Subbuteofest Rules (the differences)

Subbuteo Playing Rules

Based on the 1974 Subbuteo Handbook

Edited by Simon Goodman


The purpose of this document is to explain, in hopefully simple terms, major differences between the Subbuteofest Playing Rules and any other Playing Rules that you might be habitually used to playing.



1. The goalkeeper is placed under the lowest of any back bar on the goal.  The keeper must be upright until any shot is struck but is permitted to move from side to side – SLOWLY.
2. The Goalkeeper is neutral in terms of possession.  After a shot hits the goalkeeper and comes to rest possession goes to the player whose figure is nearest to the ball.  Any doubt it is defender’s possession.
3. The attacker does not get a block flick for a save in the event that they lose possession as described in 2. Above.
4. As a keeper is neutral the attacker can shoot again at a MOVING ball after it has been saved.
5. This doesn’t mean that you cannot force a corner or a throw-in off the keeper – it would not make sense if it wasn’t possible.  As long as the ball goes out of play in the same quarter a throw-in can be forced off the keeper.  For a corner any valid shot deflected over the goal-line by the keeper is a corner.



1. If a game is decided on shots each player should take their five shots consecutively and not by alternating the shooter/keeper as in, for example, the FISTF Playing Rules.



1. The ball can be placed as desired so long as it is touching the touch-line when viewed from above.
2. The figure taking the throw-in must not be on the pitch either before or after taking the throw-in unless it rebounds off the fence.
3. Unless a moving ball from a throw-in is played again by the attacker play is paused while the figure taking the throw-in is placed back to its original position and a block flick is then taken.  Otherwise this is done when the ball comes to rest and any untaken block flick for the attacker’s last flick is taken, assuming that the same player is still in possession.



1. It is a foul if an attacking figure hits a defending figure unless it has first hit the ball. This is unlike other rules where in order to be a foul you would have to hit a defending figure and then the ball.
2. It is not a foul if the attacking figure hits another attacking figure (whether or not the original figure or the figure hit then hits the ball).  In fact if the attacking figure hit then hits the ball, possession is retained.



1. In order to claim offside the defender must have at least one defending figure partly in the defending shooting area.
2. A player can have as many onside flicks as they like as long as they are in possession at the time and request them before taking them.
3. An offside figure cannot be used to play the ball.  If this happens or if the attacker fails to request an onside flick it is a free kick for offside from where the player was flicked.
4. If the through-ball hits a defender and then goes back onto the offside figure then it is not offside.
5. There are no ‘free’ onside flicks – the defender is always entitled to a block flick for the onside flick.



1. A player may not hold onto the fence with their non-flicking hand.  The first time it is a warning, after that an indirect free kick to the opponent.



1. When taking any set piece the attacker cannot play the ball onto another of their figures and then use the set piece taker for the next flick – the ball must be played at by a different figure before the set piece taker can be used again.
2. The attacker can opt not to take their positional flicks but the defender is still allowed to take theirs.
3. There is no ‘distance’ for set pieces but the defender cannot flick a figure to within 3.5” (9cm) of the ball or move any figure that is already with this distance closer to the ball.
4. For a direct free kick inside the shooting area the defender can for a wall of up to four figures rather than take their two positional flicks – the wall must also be at least 3.5” (9cm) from the ball.  Creating the ‘wall’ is the only time that you are allowed to place figures closer than 1” (2.5cm) apart (from each other, they must still be at least 1” from any attacking figure).  They cannot be placed touching each other.



1. When the ball comes to rest against figures of both teams the attacker must, to retain possession, play the ball onto a different one of their figures (ie one not involved in the original situation).



1. In a ‘keeper-out’ situation the attacker takes three flicks before the defender is allowed to take their keeper back in.  They do not have to be taken with the same attacking figure.