Boston Bolts Columbus Cup Tournament Rules




Field Size




Ball Size




Roster Size

15 max

16 max

18 max

Half Length

25 minutes

30 minutes

30 minutes





Minimum # Games









Yes – All players

Yes – Winners/Finalists

Yes – Winners/Finalists


Qualified officials will officiate each game. For 7v7 and 9v9 games you should expect only one official for the match.  For our 11v11 matches the three person system will be used.  This Boston Bolts Tournament has a Zero Tolerance Policy, which is in effect for the duration of the event.

Heading Rules

U11 players and younger may NOT head the ball intentionally. If in the opinion of the referee a player heads the ball intentionally, the restart is an indirect free kick for the opposition. U12 players and older may head the ball intentionally. If a player plays “up” an age division, that player will play by the age group rule.

7v7 Playing Out of the Back

In 7v7 competition, the opposing team must be behind the halfway line for goal kicks to promote playing the ball out of the back.


This event will follow FIFA rules where substitutions can be made at ANY stoppage with the consent of the official. This includes, free-kicks, corners and opposition stoppages such as the other team’s throw- in.


In the case of inclement weather every attempt will be made to play all scheduled games in the tournament. At the sole discretion of the tournament director/committee, some games may be declared a 0 – 0 tie and not made up. The following priority will be given to making up games: Teams that have not yet played a game in the tournament. Teams that have only played one game in the tournament. Games that will have a material impact on the final standings. All other games.

The lightning policy for the tournament is as follows: At the first visible sign of lightning (regardless of the estimated distance from the field) all play will be stopped and players and spectators will be asked to move to a safe location. For all games that were in progress the game clock will continue to run. If time runs out and the game was at or past half time when play was stopped, the result at the time of play being stopped will stand. If 5 minutes or less remain in the first half and the score has 2 or more differential the game will be declared final.

If the game had not reached 5 minutes or less before half time every attempt will be made to make up the game at a later date and time.

Play will not resume until 30 minutes after the last visible lightning strike seen (regardless of the estimated distance from the field). When play is resumed, the game, which was scheduled closest to the re-start of play, will begin. For example if play is stopped at 2:50 pm and restarted at 5:20 pm, the teams scheduled to play closest to 5:20 pm will play, NOT the teams scheduled to play at 2:50 pm.

Every attempt will be made to make up the 2:50 pm game at a later date and time. When play is stopped, or resumed, due to lightning, it is at the sole discretion of the referees and the tournament director/committee. Both referees and tournament officials will enforce strictadherence to the above policy. No appeals will be allowed. Personal safety is the number one concern of the tournament and it will supersede any game situation.

Maximum Goal Differential

All games will have a maximum goal differential of 4 - even if the margin of victory was greater than 4 goals. Tournament director and staff will have all official scores – but a 4 goal differential will be recorded in the results

Advancement to Championship Play (if applicable)

Section winners are determined by the total points earned within their bracket (Win = 3 points, Tie = 1 point, Loss = 0 points). In the event of teams being equal in points within their group after the qualifying games, advancement to championship play will be determined according to the following:

1. Head to Head

2. Goal Differential (subject to maximum goal differential rule stated above)

3. Goals For (number of goals your team has scored – NOT subject to maximum goal differential rule)

4. Goals Against (number of goals allowed – NOT subject to maximum goal differential rule)

5. Most Shutouts

6. Penalty Kicks

In the case of more than a two-way tie (where 3 or more teams have the same amount of points) the above rules will be applied until one team is eliminated. The process repeats (starting at Criteria 1 each time) until one team is left. However, in a Three-way tie, the Head to Head criteria normally becomes moot).

If a winner cannot be determined the following procedure will be used:

Knock out competition under the supervision of an official Referees through a FIFA “Penalty Shootout”. Upon agreement of both coaches, the Referees’ Committee and the TournamentCommittee, a coin toss may be substituted for the “Penalty Shootout” competition if so desired.

Championship Games

Championship games will be regular in duration with a five-minute interval between halves - unless the tournament committee determines that championship games need to be shortened due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances.

In the event of a tie at the end of regular time, two equal overtimes halves will be played. These can last between 5 minutes-10 minutes each half. There will be no break between overtimes (although the players will change ends). Both halves must be played in full during overtime.

In the event the game is still tied, FIFA rules for the “Taking of kicks from the penalty mark” shall apply. Teams will alternate kicks at the same goal, with the goal selected by the referee. Best of five, (or more, if necessary), kicks shall prevail. All eligible players, including the goalkeepers, must kick before any player may repeat. Only players on the field at the conclusion of extra time will be eligible to take kicks, these players must remain within the field of play after the conclusion of extra time.

In the event that one of the two teams qualifying for the championship game declines to appear, at the discretion of the Tournament Committee, the next highest ranked team in that division, based upon tournament record, may be substituted for the team declining to appear.

Player Safety

It is expected that coaches will keep players who have sustained injuries off the field. Referees and coaches must not allow anything dangerous to be worn that could be harmful to a player or an opponent on the field. The referee’s judgment shall determine what is safe and what is dangerous. Some examples of items that are considered unsafe (but not limited to those stated) are braces, splints, prior injuries, jewelry, hats, barrettes, and faulty cleats. CASTS –Under no circumstances will referees allow a player to take part with a cast of any type. The referee must err on the side of safety and his/her judgment will be considered final. Prior play, other referees, other days, other games in this tournament do not set precedent. Each game and situation is judged on its own at the time the referee makes a decision. Safety is first.

Player Deportment

Shirt must be tucked inside shorts. Shin guards must be firmly in place and covered by socks. Non- standard attire, accouterments, and apparel must be cleared prior to the Tournament with written U.S.S.F. approval: otherwise, Rule 4 of the FIFA rules applies. The Referees’ Committee will continue to be the sole arbiter as to what is legal and what is not legal.

The issuance of all red and yellow cards and other matters involving the conduct of a team, its players, coaches or supporters will be recorded and reported immediately to the home state association and the home/club league.

A player receiving two cautions (yellow cards) in a single game is considered to have been given an ejection (red card). A player who has been ejected (sent off) will not be replaced. A player who has been ejected will not return for that game and will not be allowed to participate in the next scheduled game.

A coach who has been ejected (sent off) will not be allowed to participate in the next scheduled game.

Any player or coach ejected (Red Card) from a game shall be ineligible to take part in any further in action with the team during that match.

The referee, referee coordinator and tournament staff/director will assess the ejection and decided upon further suspension. The discretion will be solely down to the tournament director and referee coordinator.

Assault or abuse by players, coaches, or supporters will result in immediate suspension for the balance of the tournament.

Field Marshals

Field Marshals will be present at all fields. All participants should be aware that the Marshals have the authority and right to remove any unruly or uncivil spectators from the game field perimeter and/or the field complex area.

Tournament Committee

In the event of conditions beyond the Tournament Committee’s control, final decisions with respect to game cancellations, shortenings or terminations shall lie solely with the Tournament Committee and director. The Tournament Committee/Director, in conjunction with the Referees’ Committee/Coordinator, reserves the right to change field assignments. In addition, the Tournament Committee/Director reserves the right to change sectional and divisional assignments in the interest of fair and balanced competition.


No protests will be considered.


In the event that the entire tournament is cancelled due to weather prior to your first scheduled match, Boston Bolts will either partially or fully refund your team once all tournament expenses have been fully covered. If weather curtails the tournament thereafter, every reasonable attempt will be made to assure teams play at least 2 games but no refunds will be given.