Under 7 and Under 8



This page is dedicated to the Development Section. In other words, Under 7 and Under 8 teams. It is essential reading for anyone involved with teams at this age-group.

The points are specific to these age-groups and might not apply at other ages. Please also note that as we make slight changes each year, these points apply to the current season only.

We've tried to summarize the key points into sections for ease of reference. If you have any questions, please speak with your Club Secretary who will get formal clarification from the League. Alternatively, please speak with the League Representative on match day.

The League hosts a meeting for all managers just before the start of every season. There, we go through the points below in detail and answer any questions. Interested parents are most welcome. This season's meeting was held on  Thursday 4th September 2014 in the Nightingale Hall at the Rolls-Royce Social Club in Derby. 

'Friendly Football'

Under 7 and Under 8 football is classified as 'friendly football' by the FA. This means there are no League tables and no champions or runners up. There are no trophies or awards. No promotion and no relegation. Most importantly, no one must publish scores or try to construct League tables either on Club/Team websites or via personal social media.

Nevertheless, matches are still played in a competitive spirit with each team trying their best to win.  

There are two huge advantages in this approach. Firstly, teams can focus on fun and player development and not worry about the score. Players can enjoy the game and gain experience by playing in different positions and everyone can get equal time on the pitch. Secondly, there is no fixture schedule to complete. This means teams might play each other once, twice, three, four times or not at all; teams can take as many rest days as they need and we can carry on into the summer if there's demand or, stop at anytime.

On the downside, teams are not bound by League Rules and our penalty structure (fines). As a result, the only action we can take against teams who break our rules or codes of conduct is to limit their fixtures. Poorly behaved teams get fewer fixtures!

Codes Of Conduct

The following will be common sense to most adults;

  • We expect everyone to applaud good play no matter if its their own team or the opposition.
  • Bad language and raised voices towards the children or other supporters is not tolerated and can lead to expulsion of the individual.
  • Players should shake hands after the match.
  • The referee must be supported at all times.
  • Players must be encouraged by all adults to accept winning and losing in equal proportion.  
  • High standards of behavior are expected at all time.


Derby Racecourse and Leesbrook Community School are the homes of the Development Section. All matches are played on artificial and when necessary floodlit pitches. 

There are usually six kick off slots throughout the day starting at 10:00 am. We have the capacity to host 4 matches at each slot (8 teams). 

NB There is no allowance or leeway for managers who choose to run more than one team!!! This is not encouraged by the League. We will not move fixtures around simply because managers have a clash in commitments. The League expects that every team, across all age-groups, will have a dedicated manager (its what the kids deserve).

Matches start on the weekend after the children return to school in September. Fixtures continue into May.

Match day Arrangements - Parents

Access around the site and into the car park next to the pitch at Mackworth is via a single track road. Those leaving the site have right of way. This, coupled with a speed limit of 5 mph, means that access is difficult - parents must arrive in plenty of time for their match. 

There is a burger van on site. Toilets and changing facilities are available in the main reception area. Parking on the grass is not allowed.

Everyone must remain behind the respect rope at all times (including managers) and no one is allowed to stand where there is no rope.

Match-day Arrangements - Managers

Managers and substitutes must stay in the area down the centre of the ATP inbetween the pitches. IE on the opposite side as the Supporters/Parents. Everyone should be in club colours.

Warming up on the grass outside the ATP is not permitted as players will bring mud and grass onto the playing area. Warming up on the pitch is permitted once the referee blows the final whistle for the preceding match.

The venue requires setting up prior to the first kick off of the day. Goals have to be rolled into place and the respect rope needs putting out. This is done by the teams. The League Representative will give the necessary guidance but please arrive in plenty of time to get this done!

Similarly, the respect ropes need putting away at after the last matches. Again, the League Representative will give guidance.

All matches are 20 minutes each way. There is no injury or stoppage time. Half time is limited to a maximum of 5 minutes. Teams must be ready to kick off on time. If there is a delay, the referee will deduct this from the set playing time. All matches must finish at least 15 minutes before the next kick off even if this means teams not getting their full 40 minutes of playing time due to a late start.

The 'home' team must provide a size 3 quality match ball acceptable to the referee and if the ref feels there's a color clash, the 'away' team will be asked to wear bibs. 

Substitutes must not warm up or kick balls about inside the perimeter area whilst matches are underway. Also, the League insists that all players get at least half a match (ie 20 minutes). For this reason we strongly suggest managers limit the size of their squad on match day. The optimum number of substitutes is two to three players. 

The surface is sand-based ATP and the correct footwear must be worn. To be absolutely clear, no form of stud or blade will be allowed whatsoever. Here's a graphic of the different types of boot. Please make sure the children wear the correct footwear or they will be prevented from playing.

Peaked caps are not allowed but beanies are fine. Players do not have to wear a team strip but can wear bibs over their own playing kit if necessary. Shinpads are compulsory and if joggers are worn in place of thermal leggings, they must be worn UNDER the playing kit.

Finally, please be aware that managers are responsible for the behaviour of their supporters and their squad.  An individual who misbehaves will reflect directly on the Club in question and could result in the game being abandoned and the offending Club removed from the fixture list. Respect Ambassadors will help to bring instances of poor behaviour to the Managers attention.

Laws Of The Game

In terms of Laws Of The Game, the League has adopted the standard FA mini-soccer handbook. This includes the new Law concerning the retreat line for goal kicks, and a little leniency on throw-ins.

This seems an appropriate opportunity to point out one common misconception - the 'pass-back' Law is the same in mini-soccer as in full 11v11 adult football; the goal keeper is not allowed to pick up a ball deliberately passed to him by one of his/her own team.

Cautions and dismissals are not common. Referees will often ask managers to substitute offending players on the odd occasion when a transgression occurs. They may re-join the game once the manager is sure the player understands their error. However, cautions and dismissals are still possible.

Matches at the Powerleague are slightly different. As the ball cannot go out of play, we adopt the Futsal ruling on substitutions (managers do not have to ask the referees permission to make a substitution and play is NOT stopped for substitutions to take place). If the ball gets stuck in the netting, either a goal kick or a 'kick in' is awarded. New for this season's indoor matches at the Powerleague; goal keepers are not allowed to kick the ball over the half way line. Either off the floor or out of hands. They must pass it to a player in their own half. 


The League will endeavour to appoint League Referees to all matches. However, if this is not possible, we expect the 'home' team to ref the first half and the 'away' team to ref the second half. Clubs/teams must cater for this by ensuring they have a suitable volunteer at hand. Managers are not expected to referee matches as they must be free to coach the team and administer the supporters.

Referees appointed by the League are entitled to a fee. This varies year-by-year and is payable by both teams before the match.

Please note that the vast majority of League appointed referees are below the age of 18. This is, after all, the Development Section, and we use it to train new referees. They are all learning. They will not be perfect. However, they must be encouraged and supported at all times by everyone. Any form of insulting behaviour or disrespect towards them will be dealt with most severely by the League.

Family Friendly - Closed Dates and Rest Days


The Development Section is designed to be 'family friendly'. Teams can request time off at anytime provided they give the League a month's notice so we can rearrange fixtures (there are plenty of teams with rostered days off who will jump at the chance of an extra match).


Fixtures are released on the FA's Full-Time website. Although they are published well in advance, they are subject to change up until the Monday before the match.

Bad Weather

Because of the age of the children, matches are cancelled if there is a forecast of persistent rain throughout the day or if the temperature is not predicted to get much above freezing. This can often be the source of annoyance as weather forecasts can be wrong. The League has often called off matches with the best intentions only to find the weather on the day is perfect!

Player Registrations

Although Club Secretaries must register all players with the League, we do not issue ID cards at U7 and U8. Clubs are responsible for identifying the age of every player and ensuring they play in the correct team. The League reserves the right to challenge any player's eligibility and offending Clubs might be asked to withdraw from the fixture schedule for a period.

Pay On The Day?

The only expense on the day is the payment of the League appointed referee (£7.50 from each team). All other costs are invoiced to the parent Club and spread across the season to make it easy on the pocket!

Confused? Don't be afraid to get in touch.