Rules & Guidelines

So you're curious?  The best way to learn how to play is to find a game in your area using the ‘Gamefinder’ feature on our Homepage. For a free rulebook with complete rules and guidelines, email:  Subject heading: rulebook

But if there isn't a game in your area, here's how to get one started...

The Basics

  1. circle rules football is played on a circular field (~50 meters diameter) with one goal in the center (2 or 4 meters wide, 3 meters tall), and a gameball, roughly equivalent to a 55cm physio ball
  2. Each team scores through opposite directions of the same goal
  3. Around the goal there is a circle called the ‘key’ (6 or 8 meters diameter)
  4. Instead of a coin flip, the game begins with a Downup. One player from each team competes standing opposite each other. On the referee’s signal, the first player to touch both shoulder blades to the ground simultaneously and return to the standing position wins. The winner decides which direction their team will score and whether to kick or receive at the onset of a match.
  5. If a player on the defense touches the ball inside the key, the opposing team takes a penalty shot, a direct kick 15 meters from the goal, with all other players remaining on the opposite side of the midline until the ball crosses the midline (like a free throw).
  6. If a player on offense touches the ball inside the key, that player is suspended for one minute with no substitute. The opposing team gets an indirect kick from the spot of the foul.
  7. When playing with five or more players per team, each team is allowed only one goalkeeper inside the key. These goalkeepers may not score for their own team, but may defend.
  8. Key violations in goalkeeper games (10+ players), are all penalized as one minute suspensions. In addition, non-goalkeeper players who enter the key but do not touch the ball are suspended for 30 seconds.
  9. Goalkeepers (when applicable) have full contact with each other within the key. Striking, grappling, and contact above the neck is prohibited.  (Think of it like boxing out in basketball or offensive line in American Football)
  10. All players may touch the gameball with any body part, but may not hold or sit on the ball. Both hands on the ball at once is holding. More than 50% of your body weight resting on the ball in a stationary position is Sitting.
  11. Contact between players (goalkeepers excluded) is minimal. ‘Go for the ball, not the player’. Stationary picks or screens are allowed.
  12. When a goal is scored, the scoring team starts inside the key, and may kickoff in any direction they choose. The kicking team may not leave the key until the receiving team has touched the ball.
  13. An Official game is typically played in four, fifteen minute periods.

Thanks for playing!  Feel free to email with any questions.


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