Soccer coaching laws of the game Law 7 duration of the game

These soccer coaching tips are designed to help coaches and players understand the laws of the game. This article looks at Law 7, which covers the duration of the game.

The match lasts two equal periods. Times for the various age groups you may be coaching differ. Time changes must be mutually agreed between the referee and the two teams. Any agreement to alter the duration of the periods of play (for example because of insufficient light) must be made before the start of play.

Players are entitled to an interval at half-time. The half-time interval must not exceed 15 minutes. Local rules may apply to both timing of matches and the half-time interval. Check tournament competition rules.

Small-sided games – recommended match times

  • Under 6 years of age: 2 x 15 minutes (half-time break 5 minutes).
  • Under 7 and 8 years of age: 2 x 20 minutes (half-time break 5 minutes).
  • Under 9 and 10 years of age: 2 x 25 minutes (half-time break 5 minutes).
  • Under 11 and 12 years of age: 2 x 30 minutes (half-time break 7.5 minutes).

11-a-side – recommended match times

  • Under 11 and 12 years of age: 2 x 30 minutes.
  • Under 13 and 14 years of age: 2 x 35 minutes.
  • Under 15 and 16 years of age: 2 x 40 minutes.

(Half-time break 10 minutes for each age group.)

Allowance is made for time lost through:

  • Substitutions.
  • Injury.
  • Wasting time.

The allowance for time lost is at the discretion of the referee.

The only event that can extend a half once time (and extra time) is up is if a penalty kick has to be taken or retaken.


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Click the link to see Law 8, the rules of the game covering the start of play and re-starts.

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