Asian Football Rules

What is Gaelic Football?

Gaelic Football can be described as a mixture of soccer and rugby, although it predates both of those games. It is a field game which has developed as a distinct game similar to Australian Rules. Indeed it is thought that Australian Rules evolved from Gaelic Football through the many thousands who were either deported or immigrated to Australia from the middle of the nineteenth century. Gaelic Football is played on a pitch approximately 137m long and 82m wide. The goalposts are the same shape as on a rugby pitch, with the crossbar lower than a rugby one and slightly higher than a soccer one.

The Basics.

The ball used in Gaelic Football is round, slightly smaller than a soccer ball. It can be carried in the hand for a distance of four steps and can be kicked or “hand-passed”, a striking motion with the hand or fist. After every four steps the ball must be either bounced or “solo-ed”, an action of dropping the ball onto the foot and kicking it back into the hand. You may not bounce the ball twice in a row. To score, you put the ball over the crossbar by foot or hand / fist for one point or under the crossbar and into the net by foot or hand / fist in certain circumstances for a goal, the latter being the equivalent of three points.

In Asian Gaelic Football, each team consists of 12 players, 9 of which are on the pitch at any one time. Similar to soccer, there is a goalkeeper with defensive, midfield and forward positions. Matches comprise of 7 minute halves with substitutions freely allowed throughout the match. For Championship finals, the matches are 10 minute halves.

Officials for a game comprise of a referee, two linesmen (to indicate when the ball leaves the field of play at the side and to mark ’45” free kicks) and 4 umpires (to signal scores, assist the referee in controlling the games, and to assist linesmen in positioning ’45’ frees). A ‘45’ free kick is awarded to an attacking team if a defender plays the ball last before it crosses the defenders’ end line. This free is so called because it is taken from the defenders’ 45 metre line. It is taken perpendicular to where the ball crossed the line.

A goal is signalled by raising a green flag, placed to the left of the goal. A point is signalled by raising a white flag, placed to the right of goal. A ’45’/’65’ is signalled by the umpire raising his/her outside arm. A ‘square ball’, when a player scores having arrived in the ‘square’ prior to receiving the ball, is signalled by pointing at the small parallelogram.


Men’s Rules.

  1. Tackling in Gaelic Football is confined to tackling the ball.
  2. It is illegal to trip, punch, hold, drag, pull or rugby tackle another player.
  3. It is legal, however, to make full body contact as long as it is a clear attempt to win the ball.
  4. The main methods of trying to dispossess a player are as follows
    1. Blocking the kick: A defender may attempt to block the ball as it leaves the attacker’s foot, as shown in the picture above. If the ball is blocked it is considered ‘loose’ and players may compete for it again.
    2. Knocking the ball: The defender may try to knock the ball out of the attacker’s grasp by hitting it with one of his hands. It is important to play the ball in this case, as striking the player can result in a free-kick and also a yellow or red card.
    3. Jostling the opponent: A player may jostle, or shoulder-to-shoulder charge, an opponent when racing to win a loose ball, or when trying to knock an opponent off the ball.

Ladies Rules

The key differences are:

  1. The Tackle:
    • A player holding the ball into her body cannot be tackled.  Any attempt to do so will result in a free for her and her team.
    • When making a tackle to dispossess a player of the ball it must be timed when the player in possession is soloing, bouncing, kicking or passing the ball
  2. Shouldering is not allowed
  3. Deliberate Body Contact
    • All deliberate body contact is forbidden but
      • Shadowing an opponent
      • Fielding
      • Blocking the delivery of a ball by an opponent shall be allowed.
  4. The ball may be passed from hand to hand
  5. Hand-passing
    • When a player is hand-passing the ball, there must be a visible striking action with the passing hand.
    • A player may toss up the ball with one hand and play it off with the same hand.