The Football Association of Wales (FAW) recognises that children do not perform the same as adults in an 11-a-side game. Therefore a modified version is required to meet the developmental needs of young players while maintaining all the features and essence of the full game. Mini Football is recognised by the FAW as the only form of football in Wales for children Under 11 years of age.


Mini Football is a modified version of the 11-a-side game. It gives children the chance to play real football, for a real team, whilst experiencing an enjoyable and fun introduction to football through small sided games.


All available research shows that children have more fun and learn more playing a game within smaller teams. Mini Football is therefore ideal for girls and boys under 11 years of age in terms of maximizing their enjoyment and technical/skill development.



1. Take an active part in the game and have fun without any pressure from parents, coaches or managers.

2. Learn to play within a team.

3. Understand and observe the rules of football.

4. Develop the skills and techniques to play football.

5. Be able to take part whatever their ability.

6. Have plenty of contact with the ball.


Mini football is for girls and boys aged 5 to 11 of all abilities who are interested in football (all children of primary school age). The FAW believes that children should learn how to compete to win fairly, skillfully and within the rules of the game. At this age striving to win is more important than the outcome, winning is not everything, making the effort is.

Mini Football:

1. Recognises that children do not perform and compete as adults and therefore its rules are adapted to meet the needs of children.

2. Has all the features of real football for children.

3. Recognises the value of competitiveness for children and provides an appropriate environment.

4. Sets a standard and a framework of behaviour on and off the pitch.

5. Is for boys and girls regardless of their ability.

Mini Football FAQs

Q. How will 4v4, 5v5 and 6v6 work? We have lots of children at these age groups so we will need more coaches if you are saying one coach per team.

A. According to the Club Accreditation criteria the required ratio of coach to players is 1 to 16 with an additional CRB checked volunteer. Should clubs adhere to this criteria no additional staffing is required.

Rather than home and away fixtures for the smaller-sided teams, running Central Venue fixtures would alleviate that problem as players, parents and coaches are in one place.

Q. Why do we need to change things? Wales are doing something right with the success at U21 level and we have been doing Mini Football for 12 years.

A. Agreed, but there are many parts to ensuring success at U21 level; ensuring that the Talent ID structures, competition structures, Coach Education courses are all right. We are constantly learning from other Football Associations across the world to improve our own structures in Wales.

UEFA have also stipulated that they would approve of member associations to implement small sided games. They recommend a maximum of 4v4 to U8.

Q. We already have Mini football guidelines, why change them?

A. The proposal has been part of the FAW guidelines for many years now and was originally drafted following research into programmes within other countries. Some leagues adopted this format when the guidelines were first produced. We are now moving towards a standardised, nation-wide structure for Mini Football in Wales by formalising these existing guidelines in the FAW regulations. The guidelines have been reappraised because of further research into small sided football conducted by the FAW and UEFA.

Q. Who did you consult with? We don’t feel as though we have been a part of the process!

A. Consultation was carried out with Junior Leagues via Area Associations Forums or Youth and Development committee meetings. Please provide us with feedback on the new structure via the WFT website. We are interested in your opinions!