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Supported by Walker Books

Chair football

They think it’s all sofa... it is now! Play the game sitting down or face the wrath of the ref.
Plan a session with this activity

You will need

  • Footballs
  • Pens or pencils
  • A4 paper
  • Chairs
  • Something to mark lines (for example, chalk, masking tape, or rope)
  • Glow in the dark stickers (optional)

Enjoyed this activity? Come and join Football School, where football explains the world. Our pick for the August and September Scouts Book Club​ is Football School: Terrific Teams by Alex Bellos and Ben Lyttleton​. Discover the clubs and national teams whose trophies and triumphs have made history, and read 50 true stories of football’s greatest sides. There are now ten titles in the series to collect!

Learn more about our partnership with Walker Books >

Before you begin

  • Make sure you’ve risk assessed your meeting, and also have a COVID-19 safe risk assessment that’s been agreed by your line manager. You can check out more detailed guidance here
  • Mark out a football pitch in your meeting space with chalk or tape. The space should have two halves with a goal (two chairs about three feet apart) at either end. You could also mark a ‘time out’ zone, for players who leave the pitch.

Safety checklist

Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Additional coronavirus-related controls to think about may include: 

  • Set up a hand washing station that you can use throughout the session.
  • Make sure everyone sets up their chairs at least two metres away from each other.
  • Remember to clean your chairs at the start and end of the game.
  • Avoid sharing chairs if you can, if you’re swapping out players make sure you swap out the chairs too.
  • If the ball goes off the pitch, a leader should fetch it. If possible, they should kick it back onto the pitch rather than using their hands.

Run the activity

  1. Split the group into two teams. Teams should pick a team name. Explain that they’ll be playing football sitting down and allow both teams time to huddle and talk tactics!
  2. Everyone should take a chair, pick a spot and sit somewhere on the pitch, making sure they're at least 2m away from the other players. One team should defend one goal and the other should defend the opposite goal. Advise teams to spread out and fill the playing area, if they haven’t already.
  3. The person leading the activity should referee. Begin the match. Players should work together, passing the ball to one another with their feet, until they get close enough to score in the opposing goal. Players should only touch the ball with legs or feet and must remain in their chairs in one spot unless they’re told to move by the ref. Players can stretch for the ball so long as they remain seated.
  1. The referee should watch the game carefully. Players should be given a ‘time out’ if they: leave their chairs, kick the ball up into the air or kick an opposing player or their chair. It’s up to you how long a ‘time out’ lasts; it shouldn’t be longer than a few minutes.
  2. If the ball rolls to a point where it’s out of reach, the referee should pick it up and drop it somewhere between two opposing players, or allow everyone 10 seconds to move their chairs. Make sure the referee is the only person who touches the ball with their hands.
  3. The winner is the team who scores the most goals.


Having to sit down to play football meant that working together and communicating well were an important part of this activity. Everything from the positioning of your team’s chairs to working out your path to the goal needed to be figured out as a team. What was the hardest thing about the game: having to sit, communicating with teammates (without giving away your tactics to the other team!) or avoiding the ‘time out’ zone? How did you work together to overcome these issues?


All activities must be safely managed. Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Do a risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Always get approval for the activity and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.

Active games

The game area should be free of hazards. Explain the rules of the game clearly and have a clear way to communicate that the game must stop when needed.


Provide some light, so the environment isn’t completely dark. Everyone must be able to see others and move around the area safely.

Heavy and awkward objects

Don’t lift or move heavy or awkward items without help. Break them down into smaller parts if possible.