International Foosball Rules (executive summary)
Passionate foosball knows no bounds – but rules!
Round ball – square gate. That’s safe and the rest you can find in the official regulations. Take a look!
Unless otherwise stated by the tournament director, a match shall consist of 3 out of 5 games. Each game shall consist of 5 points. The final game of the match shall be to 5 points but you must win by 2 up to a maximum of 8 points.
To Start a Match:
A coin flip shall precede the start of the match. The team that wins the flip has the choice of table side or first serve. The team that loses the flip has the remaining option.
Serve and Ready Protocol:
A serve is defined as putting the ball into play at the five-man rod at the beginning of a game, after a point is scored or if the ball is awarded to a player on the five-man rod following a rules infraction. The ready protocol will be used whenever putting the ball into play.
The ball have to rest. The player with the ball possession asks „ready?“, so the opponent has to answer within 3 seconds with „ready!“. Within three seconds the game starts. Repetition after a violation is possible once.
The player in possession of the ball must move the ball within the range to another figure, whereby the ball has to move visibly. After touching the second figure the ball has to rest for at least one second within the five-man rod before being played on. After possible violation the opponent hast the choice wether playing on from the actual position or undertake an own remake.
A ball which is advanced from a pinned or stopped position on the five-man rod cannot be directly caught on the three-man rod of the same team regardless of whether or not the ball is touched by the opposing five-rod. The ball must touch at least two player figures prior to advancing to legally be caught on the three-man rod. A pinned ball is one that is pinned to the wall or playfield.
A ball shall be declared a dead ball when it has completely stopped its motion and is not within reach of any player figure.
If the ball is declared dead anywhere between the five-man rods, it shall be put back into play at the five-man rod by the team who originally served the ball.
If the ball is declared dead between the goal and five-man rods, it shall be put back into play at the two-man rod nearest the spot of the dead ball. Play shall resume using the “Ready” Protocol
Ball Off the Table:
If the ball leaves the playing area and strikes the scoring markers, light fixture, or any object that is not part of the table, the ball shall be declared off the table. If the ball hits the top of the side rails or cabinet ends and then immediately returns to the playing surface it will be considered in play.
A ball entering the goal shall count as a point, as long as it was legally scored. A ball which enters the goal but returns to the playing surface and/or leaves the table still counts as a goal.
Spinning the Rods:
Spinning of the rods is illegal. Spinning is defined as the rotation of any soccer figure more than 360 degrees before or more than 360° after striking the ball.
Lifter or Aerial aren’t permitted and lead to the right of the opponent remake the ball on the five-man rod.
Time of Possession:
Possession is defined as the ball being within reach of a player figure. Possession of the ball shall be limited to 10 seconds on the five-man rod and 15 seconds on all other rods. Both goalie rods are considered one rod of possession.
Jarring, sliding, or lifting of the table while the ball is in play is illegal. Whether or not the table jarring is done intentionally is of no consequence. It is not necessary for a player to lose the ball for jarring to be called on his opponent. Jars are accumulated for the entire match.
If, in the judgment of an authorized tournament official, either team competing in a match is at any time in flagrant or intentional violation of these rules of play, a technical foul may be called on the offending team.
At the end of each game, teams may switch sides of the table before play of the next game can begin. If both teams switch sides they will have to switch after each game. A maximum of 90 seconds is allowed between games.
Each team is allowed two time outs per game during which the players may leave the table. Such time outs shall not exceed 30 seconds. If the ball is in play, time out may be called only by the team in possession of the ball, and then only if the ball is completely stopped. If the ball is not in play, either team may call time out.
Change of Positions:
In any doubles event, players may only play the two rods normally designated for his position. Once the ball is put into play, the players must play the same position until a point is scored, a team requests a time out, or a technical foul is called.
Here you can download the official foosball rules from the ITSF as a pdf: