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

The next Indoor 4v4 Mini-League will take place in: TO BE CONFIRMED.

To see how we measure the 4v4 programme, visit the 4v4 Evaluation page


Objective: To promote children's football for children by children; to help in the development of creative, confident, skilful footballers; and to enhance joy through play.

The first Mini League ran for three weeks in July 2011. For a full review of this event, including parent feedback click here.

In both the Summer Mini-League and the Indoor Mini-League, we will hold true to our core values of inclusion, enjoyment, creativity and learning. We will seek parental involvement and support from those who believe in the same values.

Questions?: Contact Mark (07772 716 87607772 716 876 ) at Ministry of Football.

Related pages:

Small-sided games

Parent and Child feedback from previous Mini-Leagues:

 "The free-format style of play that MoF stands for as well as the encouragement for team play above score-line. The closeness of the games."

"I liked the ethos about children being allowed to play free from pressure and instruction from parents. Emile says that he liked it that there were referees for all the matches."

"They really enjoyed it. It was their first time so we did not know what to expect but they are already talking about the next one."

"Referees were very fair, games were closely matched."

"The emphasis on fair play and celebrating mixed ability. The fast pace of the format."

"Great Atmosphere, games played in the right spirit, Kashish just enjoyed playing in a team."

"It was a short season that didn't require a lot of time commitment and my son had a blast."

"The way that the matches are organised and refereed, the chance to play against each other in a fun and relaxed way."

"Johnny thought it was fun, and a challenge to play against older players, and see their skills. I thought it was a great test of the boys character to be tested by older teams. I thought they dealt with it really well."

"The ethos, the atmosphere, such a great opportunity for children to play together and have fun!"

"The kids enjoyed the mix of abilities across all the teams they encountered. The kids also liked the fact that the parents were not in the hall."

"Small team size meant each child played a full role in team, short matches kept kids interested, only four weeks commitment kept parents happy."

"He got inspired, loved the games and enjoyed the camerardarie."

"Competitive edge adds excitement for players while 4 a side means that they're all involved for the whole of the game."

"The opportunity for Nicholas to exercise the skills he has learnt. Also, the general friendly, competitive, non pressure atmosphere that existed on the days, which enabled the kids to have fun."

"Good spirit in most teams and low team size enabling a high level of possesion for each player."

"Great way of introducing children to team sports making them socially aware."

"Only 4 in a team meant they all played a lot. Liked the emphasis on fun rather than winning,"

"The chance to play proper competitive football games without commiting to a weekly league."

"The league really improved their confidence and gave them the opportunity to compete in a supportive environment."

"Good for players who dont regularly play in leagues or for teams - gives them the opportunity to have a go."

"A chance for those kids who love to play football to just play and play..."

"A fantastic, fun opportunity to put skills into practice."

"I like that you used corners because most similar football leagues don't allow corners."

"Liked the competitive matches and scoring lots of goals. Liked playing in a team and being in league."

"She enjoyed the the games and putting into action all she had been learning at training. The parents all seemed to be enjoying the games, judging by the cheering."

"Very well organised, Looked forward to it every week. Lots of good matches."

"It gave Brandon and his team mates their first taste of competitive football. It also allowed the kids to put into practice the skills they have learnt."

"I liked the organisation, the absence of parents in the sports hall, kids getting a chance to play some competitive matches without major commitment. William loved 'playing real matches' and playing with a team."

"Small teams, the length and times of games. No parents, no coaches, being able just to play without worrying about training. Really good fun in the league & very instant reward /results."

"Great to place fast, fun and free football."

"Tim (parent) - liked the format, children left to make their own decisions is a great feature. Ben (child) - I liked the size of the pitch and the goals as well as the rules."

"Quick turnaround of games. Friendly atmosphere, regular updates via e-mail, exciting nature of games, good sportsmanship."

"Cecily liked the competitive edge. Axel liked the notion of being in a league and the challenge of playing other quality teams."

"Small sided games; children encouraged to make their own decisions. The ability for the players to have lots of touches of the ball. Nathan liked the fact that you can score lots of goals as there were only 4 players."

"The boys really enjoyed it and this is thanks to you as patient coaches and a good format. They have learning to win and lose with some grace and fortitude."

"Lucas liked the fact he got to play with his friends in a team against other teams and he got a ball. I liked fact that the boys looked forward to this more than anything all week."

"Fun, simple, convenient James liked the action packed games."

"Lots of touches ... good development. Lots of problem solving."

"Run efficiently and in a friendly manor. Kian enjoyed playing every match, even though losing or drawing most, he seemed to have great fun playing."

"The freedom for children to play and have fun rather than rigid training."

"Fast moving, Good guidance, kids love it. All action!"

"I like the fact that it is short term and focused. I think it is great that the parents are excluded! The rules are clear and they teach the youngsters how to behave in a sporting manner. My son likes playing competitive games with his friends. He is pleased they can take it in turns be in goal."

"William said 'I liked the fact that we played different teams each week and that it was a competition'. I love the fact that parents are kept out of the sports hall. Children have to make all the decisions themselves. I hate going to sports matches where the children are bellowed at by coaches and parents. Often its the parents who win a match not their children."

"I like the fact that the children make all the decisions and the parents cant coach or help. The kids make great decisions when left alone. Tyler liked the length of the games and that the parents were outside and left them alone."

"Great chance to play in a small team - fun and exciting for the kids."

"A great spirit of competition that nonetheless didn't undermine the weaker teams. My son loved playing in a self-selected team with his schoolfriends, against new opposition."

"Efficient. Two matches. No subs. Lots of touches. Defending / Attacking situations on appropriate size pitch which means that the player on the ball is put under pressure for most of the match. Parents are separated from action by glass which allows the kids to get on with it."

"Lucas liked the fact he got to play with his friends in a team against other teams and he got a ball (as a prize). I liked fact that the boys looked forward to this more than anything all week."

"Lots of touches ... good development. Lots of problem solving."

"Run efficiently and in a friendly manor. Kian enjoyed playing every match, even though losing or drawing most, he seemed to have great fun playing."

"Fun, simple, convenient. James liked the action packed games."

"The freedom for children to play and have fun rather than rigid training."

"Barney said 'The best thing about the league was that we had fun playing and it was great to get a reward at the end. I enjoyed getting to learn some new rules' "