No coaches, no coaching, no substitutes

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How it works

Each team has four players. If a player can't play for any reason, then that team can either find a friend to play instead, or play with just three players (3v4).

All adults will adhere to the Code of Conduct for the event. There will be no coaches or coaching from parents or spectators.

There will be no team-kits. If Team Organisers want to arrange for their team to wear the same colour, they can. Or there will be bibs available if the children want them.

Our Mini-Leagues last for just three or four weeks, so you can enjoy being part of a team without having to commit to the usual 8-month-long football season. All our Mini-League games are held at the same local venue so you don't need to spend hours in a weekend traffic jam searching for a distant away game venue. (Children's football shouldn't be about traffic jams or getting frozen on icey fields).

There are two types of Mini-League: The Summer Mini-League and the Indoor Mini-League. Read below for a description of each.

Indoor Mini-Leagues

The Indoor Mini League is a competitive, indoor tournament for 4-aside teams. We have referees, keep scores and update league tables after each set of games.

However, there are no coaches or coaching. Parents and spectators watch games from a viewing area, and the children play uninterrupted by adult instruction or tuition.

Summer Mini-Leagues

The Summer Mini League is a non-competitive, outdoor event for children of all ages and abilities. We do not keep scores and we do not have league tables.

The children will referee their own games, under the supervision of MoF Coaches. There will be a variety of small-sided game formats used. Some may need goalkeepers, other won't. We will use a variety of different goalposts also - some small pop-up goals, and other larger Samba goals.

In the event of very bad weather, we will postpone games for a week. But be prepared to play in any weather.


4v4: Evaluation Page

The first-ever Ministry of Football 4v4 Summer Mini-League took place in July 2011. 22 teams took part, and a total of over 100 children played and enjoyed mini-football in the sunshine.

The first-ever Indoor Mini-League took place in November 2011, with 12 teams competing across two divisions. Congratulations to Rock United and Lesterpool FC on winning their divisions. 16 teams took part in the Indoor Mini-Leagues in 2012, with 8 teams in each division.

There were three Mini-Leagues in 2013 and a further two in 2014. In 2015, one of our MoF coaches, Pete Samways, started the 4v4 event at Fortismere on Saturday afternoons to provide small-sided games for teams of four on a weekly basis. You can read about this here:



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4v4 Mini-Leagues: Evaluation

We take evaluation seriously. We think it can make us better at what we do. On this page, we look at the statistics behind our 4v4 Mini-League programme. These help tell us if we're heading in the right direction and where we need to improve.

Section 1: LEARNING

At MoF, we believe the main teacher of football is the game itself. Football is opposed by nature, and the main learning aids for the children are each other. This is especially true in our Mini-Leagues, where no coaches or coaching are allowed.

If games are not close contests, then learning is not happening at its best. Teams need to be grouped well within leagues, such that games are close. And children need to be grouped well within teams, such that they all have a chance to play at their level.

Figure 1.a: Games where both teams score (dark green area)

 Figure 1.b: Games won by <5 goals (dark green area)

Figure 1.c: Standard deviation of Points in each division ("closeness" of spread of teams)

(League 1 is the oldest division)


Section 2: INCLUSION

The 4v4 Mini-League is open to all players of all ability level within certain school years. The two groups we want to ensure are included are (a) summer born children and (b) girls.

Figure 2.b: Month of birth of all players


Figure 2.c: Number of girl players included 

Mar-12 Nov-12 Mar-13 Jun-13 Nov-13 Jun-14 Nov-14
7 / 80 1 / 76 5 / 81 14 / 130 3 / 92 5 / 76 9 / 79
9% 1% 6.2% 10.8% 3.3% 6.6% 11.4%



If the Mini-League is a success, then we will see it grow. Children and teams will want to re-enter into the competition if they have enjoyed themselves.

Figure 3.a: Children returning to the next 4v4 Mini-League

Figure 3.b: Numbers of teams and players

  Mar-12 Nov-12 Mar-13 Jun-13 Nov-13 Jun-14 Nov-14
Number of teams 16 16 16 24 18 16 16
Number of players 81 77 82 130 92 76 79



We have a Code of Conduct at MoF. This sets out what we believe and what we expect of parents, spectators and children.

Figure 4.a: Percentage of parents who read/agreed with our Code of Conduct (of those who completed feedback survey)

Mar-12 Nov-12 Mar-13 Jun-13 Nov-13 Jun-14 Nov-14
Read Code of Conduct 93% 89% 87% 85% 74% 89% 92%
Agree with Code of Conduct 100% 100% 100% 100% 96% 100% 100%



At the end of each Mini-League, we seek the views of parents, families and children.

Figure 5.a: Parent and child overall feedback on event (of those who completed feedback survey)




Aside from statistics, another way that we know we are doing things well is when professionals or experts (in football and learning) recognise what we are doing as worthwhile.


Nick Levett, Football Development Manager at the FA, used our 4v4 Mini-League video as a show case of good practice at youth review workshops.



Return to the main 4v4 Mini-Leagues home page.