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Volunteering at Scouts is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing at Scouts. Read more

Discover what this means

Chair football

Play this classic sport while seated in chairs. Talk tactics and positions before you start and see which team wins!

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You’ll 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)

Before you begin

  • Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Additional help to carry out your risk assessment, including examples can be found on our safety pages.
  • 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.

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. You must complete a thorough risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. 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. Take a look at our guidance on running active games safely.


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

Never lift or move heavy or awkward items alone. Ask for help or, if possible, break them down into smaller parts.

If you can make your ball glow in the dark (e.g. by covering in glow in the dark stickers) you could try this game with the lights out for an extra challenge. Making this game easier is simple – make the goals bigger, so it’s easier to score, or allow more freedom of movement.

  • Players could sit on the floor if this is more comfortable, rather than on chairs.
  • Players could use a bell ball (a ball with a bell inside).

All Scout activities should be inclusive and accessible.

Chair football is ideal for camps or events with other groups, as you can run a tournament to crown a local champion! If you can meet regularly to play, you could also set up a league table.

Once everyone is familiar with the rules, have young leaders or young people in the group run this game (and referee) themselves.