11.3 After a goal kick has been taken, the spare goalkeeper should be removed from the playing area and replaced with the standard goalkeeper. Rule 13.11.5 may otherwise apply.
13.11.4 Once on the field, the spare goalkeeper becomes subject to the rules of the game as for a normal figure. If, during an attempt to clear the ball, but excluding a goal kick (see Rule 13.11.3), the side using the spare goalkeeper loses possession, then the standard goalkeeper cannot be replaced in goal until the attacking side has had a maximum of three flicks at the ball with one figure. During this possession, the attacking side may shoot into an empty goal. On completion of the third flick or w hen another attacking figure plays the ball, then the attacking side must wait for the defending goalkeeper to be returned into the goal before play continues and before shooting at goal. Should the attacking side lose possession, then the goalkeeper can be returned to the goal.
13.11.5 If a spare goalkeeper is on the field and the standard goalkeeper makes a save, a goal should be awarded. The normal rules
of goal scoring apply.
13.11.6 The spare goalkeeper must be kept well away from the field when not in use.
Rule 14 : Substitutes and Injuries
Should a figure be damaged during the game, it may be taken away from the field for repair. This is done quickly and no "injury time" should be allotted. If a noticeable amount of time is taken, this "extra" or "injury time" can be added to the normal time. Alternatively, damaged figures can be substituted. Only two substitutions are allowed during any game. This does not apply to the goalkeeper, which can be replaced at any time.
Rule 15 : "The Shoot Out"
15.1 If, after extra time, the game is still drawn and a winner has to be decided, a shoot out takes place. One of the goal areas is chosen and each team has one shot from the following five positions on the shooting line:
15.1.1 where the shooting line joins the touchline on the left of the pitch;
15.1.2 where the shooting line joins the touchline on the right of the pitch;
15.1.3 opposite the penalty area line on the left;
15.1.4 opposite the penalty area line on the right;
15.1.5 opposite the regulation penalty spot at the centre of the shooting
15.2 The goalkeeper is not confined to the goal line but the remaining standard goalkeeping rules apply.
15.3 The goal shots are controlled by the referee and the following procedure applies:
15.3.1 The referee decides which goal is to be used.
15.3.2 All figures, apart from the goalkeeper and figures to be used for the shoot out, are placed in the centre circle.
15.3.3 The toss of a coin decides which team shoots first; this team takes the five shots in succession. The other team then takes its five shots.
15.3.4 Before each shot is taken the goalkeeper states READY, the referee states PROCEED, and the other player shoots without delay.
The team with the most goals is the winner. Rebounds into goal off the attacking figure after a save do not count.
15.4 If, after the shoot out, the game is still drawn, each team takes an equal number of shots from position 15.1.5 until a winner is decided.
These shots are taken singly and alternately.
Guideline for Referees
All major national and international matches must be controlled by competent referees. For local league matches and friendlies, it is not always possible to have an independent referee, and the players themselves must be their own referee. The most important point to remember is that
Subbuteo should be considered as a sport and that these rules are necessary, but the overriding
rule is one of Sportsmanship.
The Rules are designed to cover as many Subbuteo situations as possible. As with any sport, however, there will be times when a particular set of circumstances cannot be dealt with by the Rules. In such cases, it is the responsibility of the referee (or of the players, if there is no referee) to resolve the problem.
Within the Rules, it is not feasible to define everything. A referee, for example, must use his discretion on many occasions - time wasting, deliberate foul play to gain advantage, and so on. The following notes may
help referees and players.
Reasonable Time: This is allowed for players to arrange their figures before, for instance, a goal kick. If a referee feels that a player is wasting time,
he may warn the offending player once. On subsequent occasions, he may indicate "Play" before the time-waster is ready. It should not take more than, say, 20 seconds to arrange a team for a goal kick; this can be taken as a guide, although many players can be ready in much less time and a referee must take this into account before making any decision on time-wasting.
Deliberate Foul Play: It may on occasion suit a defending player to concede a free kick through handball, for example. It may similarly suit an attacking player to try to gain advantage by aiming his flick at the defending player's hand. On such occasions if the referee feels that the tactics are deliberate, he may at his discretion order a Back, a Play-on or a free kick to the other side.
Spare Goalkeepers: A spare goalkeeper must be kept well away from the field of play when not in use. In the excitement of a match, a player may accidentally leave his spare goalkeeper in a playable situation. · If this is considered by the referee to be unintentional, he should give the player a warning. Otherwise, the normal
rules should apply.
These are intended as guidelines only. The referee must use his own discretion and
judgment to the best of his ability, and players must accept the decision of the referee as final. Both players and referee should remember that
sportsmanship and fair play are what make Subbuteo the sport that it is.