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6 reasons why 5-a-side football is as exciting as 11-a-side football

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Modified 20 Dec 2019, 06:31 IST

5-a-side football is a smaller version of “the beautiful game” we are all so passionate about. It started in UK in the1950’s when was it was played by professional teams. For the past two decades it has been growing the fastest with an estimated 5 million people playing the sport regularly across the world.

The structure


Five a side football is played on a smaller pitch than the traditional football pitch and has smaller goals with reduced game duration. It is a 5 member team sport which has 4 outfield players, 1 goalkeeper with 3 or less substitutes. There are also some differences in the rules, such as no offside rules, unlimited rolling substitutions etc.

So why is 5-a-side football as exciting as 11-a-side football?

Let’s be honest, when it comes to having a full experience it’ difficult to compete with 11-a-side football with heading, slide tackling, long balls all being part of the game but there are some reasons why 5-a-side football is just as exciting – 

1. More touches, more skills, more play!

Since the length of the pitch is smaller with fewer players being part of the game, you’re never really far from the action. A study found that players have over 4 times the touches in 60 mins of game time of 5-a-side than a full 90-min game of 11-a-side football.


Because of the format, every player is more involved in the game and the focus of the game turns to the core principles of football – passing, dribbling, possession and shooting.

2. Better for fitness

Yes, because you’re constantly involved when you’re playing 5-a-side, you’re required to repeatedly perform bursts of high-intensity exercise which has been shown to rake up your fitness levels quicker. 5-a-side football is an incredible game for developing fitness and as well as lowering blood pressure and cholesterol. It’s not just about physical fitness, it also serves to be a great mental release.

The dynamic nature of the game, unique puzzles like breaking the formation, anticipating the ball and the inherent challenges associated with the game makes it as much a mental workout as it is a physical one. It significantly contributes to a player’s mental wellbeing.

3. Better facilities

When it comes to amateur level football there’s no debate as the facilities on offer to 5-a-side players are far superior to the 11-a-side game. The number of arenas across cities are a lot more. Many of them are all well-lit for evening football, so people don’t have to worry about playing in the hot sun or have to worry about not getting the ground to play at all.

The quality of the turf is generally good with astro grass which also leads to fewer injuries. All you need to worry about is honing your skills, improving your game and having a quality time!

4. Less dependent on weather

5-a-side is an all season sport. It is almost immune against light spells of shower or sun. Infact, it is a game that can be enjoyed in rains. Worried about getting a sun tan? The option of playing evening football gives you the luxury of playing when the sun isn't there. We are familiar with the misery of having games being called off in an 11-a-side football because the pitches tend to become soggy and the game can’t be played at a level you wish to because of the pitch being affected by adverse weather conditions.

5. More convenient and easier to organize

We are now spoilt for choice in terms of 5-a-side grounds available. Most urban dwellers will have a ground functioning within a 10 km radius of their homes.

Also, in terms of getting a team and participating in the numerous leagues and tournaments that are present, you only need 4 more friends to get started. It might still feel like hard work rounding up a squad of 5 players at times, but be thankful that you’re not trying to find a team of 11.

6. Informal taking a professional front

5-a-side football is usually played informally but there are world bodies being set up which are trying to bring a professional structure to 5-a-side. F5WC i.e. Football Fives World Cup is the largest governing body for this. It is the world's largest amateur five a side football tournament with more than 32 nations participating that happens every year in Thailand.

Getting more region specific, we have UK mini football association, American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO), United States Youth Soccer Association (U.S. Youth Soccer or USYSA) to name a few. 5-a-side football has also been played at the Summer Paralympics since 2004. Clearly a sport for all!

In India we have India Football Tour which is a 5-a-side amateur tournament happening across 8 major cities with about 250 team participating. The winners of the India Football Tour 2016 will directly reach the India qualifying bench for the F5WC 2017.

At any given point in a month there are numerous leagues and tournaments also happening at local levels. These are the kind organised by turf owners to keep their clientele engaged and entertained.

Apart from all of these benefits, playing 5-a-side football is a lot of fun and, if you love football, 5-a-side gives you the most intense experience, with more involvement in the game, better facilities at an amateur level and more value for money. No wonder it proves to be popular with millions of people all over the world.

Published 07 Feb 2016, 22:37 IST
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