Match Rules & Regulations


The DH Cup is a five-a-side inter-corporate tournament. There are two stages, the group stage followed by the knock-out stage. In the group stage, teams compete within their respective groups. Each group plays a round-robin league. The qualifying team/s from each group advance to the knock-out stage. The groups will be formed through a draw. Each match will have two play halves of 15 minutes each with a break of five minutes in between. In case of tie between teams in a group, the team scoring most goals in the tournament, followed by team with least goals scored against them, will be considered to decide which team tops the group (goal difference method). Right of entry to the tournament is reserved. No refund of entry fee will be made on an organisation leaving the tournament for any reason.


The winning team gets three points in the league stage. In case of a draw, both the teams get one point each. In case of an abandoned match, both teams get one point each. Rescheduling is allowed only in extremely warranted cases, as decided by the designated Tournament Commissioner, subject to the other team accepting the deferment.


Each team will comprise eight players. Five of the eight will be in the playing arena during play. Rolling substitution will be allowed. New entrant to a team once the tournament begins is allowed only in extreme cases where a player is declared unfit for the rest of the tournament. The Tournament Commissioner’s decision on this is final. Every player has to be a full-time employee (on the rolls) of the participating organisation. The organisation has to declare this at the time of entering the tournament. The organisation has to submit full name, designation, department and contact details of each player. Incorrect information furnished will lead to the disqualification of the organisation from the tournament with possible debarment from future tournaments. An organisation can field as many teams as it wants to.Exchange of players between teams owned by an organisation is not allowed. Details of players will be displayed on the website of DH Cup. Only this list will be considered for the tournament. It is the responsibility of the participating organisation to ensure any change is reflected on the website. A player can be registered with one team/organisation only. Standby transfer or substitution mid-way is not allowed.


Teams have to reach the venue 30 minutes prior to start of match and get onto the play arena five minutes before scheduled match time. Teams arriving late are liable to forfeit the match. In case of a tie in group points, teams forfeiting matches will stand to lose three points for every match forfeited. In case of a match being forfeited, the team standing to gain will be awarded three points as in a win. A team can take the field with a lower number of players in case of some not making it to the venue on time. This will not mean the opposite team has to reduce the number of players on the arena to the same number. All players/managers will have to wear the jersey and shorts provided. Alteration of the attire is not allowed. No logos or design elements can be affixed on the attire provided. The jersey and shorts cannot be covered with bibs etc so as to block view of logos on them. Shoes with spikes or any material that can damage the playing surface will not be allowed. Players may use shin guards or any protective gear, but without covering logos on the attire provided. The referee is authorised to prevent a player from entering the arena if inappropriately attired, including Wristwatch, jewellery or any form of decorative embellishment is strictly not allowed during play.Talisman can be work as long as the material is soft and not capable of causing injury in case of contact. A team refusing to play against another or complete a match already in progress for any reason stands to be declared having lost the match. The opposite team will be awarded three points. If the match is stopped midway, the team refusing to complete the match will lose all goals scored by them in that match while the goals scored by the opposite team will stay and be accounted for.


1. Each player has to be ticked off by the referee before the match begins. The referee will ensure only those players listed on the DH Cup website play in the tournament.
2. Each team comprises five players on the field at a time, two substitutes on the bench at a time and one manager-cum-player on the bench.
3. Only five players, including the goalkeeper, can be on the field at any point in play time. If an extra player is found, the opposite side will be awarded a free kick from the point where the incursion happened.
4. Rolling substitution is allowed. Substitution can be done only when the ball is out of play and from the given designated spot on the referee’s signal.
5. Change of goalkeeper with substitute or player has to be authorised by the referee. This will not be allowed under normal circumstances. The referee’s decision is final.
6. All players must be within their half during the kick-off. The first kick-off will be given to a team based on the toss of a coin. Subsequently, the other team kicks-off in the second half. After a goal is scored, the team conceding the goal gets to kick-off to resume play from the center. When a kick-off from the center is on, the players of the opposite team have to maintain a distance of at least six feet.
7. The teams will exchange ends after half time.
8. A back-pass from a player to the goalkeeper after the goalkeeper has thrown/kicked the
ball at him is not allowed under any circumstance. In case of a violation, a free kick is awarded to the opposite team from the spot where the player back-passes the ball. This rule applies only when the goalkeeper throws/kicks the ball in a roll-out. In normal course of play, back-passes are allowed. A roll-out is awarded to the goalkeeper while defending an attempt on the goal and when the ball is kicked out of play at the end of the arena by an opposite player.
9. Heading and scoring through header is allowed (any height).
10. A player kicking the ball out of the arena deliberately to waste time or as a show of dissent/anger can invoke a yellow or red card as decided by the referee going by the specific instance.
11. If the ball goes over the specified marking at the arena – it entails a free kick to the opposite team from the point it leaves the arena. If a goalkeeper kicks the ball above the
permissible height, a free kick is given to the opposite team from the edge of the goal ‘D’ at which point the ball left the ‘D’.
12. Goals can be scored from anywhere, inside and outside the penalty area of the opponent.
13. A goalkeeper cannot score a goal directly from his position – the ball has to come in contact with any other player of either team before the goal. A goalkeeper cannot score a goal directly in the course of play. A goalkeeper cannot take regular penalty kicks during the match. Goalkeepers can take part in penalty shoot-outs after the match ends in a tie. A goalkeeper can come out of the ‘D’ during play and kick the ball when outside the ‘D’ but cannot touch it with his hands outside the ‘D’.
14. Players have to be on their feet at all times of play. Sliding or diving to tackle/shoot is not allowed. Goalkeepers are permitted to slide/dive to save a goal. This should not be ‘dangerous’. The referee is the sole and final judge of this. If so deemed, a deliberate/dangerous slide will attract a yellow/red card.
15. Goalkeepers are not allowed to come out of the penalty area throughout the game.
16. Using the body to block opponents or push deliberately isn’t allowed and can attract a yellow/red card. The referee is the sole and final judge of this.
17. The referee is free to send off a player in case of ‘serious foul play’. The referee is the sole and final judge of this. A player being sent off in this manner cannot be substituted through the rest of the half and the team concerned will have to play with one player short. ‘Serious foul play’ includes rough/dangerous play, deliberate physical contact, racial abuse, repeated infringements and other fouls as deemed to be serious by the referee. This is at the sole and final discretion of the referee.
18. No direct kicks from touch line and restarts (minimum two touches required) to score a goal is allowed. No throw-ins are allowed.
19. Opposition players must be at least two metres from where any free kick is taken. Contravention of this rule will result in the kick being taken again from the place where the defending player stood at the time the kick was taken. If a kick is awarded on or near the goal area the mark may be moved up to two metres backwards to allow defenders to be two metres from the ball.
20. No off-side rule is applicable.
21. Goal keepers can throw only underarms or kick. Once the keeper releases the ball the
game resumes.
22. The goalkeeper must maintain a position directly in front of the goal when a spot penalty is being taken. Players may take a maximum of one step while taking a penalty. Example: A right-footed player’s only movement will be either to his left foot before kicking or kicking with the right foot from a standing posture.
23. Penalty shootouts are allowed only for knockout games (three penalty kicks from each
side, if the scores are still level, sudden death from the fourth kick).
24. Only on-field players, when the final whistle was blown, can participate in the penalty shootout. Substitutes can’t participate.
25. No valuable items or jewels are allowed on the turf while playing.
26. A player is allowed to wear any shoe or studs provided it does not damage the playing surface. The player is solely responsible for any incident on the field.
27. The knockout fixtures will be according to the team rankings in the league.
28. The referee’s decision on all on-field matters is final and no discussions will be entered into either on or off the field with him about any decision. Players repeatedly disputing decisions may face yellow or red card action from the referee and may be subject to suspension and/or ban.
29. Teams with any complaint against a match official must address it immediately with Deccan Herald officials concerned. The complaint must be put in writing before leaving the centre and signed by the team captain.
30. Rules may be added or amended at any time.


1. Violent conduct on or off the pitch will result in the immediate suspension of the individual and could result in a ban from the tournament.
2. Referees must be treated with respect by all teams. Players and or teams may be suspended and/or banned for abuse/harassment of referees, on or off the playing field. Swearing at referees will not be tolerated and offenders will be issued a red card and may be suspended for the rest of the tournament.
3. Excessive appealing for free kicks, aggressive appealing, and repeated arguing over referee decisions will not be tolerated. Team captains may respectfully clarify a ruling with the referee provided it does not disrupt the flow of the game. Other players should keep their communication with the referee minimal and respectful. Referees will issue a yellow or red card to any player who, in the opinion of the referee, breaches this rule.
4. Players may be ‘sin binned’ at the referee’s discretion. The duration of the ‘sin bin’ will be two minutes for which a yellow card will be shown. A player may only be ‘sin binned’ once per game as a second offence involving a yellow card will automatically be followed by a red card and removal from the game.
5. A player sent off for a second offence may be suspended for the rest of the match.
6. If a player is given a red card while off the field of play (for unacceptable conduct on the sideline) the team must correspondingly reduce the number of players on the field.
7. Any player issued a red card may be asked to leave the premises. Players must provide their name to the referee at the time of the infringement (this applies to yellow cards as well). A player who refuses to provide his name to the referee (or provides a false name) will be suspended. If a player refuses to provide his name to the referee, the team as a whole is bound by these conditions to provide it to the referee. Failure to do so may see the game abandoned and the competition points awarded to the opposition.
8. If a team’s on-field numbers are permanently reduced by two players, or temporarily reduced by two players, the game will end. The match will be awarded to their opponents as 3-0 and they will be deducted three competition points. If the score at the time produces a goal difference greater than 3-0 then that score will stand.
9. If a match is abandoned for any reason the team at fault will receive a 3-0 defeat and have three competition points deducted unless the opposing team already has a greater advantage in which case the score will stand. If both teams are judged to be at fault the game will be void and no points will be awarded.
10. The decision of Deccan Herald in all matters pertaining to the administration of competitions is final.
11. Deccan Herald may overturn a rule if it is perceived that a team is deliberately using an interpretation of the rules to gain an unfair advantage.
12. Any notification of further or extended suspensions or bans will be provided to the individual through their supplied email address. It is the players’ responsibility to check their email for notifications if currently serving a suspension.
13. Any player suspended or banned from the tournament as a result of breaking any of these rules is not eligible for a refund.