page title icon Official Foosball Rules

Since its inception, foosball has emerged both as a popular sport and game. Some players and enthusiasts embrace it as a beautiful sport. Others perceive it as the best option for indoor recreation.

Whether you believe in the former or the latter, chances are you may want to uphold the integrity of the game in the best possible manner. Your best bet to ensure this is to follow the official foosball rules.

Recognized foosball tournaments follow the rules specified by ITSF and USTSF. These are international bodies, and their set of regulations take precedence in major tournaments.

Foosball Tournament Rules

Wondering what foosball tournament rules are and how you can follow them? This post will not only shed some light on the official rules of the game but also the best practices to abide by them.

Types of foosball games

Before you proceed to know the rules and regulations of the game, you must build an understanding of its variants. This will aid you in better understand the rules linked to the game.

Till date, table football exists in the following versions:

  • 1 player vs. 1 player: This is a one-on-one game involving two players. Each player is required to control 4 rods on the side of the table on which they play.
  • 1 player vs. 1 player (Goalie War): In this type of foosball game, each player strives to control the defensive rods located on the extreme left side of the table as long as the 4 rods in the middle are not in use. None of the players uses the 4 rods in the middle.
  • 2 vs. 2: This format of the game involves two players. Each player in the two-member team takes up two different roles. While one of the members takes care of the defensive rods, the other one controls the Offensive 3-Bar and 5-Bar.


The aim of each player or team in the game is to control the movement of the ball among 13 player figures, targeting the opponent’s goal post. Besides, they also need to prevent the other player or team from doing this until the conclusion of the game.


Foosball scoring rules for a game are straightforward.

A player or a team can win a foosball match in two ways, depending on the type of contest. In the basic version of the game, the side that scores the first 5 goals wins it. Others declare one a winner based on the victory in the best 2 out of 3 games or 3 out of 5 games.

Rules of foosball

The rationale behind implementing foosball rules in a match is to avoid disputes and ensure fair competition. Also, it helps control the game’s pace and address any special requirement in the course of the game.

So far as the involvement of an official in a game goes, it is optional. A neutral observer may or may not be present to monitor things when a game is underway.

Most official or recognized tournaments involve an authority. In other contests, players mutually agree to adhere to the rules throughout the game.

For the sake of understanding, a brief description of table football rules is given below.

1. The Serve

Toss helps decide which player or team would take the first serve. When the match is underway, the player who or the team that scores the last goal gets the serve in the event of a goal or neutral dead ball. This also applies when there is a halt due to a neutral dead ball.

Tips: Your idea should be to serve the ball to the playing figures of 5-Bar. Practice for improving your skills at it.

2. Offensive 5-Bar – Passing

A player gets a maximum of 10 seconds to pass the ball from their 5-Bar. None of the players must spin the ball to get an advantage.

Tips: Visualize a soccer game and proceed with passing the ball. Your objective is to break through the 5-Bar Defense of your opponent and pass the ball to your Offensive 3-Bar. Position the players so that you can do it with as minimum hassle as possible.

3. Offensive 3-Bar – Shooting

The rules for shooting the ball are the same. Each player is required to shoot it in 10 seconds without spinning it.

Tips: You will need to strategize well to succeed in scoring goals. To exercise better control over the ball, stop it beneath the rod. Push or tap the ball to move it among the players without changing its position concerning the rod. Use your maneuvering skills to take the ball close to the goal and shoot it as soon as you get a chance to do it.

4. Defensive 5-Bar

A player needs to prevent the striker row of the opponent from controlling the ball without either banging against its sidewalls or clashing with the table.

Tips: Aim to prevent the attacking unit of your opponent from taking control of the ball. Keep a man in front to do it. You may need to adopt a different strategy if your opponent is quick.

5. Defensive Zone – Blocking

One can use the middle playing figure from the Defensive 3-Bar or one from the 2-Bar unit to defend the attacking unit of the opponent. This needs to be done without slamming with the sidewalls or collision with the table.

Tips: Consider building your defensive unit by employing the middle man from your Defensive 3-Bar and one man from your 2-Bar. Do not use other players for this purpose as you would need them for maneuvering or digging the ball throughout the game.

6. Defensive Zone – Clearing

Each of the foosball players has ten seconds to clear the ball without spinning it.

Tips: As far as possible, avoid swinging at a moving ball. Instead, stop the ball properly and then proceed to maneuver it for clearing it from your opponent’s striking row. Before attempting to shoot the ball, keep your Defensive 5-Bar out of the way and have all your players in the right places.

Conclusion of the game

The game concludes as soon as a player or a team involving two players manages to score 5 goals.

When to stop playing

When the ball goes beyond the reach of player figures or flies off the foosball table, it is considered as a dead ball. If this happens in the zone of defense, the player figure in the closest position to it gets the serve. Otherwise, the team that serves the points re-serves the ball.

Things to Avoid

  • Spinning
  • Changing positions with respect to that of the table
  • Saying or doing things contrary to the rules of the game
  • Distracting the opponent

Final thoughts

The rules of foosball bear a striking resemblance to that of soccer. Though there are slight variations in the rules, one can safely think of table football as the indoor adaptation of the latter. As given above, the rules of the game are simple and straightforward.

Anyone can get used to them with little research and practice.

Must Read: How Much Does a Foosball Table Cost?

Ting is the in-house Content Strategist at 99sportz. She takes an interest in Foosball & Air Hockey and shares the passion for these sports with readers by writing product reviews & Sports guides for our Foosball & Air Hockey Section. With a wealth of experience in these sports, she is your good to go mentor to know any insides of the games. Know more about Ting on 99Sportz About page.