(September 30, 2019) Alberta Soccer recently made changes to the 7 v 7, 8 v 8, and 9 v 9 boardless soccer rules – below is the rationale for these updates:


  • 8 provinces that have published rules for a similar format of game were researched. Only one province outside of Alberta was found to have an offside rule that applied to all tiers and age groups (MB). Two provinces (ON & PEI) do not have an offside rule in any indoor games. QC has no offside at 7v7 and does have offside at 9v9. NS has offside at ‘AAA’ and ‘AA’ only. SK has no offside at 6v6 and does have offside at 9v9.
  • Discussion on the Referee Development Committee and with various technical staff in Alberta led to the opinion that offside was not necessarily required in this format of game, relating to the size of the field and the number of players on each team.
  • There is no offside in either Futsal or the boarded indoor game.
  • This rule will be monitored throughout the 2019-20 indoor season to determine if a change is required for the 2020-21 indoor season

Referee System

  • The two-referee system that has been employed by some leagues has been determined by the Referee Development Committee to have a negative impact on referee development. Referees do not have the opportunity to actively seek good angles of view on challenges, as they are generally positioned on the opposite corners of play as it takes place in the middle of the field. Referee movement in the two-referee system was limited to – keeping in line with the offside line; following the ball down to the goal line. The one-referee system that was used in youth provincials in March 2019 forced referees to move around the field in similar patterns to the outdoor game, just in a smaller area.
  • The ideal system for game control and also for referee training and mentoring would be one referee and two assistant referees. The design of most facilities in the province does not allow a running path for assistant referees outside the touchline that is practical or safe.
  • As a solution to player safety concerns with a single referee, the Referee Program proposes that one referee and one assistant referee be used, in a similar system to the boarded game. The assistant referee would be stationed outside the touchline, between the benches, and would have the same role as in the boarded game. This eliminates the need for two different systems of refereeing in the indoor game, regardless of which format is played. This could be put into effect for the 2019-20 indoor season.

No ‘team’ punishment when a player has been sent off (red card)

  • This has been in the Rules of Play since they were first published by Alberta Soccer for the 2017-18 season.
  • To play one or more players short for the remainder of the game puts a team at a much greater disadvantage in small sided formats than it does in the 11v11
  • With the minimum playing number being 5 players, three red cards to one team would result in the match being unable to continue.
  • One solution would be to have time penalties, similar to the boarded game, but with having two referees active on the field, this was never a practical option. If a referee and assistant referee system is adopted, time penalties could possibly work. This would need further discussion before possible implementation in the 2020-21 indoor season.

If you have any questions or require more information, please contact Alberta Soccer.