By admin.FA / October 27, 2023
Walking Football is a modified version of the traditional game, designed to make football more accessible to individuals over 50 and those with reduced mobility. The Football Association (FA) in the UK has set specific rules for Walking Football to ensure safety, fair play, and an enjoyable experience for all participants. Let’s delve into the key rules as dictated by the FA:
- No Running: As the name suggests, in Walking Football, players are not allowed to run. Participants must maintain at least one foot on the ground at all times. Jogging or sprinting is strictly prohibited to minimize the risk of injuries and maintain the low-impact nature of the sport.
- No Slide Tackles: Slide tackles, a common feature of traditional football, are not permitted in Walking Football. Players are required to use controlled movements and stay on their feet during challenges. This rule further ensures safety and reduces the risk of collisions on the pitch.
- No Physical Contact: Physical contact, such as pushing or shoulder-to-shoulder challenges, is not allowed in Walking Football. The focus is on fair play and skilful ball control, rather than aggressive play. This rule promotes a friendly and inclusive atmosphere on the field.
- Ball Height: The maximum height at which the ball should be played is waist height. This rule prevents high-speed kicks or headers, keeping the game at a manageable pace for all participants.
- Kick-Ins: When the ball goes out of play (over the touchline), it is returned to play via a kick-in. The player taking the kick-in must have at least one foot on or behind the touchline, and the ball must be stationary before the kick is taken.
- No Goalkeepers: In most standard Walking Football games, there are no dedicated goalkeepers. This rule ensures equal participation among all players and maintains the fun and social aspect of the game.
- Roll-In Goalkeeper: Some Walking Football variants do allow the presence of a “roll-in” goalkeeper, where a designated player is allowed to roll or throw the ball from the ground instead of kicking it. However, the roll-in goalkeeper is not permitted to handle the ball outside their own penalty area.
- Free Kicks: When a foul occurs, the opposing team is awarded a free kick. The ball must be stationary before the kick is taken, and the opposing players must be at least 5 yards (approximately 4.5 meters) away from the ball.
- Back Pass Rule: To avoid time-wasting and promote attacking play, players cannot intentionally pass the ball back to their goalkeeper to be picked up. If the ball goes back to the goalkeeper, an indirect free kick is awarded to the opposing team from the edge of the penalty area.
These rules are designed to ensure a safe, inclusive, and enjoyable experience for all participants in Walking Football. The sport continues to grow in popularity across the UK, providing a fantastic opportunity for older individuals to stay active, engage in social interaction, and relish the thrill of the beautiful game.