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Official WISL Rules



Official Indoor Rules

Youth andAmateur Edition

The Rules


Rule 1  ‑ The Field Of Play          Specifications: The dimensions andweight of the ball are that of a standard size 4 indoor for U12 and below.and for substituting during the first 3seconds of a Shootout, if applicable.

 3.4          Player Requiring Treatment for Injury:The Referee sends any player to his Team Bench who requires treatment forinjury or blood (regardless whether the blood is his own or another’s, or is onhis body or uniform).  This occurs at thefirst opportunity recognized by the Referee, whether at the game’s nextstoppage or his order when (i) the injury is deemedcritical, (ii) by the location of the injured player, he is likely to interferewith play, or (iii) the injured player’s team has control of the ball.  Any player sent off for treatment may notreenter until fit to return and until, if applicable, the expiration of theplayer’s Time Penalty.  The Referee shallapprove any blood treatment prior to allowing the player to reenter thefield.  If allowed by the Referee andpermitted by administrative policy, a player whose uniform is stained withblood and untreated may wear alternative clothing.


Rule 4  ‑ The Players’ Equipment

4.1          Uniform: Players, other thanGoalkeepers, wear their team’s uniform, consisting of the same color and stylejersey, shorts, and socks, shin guards, and indoor footwear.  Numbers appear on the back of the jersey.

 4.2          Goalkeeper: The Goalkeeper wearsjersey colors distinguished from all other field players and from theReferees.  Other permitted equipmentincludes gloves and pants instead of team shorts and approved headgear.  In all other respects, Rule 4.1 applies.

 4.3          Dangerous Equipment: A player maynot wear any jewelry or other accessory. If a player is unable to remove a necklace or ring, it is taped to hischest or finger.  Casts, splints, or bodybraces made of a hard substance must be padded to the satisfaction of theReferee.


Rule 5  ‑ The Referee

5.1          Referees: One (1) Referee officiates each game. The Referee may be assisted by a second floor Referee, an AssistantReferee, and a Timekeeper.  So long as aReferee is on the facility compound of an assigned game, he shall execute, ordelegate to other Game Officials the execution of, these Rules.=GRAME>

 5.2          Decisions of Fact and Rule: Thedecisions of the Referee regarding facts connected with play and interpretationof Rules are final.  The Referee maychange any decision prior to a Restart upon his own reconsideration.

 5.3          Powers: The Referee’s power toassess penalties, and otherwise assure fair play and maintain control of agame, extends to violations of these Rules committed during play, duringstoppages, and as players and other team personnel proceed to and from thefield of play.  This includes the powerto:

Award or Disallow a Goal: TheReferee determines whether or not a goal is scored.
Suspend or Terminate the Game: TheReferee stops, suspends, or terminates the game at his discretion by reason ofthe elements, interference by spectators, an unsafe condition, or otherjustifiable cause.
Stop the Clock: The Referee stops theGame Clock due to an unusual delay (subject to    administrative policy.)
Prohibit Field Entry: The Refereeensures that no unauthorized person enters the field of play during a game.
Summon Security: The Referee asksfacility security guards to prevent any spectator, including team personnel,from interfering with the play of the game for:
(1)           Violent conduct, including tossingobjects onto the field of play;
(2)           Foul or abusive language or behavior;or
(3)           Persistent unseemly behavior.

5.4          Game Report: Subject toadministrative policy, the Referee files a Game Report, including informationon any disciplinary action and other incident (e.g., serious injury) or circumstance occurring before, during, orafter the game.


Rule 6 - The Duration of theGame


 7.6          Free Kick: A team receives a FreeKick after stoppages other than when a Dropped Ball or Goalkeeper Throw-In isrequired.  Before the team takes the FreeKick, the ball must be stationary.  Allopposing players are at least 15 feet from the spot of the Free Kick (or, ifwithin 15 feet of the opponent’s Goal, along the Goal Line) until after theRestart.  The Referee whistles theRestart for all Free Kicks taken from any circle Mark and after stoppages dueto an injury, Time Penalty, or other incident within the Referee’sdiscretion.  In the instance of a TimePenalty or ejection, the Referee whistles the Restart after the player servingthe Time Penalty has sat down in the Penalty Area or the ejected person hasleft the area visible to the field of play. The spot of the Free Kick is that provided in Rule 7.5, except asfollows:

(a) Back to Goalkeeper: A Free Kickoccurring after an illegal pass back to the Goalkeeper (Rule 10.3) is taken atthe Goalkeeper’s Free Kick Mark.

(d)  in accordance with Rule 12.

(f)      SuperstructureViolation: For Superstructure Violations, the Restart is taken from thenearer Restart Mark.

7.7          Dropped Ball Restart: If neitherteam has clear possession of the ball at a stoppage, the Referee restarts play witha Dropped Ball.  A Dropped Ball causedwhile the ball is inside a Penalty Arch takes place at the nearer Free KickMark; otherwise at the spot of stoppage. The ball is “in play”once the ball contactsthe ground untouched.

7.8          Goal Kick or Goalkeeper Throw-In: Playrestarts with a Goal Kick or Goalkeeper Throw-in (according to administrativepolicy) after an attacking player has last touched the ball before crossing anend perimeter wall between the Corner Flags. The Restart is taken from any point within the Penalty Arch.  Opposing players are at least 15 feet beyondthe Penalty Arch until the ball is “in play.” The provisions otherwise apply as to Free Kicks and Restarts.


Rule 8  ‑ The Ball In And Out Of Play

8.1          Ball In Play:The ball is “in play” once each Kickoff or Restart legally begins and the ball makes any discernablemovement.  The ball remains “in play”until a stoppage, recognized by the Referee.

8.2          Restarts Within Defensive PenaltyArch: For Restarts by a team within its Penalty Arch, the ball is not “inplay” until the game is properly restarted and the ball is propelled beyond thePenalty Arch by the player taking the Restart.

8.3          Ball Out Of Play:  The ball is “out of play” once anystoppage occurs which the Referee acknowledges or orders, whether for goals,Fouls, Time Penalties, injuries, out of bounds, Three-Line Violations, orSuperstructure Violations.

8.4          Three-Line Violation: A“Three-Line Violation” occurs when a player propels the ball in the air acrossthe two Red Lines and the Halfway Line toward the opponent’s Goal withouttouching the Perimeter Wall or another player or a Referee on the field ofplay.

8.5          Superstructure Violation: A“Superstructure Violation” occurs when the ball contacts any part of thebuilding above the field of play.


Rule 9  ‑ The Method of Scoring

9.1          Goal: A team scores a goal whenthe whole of the ball legally passes over the Goal Line, between the Goalposts,and under the Crossbar.  A goal may bescored directly from a Kickoff or Restart.

9.2          Winning Team: The team scoring thegreater number of goals during a game is the winner.

9.3          Interference: No goal is allowedif an outside agent alters the path of the ball on its way over the GoalLine.  In such instance, Rule 7.5dictates the manner of Restart, except for a Penalty Kick or Shootout, in whichcase it is retaken.


Rule 10  ‑ Fouls and Other Violations

While most facilitiesemploy a “3-Card System,” utilizing a Blue Card, the traditional “2-CardSystem,” used in outdoor play and futsal, remains popular.  The 3-Card System equips referees with anadditional tool to control play, while the 2-Card System may be morecomfortable to players and referees who shift between outdoor and indoor.  Both systems are accepted under these Rulesand left to administrative policy.  See Rule 10.7.

10.1        Penal Fouls: A Foul, resulting in aFree Kick, is assessed to a player who commits any of the following offenses ina manner that the Referee considers careless, serious, reckless, or involvingexcessive force:

(a)                                        Handling the ball (except by the Goalkeeper within hisPenalty Arch);

(c)        Unsporting Behavior: The Refereestops play for Unsporting Behavior, resulting in a Free Kick, for the followingoffenses:

(a)Encroachment: Entering the protectedarea of an opposing player taking a Free Kick (after initial Warning);

(e)(1)    Referee Abuse: Words or actions directed by any playeror team personnel at an official in dissent;

(2)     Breach of Penalty Area Decorum: Delay in entering thePenalty Area; failure to sit and remain seated in the Penalty Area after aWarning; or premature or unpermitted exit from thePenalty Area;

(a)   Illegal Handling:Bringing the ball from outside of the Penalty Arch to his hand within it, orreceiving the ball again after a Goal Kick or Goalkeeper Throw-In without theball’s having first touched another player;

(b)    Pass Back:Handling the ball, having been passed deliberately and directly to him from ateammate; except that he may handle aball which a teammate passes to him by the head, chest, or knee and without“trickery” (the use of a wall or foot to flick the ball to a head, chest, orknee before making the pass);

(c)     5-Second Limit:Controlling the ball with either his hand or foot inside of his Penalty Archfor over five (5) seconds.

10.4        Team Violations: The Referee issuesa Team Penalty for the following violations by a team or unidentified person:

(a)        Advantage Rule: The Referee allowsplay to continue, notwithstanding the commission of an offense, when the teamagainst which it has been committed will benefit from an existing offensive advantage.  In the case of a Carded Offense, Rule 11.6applies.

10.6        Flagrant Fouls: Either a PenaltyKick or Shootout (subject to administrative policy) is awarded for thefollowing Fouls committed by a defender in his defensive half of the field:

(a)      Players’Unsporting Behavior: Players’ violating Rule 10.3; and

(e)     Unsporting Behavior: Violating Rule 10.3 by any team personnel;       Provoking Altercation: Making physical contact with an opponent (e.g., pushing or poking), short of fighting, as defined in Rule 10.9, or using the ball in so doing, particularly in the case of a Goalkeeper.

 10.9        Ejectionable Offenses: A person receives a Red Card for violations of Rules 10.1 and 10.8, which the Referee considers violent or use of excessive force, and for:

(a)                                         Second Yellow Card: Receiving a second Yellow Card;

(b)                                         Third Time Penalty: When Rule 10.7 applies, receiving a third Time Penalty;

(c)                                                         Elbowing: Intentionally elbowing an opponent above the shoulder;

(d)                                                         Vicious Slide Tackling: A tackle from the side or from behind directly into one or both legs of an opponent, seriously endangering him;

(e)                                                         Fighting: Striking or attempting to strike an opponent with intent to injure;

(f)                                                          Leaving Team Bench: Leaving a Team Bench or Penalty Area to join a fracas, melee, or confrontation with the opposition or a Game Official;

(g)                                                         Extreme Unsporting Behavior: Committing particularly despicable behavior, including:

(1)                                                                                                 Spitting at an opponent or any other person;

(2)                                                                                                 Persistent use of extremely abusive language or behavior toward a Game Official;

(3)                                                                                                 Bodily contact with a Game Official in dissent; and

(4)                                                                                                 Leaving the Penalty Area to engage in dissent.

                                         Blue Card (when Rule 10.7 applies): 2-minutes (i.e., in the Penalty Area)


(b)                                         Yellow Card: 2-minutes;

(c)                                                         Red Card (for accumulation of Cards by player): 2-minutes (provided that the accumulation of penalties recorded at any one time may not exceed 5 minutes), plus ejection;

(d)                                                         Other Red Card: 5-minutes, plus ejection.

 11.2        Service of Penalties: Except as provided under Rule 11.3, a person who commits a carded offense serves the penalty.  A person who receives a Red Card after the game has started may not return to the area visible to the facility, until subsequently allowed.  Players serving Time Penalties proceed swiftly to their team’s Penalty Area, have their Time Penalties posted and counted down in unison with the Game Clock, and serve their Time Penalties, seated, until their expiration or the conclusion of the game, except that, if a player’s release from the Penalty Area would cause too many players to be on the field from his team (as could occur in the case of the expiration of multiple, simultaneous Time Penalties, or Time Penalties to three or more players from the same team), he is released upon the earlier of: (i) the expiration of a teammate’s Time Penalty resulting in fewer than two teammates in the Penalty Area with penalty time remaining, (ii) a stoppage, when permitted by the Referee, or (iii) the next occasion that the ball goes over the perimeter wall.

 11.3        Designation of Penalty Servers: Players are designated by their teams to serve Time Penalties of their team, their Goalkeeper, non-player personnel, and of teammates who receive Red Cards.  In each instance, the designated player may not already be serving a Time Penalty. Time Penalties served by designated players do not count against their personal records, but of those responsible.

 11.4        Short-Handed Play: For each Time Penalty being served by a player, his team shall play with one fewer field player until its expiration; provided that a team may not have fewer than the minimum under Rule 3.1, regardless of the number serving Time Penalties.  Should a player receive a Time Penalty, while two or more teammates are already in the Penalty Area, his team continues to play with the minimum while he joins his teammates in the Area.

 11.5        Exceptions to Penalty Time: Under the following circumstances, Time Penalties either expire prior to their completed countdown, or have the beginning of their countdowns delayed:

(a)                                         Powerplay Goal: If a team is scored upon having fewer players on the field of play, due to one or more players serving Time Penalties, a player from the team is released from the Penalty Area into the field of play, unless prohibited under Rule 11.2, and the player’s Penalty or Penalties are wiped out.  If the team has two players in the Penalty Area, only the player whose Time Penalty or Penalties are recorded earlier is affected.

(b)                                         Delayed Penalty: See Rule 11.6.

(c)                                         Multiple Penalties: If two teammates are serving Time Penalties when another teammate is penalized, his Time Penalty does not begin to count down until at least one of the teammates’ Time Penalties has expired and his Time Penalty is next to begin.

(d)                                                         Release of Teammates Serving Simultaneous Time Penalties: When two or more teammates’ Time Penalties expire simultaneously, the order in which they are recorded dictates the order of their release.

(e)                                         Simultaneous Ejections: When two simultaneous Red Cards carrying the same Time Penalties are assessed to opposing players, their Time Penalties are not served.

(f)                                          Maximum Time Penalty: No player may receive more than 5 minutes for penalties arising at the same time on the Game Clock, irrespective of the number or nature of accumulated offenses or the fact that one or more teammates may be designated to serve such time.

(g)                                         End of Regulation.  All Time Penalties expire at the end of the Second Half.

 11.6        Delayed Penalty:  In instances where the Referee would issue a Blue Card (when Rules 10.7 applies) or a Yellow Card, but for the “Advantage Rule” (Rule 10.2), he acknowledges the offense by holding the Card above his head until the earlier to occur of the following:

(a)                                                         Opponent’s Possession: The team of the offending player gains control of the ball;

(b)                                                         Stoppage: The Referee stops play for any reason.

Once play is stopped, the offense is recorded and assessed, as customary.  In the event of a powerplay goal, Rule 11.5(a), regarding the release of a player from the Penalty Area, remains applicable.


Rule 12  ‑ Penalty Kicks and Shootouts

While most facilities employ Shootouts for Flagrant Fouls (Rule 10.6) and Tiebreakers in Overtime (Rule 6.1(a)), Penalty Kicks, being more traditional in outdoor soccer and futsal, remain popular.  Shootouts, while arguably creating more pressure, require more of the variety of skills used in regular play and are more exciting to spectators.  Both are accepted under these Rules and left to administrative policy.

 12.1        Penalty Kick: For a Penalty Kick, other than in a Tiebreaker:

(a)                                         All players serving Time Penalties sit in their appropriate Penalty Area.  All players of the attacking team stand behind the Halfway Line and outside of the Center Circle.  Players of the defending team stand behind the Halfway Line and inside of the Center Circle;

(b)                                         The ball is placed at the Free Kick Mark nearer the attacking Goal (Top of the Arch);

(c)                                         The Goalkeeper has at least one foot on his Goal Line and may not move off of it until after the Referee whistles the Penalty Kick to begin and the ball is in play;