Non League Daily

A Comprehensive Guide to Football Goalposts

Whether you are in charge of a league team or you’re planning a few recreational games, it’s important to know the various rules and regulations surrounding regulation football goalposts.

In 2013, the Amateur County Football Associations voted in favour of a change to smaller goals and pitch dimensions in youth football. It was though that a switch to smaller dimensions would encourage the development of technical skills amongst youngsters.

There is now a gradual increase in goal and pitch sizes through the age groups, and in order to prepare your players for competitive action, you will need to know what goals and pitch dimensions you should be using during your training sessions.
Goal dimensions

The FA now recommends that the under-7, under-8, under-9 and under-10 age groups should be playing with a goal measuring 6 high and 12 feet across. The first step-up in size takes place when players reach the under-11s age group, which requires the use of a goal measuring 7 feet in height by 16 feet across; under-12s, under-13s and under-14s all play with these dimensions. It isn’t until players reach the under-15s age group that they start to play with full-size regulation goals, which should measure 8 feet in height by 24 feet across.

The standards set out for goal sizes in the shortened versions of football are not so clear. There are no official FA guidelines in relation to 5-a-side and 6-a-side football. However, it seems that most organising committees prefer the use of a goal 12 feet wide by 4 feet high. However, there are some leagues and local competitions using goals measuring 16 feet by 4 feet. There is also an 8-by-4 goal, primarily used in the children’s game.

According to FIFA, there is some flexibility on goal sizes in youth futsal, veteran futsal and the women’s game. However, the official size of a futsal goal is 3 metres across (measured from the inside of each post) by 2 metres high (measured from the ground to the underside of the crossbar).

Other regulations on goalposts
The FA has some strict rules in place regarding goalpost safety. For instance, all goalposts must be securely anchored to the ground at all times. Regular inspections are required, and portable football goals must be dismantled and stored away when not in use. Metal cup hooks on goals were banned in 2007. Net fixings must now be plastic hooks, net grips or tape.

Wooden goalposts are still used in some leagues, and although there is no standard safety accreditation related to them, the FA recommends they are replaced with steel, aluminium or plastic goals as quickly as possible. There are now two safety standards for goalposts sold in the UK – as developed by the FA and the British Standards Institution (BSI). Only goals bearing the standard BSEN 748 (2004) and BS 8462 (2005) should be used in competitive matches.

There is also a Code of Practice BS 8461 relating to the use of goalposts.

The different options available

There are now several goalpost options available – all of which meet the guidelines laid out by the FA. For instance, a club that needs a portable goal to be used in different locations might want to choose a plastic version with easy assembly and carry bag.

There are freestanding aluminium goals and socketed aluminium options complete with steel sockets, lockable caps and safety net clips. The use of freestanding goals requires that ground anchors are used to keep the goal frame firmly in place. These anchors are hammered into the ground.

Of course, not all goals are made for competitive action. Whether you are playing for fun or planning some interesting training drills, there are pop-up goals available that require no assembly. These options are ready to use straight from their carry bag, although they do come with anchoring pegs for stability.

There are strict guidelines in place regarding goal dimensions in competitive football. By having the right goals for the age group, you can prepare yourself and your players fully for the challenges that lie ahead.

Author Bio

Malcolm Cox is a journalist, copywriter and blogger with a catalogue of work in both the online and offline world. Specialising in sport, entertainment and politics, Malcolm writes for online football nets supplier The Soccer Store on a range of issues related to grassroots football and football coaching.

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