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Version control: Original 1990 / Updated 1999 / Updated 2003 / Updated 2010 / Updated 2015/ Updated February 2023/ 

Updated March 2023


The information on this page looks at competitive football and social football.

Competitive Football (Soccer)


You must refer to the Requirements for All Sport and Physical Activity (PDF 466KB) to understand your overall compliance responsibilities.

Where considered appropriate, for example inclusion in a school sport program, parents or caregivers must be informed of full details of the location, supervision to be provided and activities to be undertaken when seeking their written permission.

Teacher/Instructor Qualifications and Experience

The appropriate level of expertise and/or training required to conduct an activity will be dependent on whether the teacher's/instructor's role is one of supervision, instruction or coaching. Other factors to be considered are the nature of the activity, the age, ability and experience of the students involved.

Football NSW or Football Australia offer the following accreditation courses:

A teacher must be present who has recognised current emergency care training.

Specific sport support for Football is provided in the Teacher resource hub.


Where an adult other than a teacher is engaged to provide instruction, a teacher must be present to take overall responsibility.

It is recommended that a qualified referee be used for inter-school competitions.


Shin guards made of suitable material (rubber/plastic) are compulsory.

Students are to wear appropriate footwear such as soccer boots or sports shoes. If football boots are to be worn, no student should be permitted to play in any other type of footwear. Boots must be inspected prior to the commencement of each game to ensure that studs do not have sharp edges or are excessively worn. Boots must conform to the Laws of the Game.

Goal posts and cross bars must be checked for stability prior to each game. Portable goal posts must be effectively anchored. Portable goal posts must comply with - Soccer Goalposts - make safety your goal. Where possible, nets should be used.

Corner flags made of non-injurious material are to be at least 1.5 metres high and not pointed at the top, should be placed in each corner.

Flag posts may also be placed at each end of the halfway line, not less than 1 metre outside the touch line.

Principals and teachers are advised that when conducting individual activity based ‘training sessions’ and or skill sessions the use of safety equipment (eg shin guards, mouth guards) may be optional after considering the level of risk involved and assessing any possible risk as minimal.


The ground surface must be free of obstructions and loose objects. Hydrated lime should not be used to mark fields. For further information go to - Prohibited use of flammable liquids for the markings of playing fields.

Spectators must be positioned at an appropriate distance from the field of play during play.


Students must not use equipment or wear anything that may cause injury to themselves or other players. All jewellery must be removed. Further information of this issue is contained in Laws of the Game.

Warm-up and cool-down are vital elements in preventing injury and should be included before and after all training and competition sessions. Stretching activities performed in the warm-up should move the muscles through the full range of movement.

The warm-up should be continuous and lead into the training session. Further information is available at FIFA Injury Prevention.

Where injury occurs during the game, the student must be excluded wherever there is any doubt as to the extent of injury or fitness to continue.

Teacher and coaches must exclude students from returning to playing after injury until it is clear that the student is fit to resume. If there is any doubt, the student is not to play until medically cleared.

Students must be made aware of the rules regarding foul play and misconduct. Further information of this issue is contained in Laws of the Game.

Students are to be instructed to use adequate sun protection, e.g. an SPF50+, broad spectrum, water resistant sunscreen reapplied regularly.

Where possible, ice should be available for the treatment of injuries.

Should an injury occur involving bleeding these procedures should be followed

  • Participants who are bleeding must have the wound dressed and securely covered.
  • All clothing, equipment and surfaces contaminated by blood must be viewed as potentially infectious and treated accordingly.
  • Any blood covered body area (and surface area where appropriate), must be cleaned thoroughly and any blood covered clothing and equipment cleaned or removed prior to the participant recommencing the activity.

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Social Football (Soccer)

Social football is best described as playground / park football games that are informal. These games may be small sided or have more people playing on each side than a competitive game.

Social football also includes training activities and games conducted during Physical Education and Sport lessons, where participants are not wearing football boots.


A teacher must be present to take overall responsibility. In a social game of football, the teacher is there to provide overall duty of care rather than specific instruction related to skill development or rules of play.

Many social games will not have a referee, rather players will keep score and rules of play kept to a minimum.


Students are not permitted to wear football boots during social games. Students must wear soft shoes that are more pliable than a typical football boot and without a rigid studded sole.

When a match is not considered competitive (or a match where football boots are not being worn) shin guards are not compulsory.

If goalposts are in use for a social game, they must be checked for stability prior to each game. Portable goal posts must be effectively anchored. Portable goal posts must comply with - Soccer Goalposts - make safety your goal.


The playing surface must be free of obstructions and loose objects.

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