Following the release of the walking football (WF) laws in February 2017 by the FA (available here), as produced and established in November 2016, a working group here in the Eastern Algarve has reviewed these laws and produced a set of laws specifically for East Algarve Walking Football (EAWF).

The new laws for use in the Eastern Algarve sessions at Olhao and Tavira, and for all competitions run by the EAWF group will come into force in October 2017.

A Players’ Guide

Player Safety

The following applies in all walking football sessions (and also running football sessions with players aged 50+ present):

If, during the course of play, a player falls to the ground under any circumstance the referee should blow the whistle to stop play immediately. In case the referee does not see the fall, players should draw the referee’s attention to it.


Jewellery such as watches and bracelets must be removed. If rings are worn they must be taped.

Some players may need to wear a medical device on their wrist. These must be covered with a sports wrist band.

It is advisable to wear shin pads. These must be covered by socks.


The kick-in is a method of restarting play. A goal cannot be scored directly from a kick-in. A kick-in is awarded if the whole of the ball passes over a touch line either on the ground or in the air. A kick-in is taken from the place where the ball crossed the touchline.

The kick-in is awarded to the opponents of the player who last touched the ball. The goalkeeper may commence play with either a kick-in off the ground or a throw-in. The throw-in must be delivered underarm.

Free kicks

A free kick is awarded to the opposing team if a player commits any of the following offences:

  1. Running (including running by the goalkeeper)
  2. Kicks or attempts to kick an opponent
  3. Deliberately heads the ball
  4. Slides in an attempt to play the ball (sliding tackle); additionally, no playing from the floor is permitted
  5. Plays in a dangerous manner
  6. If the goalkeeper touches or controls the ball with their hands or feet, in the penalty area, for more than six seconds
  7. If the goalkeeper receives the ball back directly from a team mate to whom they have just passed the ball without the ball having made contact with any other player
  8. If a player receives the ball back from the goalkeeper, without the ball having made contact with any other player, having just passed it to him
  9. If the goalkeeper handles the ball after he receives the ball from a deliberate pass-back
  10. Deliberately impedes the progress of an opponent when the ball is not being played
  11. Prevents the goalkeeper from releasing the ball from their hands
  12. Jumps at an opponent
  13. Charges an opponent, even with the shoulder
  14. Tackles an opponent from behind or uses excessive force
  15. An attacker enters the 6 metre semi-circle goal area
  16. If any player takes more than three touches of the ball without any other player touching it; players are not allowed to shield the ball following their three consecutive touches.
  17. Deliberately handles the ball

When a free kick is awarded defenders must move away at least 3 metres from where the ball is placed.

Penalties will be awarded if the goalkeeper exits the 6 metre semi-circle or a defender enters this area. The referee has discretion to allow for momentum after the ball has been played.

All free kicks will be indirect. Any free kick awarded closer than 3 metres to the goal area will be taken 3 metres away from the goal area delineation line, including the goalkeeper handling the ball from a pass-back by a team mate. Any attempt to delay the taking of a free kick is a cautionable offence (see below).

Height of ball restrictions

A height restriction is set at a designated height of 6 feet (1.83 metres), above which an indirect free kick shall be awarded to the opposing team (even if this occurs accidentally). The only exception to this is if the height of the crossbar exceeds 6 feet, in which instance the height restriction is played to the height of the crossbar.

The only exception to this rule is if the ball exceeds the designated height when the goalkeeper makes a save. In this instance one of the following three scenarios will take place: 1) If the ball deflects off the goalkeeper in the process of making a save and exceeds bar height before returning into play the ball will be deemed dead and will be returned to the goalkeeper. 2) If the ball deflects off the goalkeeper in the process of making a save and exceeds bar height but then drops into the goal a goal will be awarded. 3) If the ball deflects off the goalkeeper in the process of making a save, and exceeds bar height, but then directly leaves the field of play a corner or kick-in will be awarded, depending at which point the ball left the field of play.

Disciplinary sanctions

The use of temporary time suspensions (“sin bins”), a warning yellow card, and the exclusion of a player arising from the issuing of a red card are the disciplinary sanctions for use in East Algarve walking football.

Match officials will employ the use of either yellow cards as warnings or blue cards as temporary timed suspensions in all cases traditionally regarded as cautionable offences. A blue card offence should always be accompanied by a temporary suspension from play of at least two minutes in duration. The release of players from a temporary suspension should be at the direction of the Referee or a Match Official if one is available.

Sending-off offences

A player is shown the red card and sent off if he/she commits any of the following offences:

  1. Is guilty of serious foul play
  2. Is guilty of violent conduct
  3. Spits at an opponent or any other person
  4. Denies the opposing team a goal or an obvious goal-scoring opportunity by deliberately handling the ball (this does not apply to a goalkeeper within their own penalty area)
  5. Denies an obvious goal-scoring opportunity to an opponent moving towards the player’s goal by an offence punishable by a free kick or a penalty kick
  6. Uses offensive, insulting, or abusive language
  7. Receives a second blue card in the same match

Warning offences/Temporary timed suspensions

A player is either shown a yellow card or a blue card (and temporarily excluded from play) if he/she commits any of the following offences at the referee’s discretion:

  1. Is guilty of unsporting behaviour
  2. Shows dissent by word or action
  3. Persistently infringes the Laws of the Game
  4. Delays the restart of play
  5. Fails to respect the required distance when play is restarted with a corner kick, kick-in, free kick, or goal clearance
  6. Enters or re-enters the pitch without the referee’s permission or infringes the substitution procedure
  7. Deliberately leaves the pitch without the referee’s permission
  8. If a player is penalised on three occasions for infringing the walking rule

Please note that all referee’s decisions are final, and there is no appeals procedure.

Please study these laws and familiarise yourselves with them.



The above rules will apply to all tournaments organised by EAWF.

The two other main tournaments we contest in Vilamoura and Albufeira may play to slightly different rules as we are not responsible for their organisation. Those playing will be made aware of those rules prior to the tournament once we receive them.