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).


The first-ever Ministry of Football 4v4 Summer Mini-League (outdoors) 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.

We take evaluation seriously. We think it can make us better at what we do. On this page, we look at the statistics behind our 4v4 Mini-League programme. These help tell us if we're heading in the right direction and where we need to improve.

Section 1: Learning

At MoF, we believe the main teacher of football is the game itself. Football is opposed by nature, and the main learning aids for the children are each other. This is especially true in our Mini-Leagues, where no coaches or coaching are allowed.

If games are not close contests, then learning is not happening at its best. Teams need to be grouped well within leagues, such that games are close. And children need to be grouped well within teams, such that they all have a chance to play at their level.

Figure 1.a: Games where both teams score (dark green area)

Figure 1.b: Games won by <5 goals (dark green area)

Figure 1.c: Standard deviation of Points in each division ("closeness" of spread of teams)

(League 1 is the oldest division)

Section 2: Inclusion

The 4v4 Mini-League is open to all players of all ability level within certain school years. The two groups we want to ensure are included are (a) summer born children and (b) girls.

Figure 2.a: Month of birth of all players

Figure 2.b: Number of girl players included 

Section 3: Growth and retention

If the Mini-League is a success, then we will see it grow. Children and teams will want to re-enter into the competition if they have enjoyed themselves.

Figure 3.a: Children returning to the next 4v4 Mini-League

Figure 3.b: Numbers of teams and player

Section 4: Behaviour and ethics

We have a Code of Conduct at MoF. This sets out what we believe and what we expect of parents, spectators and children.

Figure 4.a: Percentage of parents who read/agreed with our Code of Conduct (of those who completed feedback survey)

Section 5: Parent and child feedback

At the end of each Mini-League, we seek the views of parents, families and children.

Figure 5.a: Parent and child overall feedback on event (of those who completed feedback survey)

Section 6: Praise and recognition

Aside from statistics, another way that we know we are doing things well is when professionals or experts (in football and learning) recognise what we are doing as worthwhile.


Nick Levett, Football Development Manager at the FA, used our 4v4 Mini-League video as a show case of good practice at youth review workshops.

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  By Mark Carter

Copyright Ministry of Football 2020 - All Rights Reserved

Mark Carter

07772 716 876