When organising tournaments, it should be recognised that the competitive aspect and the results are not the crucial issues and the emphasis should always be put on the concepts of play and enjoyment.

For this reason, coach-educators involved in organising tournaments should always consider:

  • the balance of teams in terms of performance levels;
  • the equitable involvement of all participants in terms of playing time;
  • the duration of the matches, depending on their number, the age group and the level of the players;
  • the standard of the opposition from one match to another depending on the previous results;
  • the rules of fair play both on and off the pitch;
  • the characteristics of the different age groups.



Here is an indication of the total exertion for each age category, taking into consideration the children’s physical, physiological and mental characteristics:

  • 6-8 years: 45-60 minutes of exertion (1 hour)
  • 9-10 years: 60-75 minutes of exertion (1 hour 15 minutes)
  • 11-12 years: 75-90 minutes (1 hour 30 minutes)



Organisation of tournaments: two formulas

  • single league system (each team plays only once against each other team)
  • double league system (each team plays twice against each other team) – home & away matches

The calculation of the total number of matches to be organised as well as the number of matches each team will play during the tournament will indicate the duration of each match, taking into consideration the number of teams, the age category, the level of the players as well as the number of mini-pitches available. The climatic conditions should also be taken into consideration.

1. (Total number of teams) x (total number of teams – 1)
= total number of matches to be organised in a double league system
Example: (3 teams) x (3-1) = 6 matches

2. Total number of matches / 2
= number of matches in a single league system
Example: 6 matches / 2 = 3 matches

When organising a tournament with three teams, the duration of each match will differ depending on whether the single or double league system is used. We should also take into consideration the time available for the tournament as well as the rest period at half-time and in between the different matches.

3. With a greater number of teams in a tournament, the single league system is predominant, and with only a few teams the double league system is most used. The objective is to give reasonable and equitable playing time to each team and to each player depending on their age category as well as their level.

Example: 5 teams (10/11 years) – 2 seven-a-side pitches, playing a single league system

  • (5 teams) x (5-1) = 20 matches in a double league system (each team playing eight matches)
  • 20 matches / 2 = 10 matches in a single league system (each team playing four matches)
  • Total duration of the tournament: 1 hour (60 minutes)
  • Duration of a match: 60 minutes / 10 matches = 6 minutes x 2 pitches = 12 minutes
  • Playing time for each team and player: 4 matches x 12 minutes = 48 minutes
  • Rest time at half-time: 2 minutes per match: 10 matches / 2 pitches x 2 minutes = 10 minutes