The rules of the Small Size League are maintained by the Technical and Organizing Committee. Please contact the Technical Committee for any questions regarding the rules.

The source code for the rule book is maintained on Github.

Rulebook for 2024

The full text of the rule book is available in both HTML format optimized for viewing on electronic devices and as a PDF for printing.

Rule changes

This is a short summary of the changes in the rules from 2023 to 2024.

  • Limit number of robots in Division A during group phase to 8, if desired by one team (#71)
  • Clarify measurement of robot distances (#77)
  • Change constraint for automatic robot substitution (#74)
  • Add a punishment for robot substitution (#78, #80)

Rule History

The following sections contain references to the rulebooks of previous years and a brief summary of the changes in that year. Note that the summary is not guaranteed to be complete. Have a look at the documents containing the exact differences for details.

RoboCup 2023 in Bordeaux, France

Rules 2023 (HTML) | Rules 2023 (PDF)

  • Define a larger grace period after halt for robot preparation (#58)
  • Only count one foul per ball placement for interference (#59)
  • Do not limit emergency stop to division A (#66)
  • More explicit field coloring (#54)
  • Add the tracker protocol (#60)
  • Add guidance for referees on unsporting behavior (#62)
  • Add diagrams for game states, referee commands and game events (#63, #64)
  • Some small improvements in rule wording (#55, #56, #57, #65)

RoboCup 2022 in Bangkok, Thailand

Rules 2022 (HTML) | Rules 2022 (PDF)

  • Add advantage choice rule (again) (#42)
  • Better tie-breaking during shoot-out phase (#43)
  • Exclude shoot-out from early termination rule (#48)
  • Add goal difference of more than one to early termination rule (#48)
  • Several small improvement in rule wording

RoboCup 2021 Worldwide

Rules 2021 (HTML) | Rules 2021 (PDF)

  • Increase number of robots in division A to 11 (#6)
  • Increase defense area and goal sizes (#30)
  • Replace indirect free kick by direct free kick (#3)
  • Chipping ball out of field is now a foul (#5)
  • Goalkeeper may be changed while ball is in play, if ball is in opponent half (#7)
  • Robots can be substituted while ball is in play (#9)
  • Game is not stopped for cards (#10)
  • Introduce the “emergency stop” (#11)
  • Replace the current penalty kick procedure by the one-on-one shootout procedure (#14)
  • Turn multiple yellow cards into red cards instead of penalty kicks (#15)
  • Introduce communication flags (#26)
  • Introduce challenge flags (#27)
  • Resume at the location of the ball when play is stopped after a foul (#29)
  • Ball placement is not always required anymore (#31)
  • The ball placement counter is decremented on failures, not reset (#31)
  • Fouls and offenses restructured (#32)
    • Stopping vs. non-stopping fouls
    • Only stop the game for a limited set of fouls
    • Game continues automatically 5s / 10s after a direct free kick and kick off
    • Remove foul “Attacker touched opponent in opponent defense area”
    • Remove foul “Defender partially in own defense area”

RoboCup 2019 in Sydney, Australia

Rules 2019 (HTML) | Rules 2019 (PDF)

  • Rulebook has been completely rewritten into a new structure
  • The Game Controller replaces the Referee Box
  • Dribbling devices that transfer a non-horizontal spin to the ball are permitted
  • The 10-0 early termination rule changes from a 10 goal advantage to 10 goals shot
  • The distance to field lines is doubled for all free kick positions
  • Scoring a goal from a indirect free kick requires a second ball contact of an attacking robot
  • The match continues after a penalty shot
  • The ball placement procedure is reworked
  • The stop speed limit does not apply to automatic ball placement any more
  • The aimless kick rule is no longer applied in division A
  • Lack of progress: Not shooting the free kick in time now results in an indirect free kick for the other team instead of a force start
  • The maximum allowed time to bring the ball into play is reduced to 10 seconds for division B and 5 seconds for division A. (It was 15 seconds)
  • Touching an opponent inside the own defense area no longer results in a penalty
  • Every third foul will result in a yellow card. There is a single counter that increases whenever a team commits a foul regardless of the type of foul
  • The minimum 0.2m distance to the opponent defense area also applies to stop
  • The match continues when robots crash with similar speed
  • Pushing is independent of the ball
  • Tipping over or dropping parts now counts as a foul
  • Showing lack of respect is defined as unsporting behavior
  • If an offense happens while the ball is out of play, the free kick type and position will not be overridden
  • Robot substitution is refactored
  • Robot substitution requires the match to be halted

RoboCup 2018 in Montreal, Canada

Rulebook | differences to previous year

  • Introduction of Divisions
  • Increase field size from 9x6m to 12x9m for DivA
  • Increase goal size for DivA from 1.0m to 1.2m
  • Increase number of robots for DivA from 6 to 8
  • Rectangular defense area (2.4×1.2m DivA, 2.0×1.0m DivB, before: 2×1.0m quarter circle + 1.0×0.5m rectangle
  • Reduce game time from 10 to 5 minutes, game time only counts down when ball is in play
  • Mandatory use of an autoRef
  • Robots have to be completely in their own half during kickoff
  • Robots do not need to move the ball forward during kickoff
  • Mandatory ball placement for DivA teams
  • Forbid chip-kick goals
  • Reduce maximum ball speed from 8 to 6.5m/s
  • Every third yellow card results in a penalty kick
  • Add a measurable definition for robot crashes
  • Punish collisions with yellow cards
  • Shoot-out procedure rewritten

RoboCup 2017 in Nagoya, Japan

Rulebook | differences to previous year

  • Introduction of automatic ball placement by teams
  • Robots interchanged at the halfway line can replaced immediately, otherwise teams have to wait for the next stoppage
  • Robots are allowed to enter the center circle during kickoff
  • Forbid pushing of opponent robots
  • Introduction of the one-on-one penalty shoot-out

RoboCup 2016 in Leipzig, Germany

Rulebook | differences to previous year

  • Only minor changes to formulation

RoboCup 2015 in Hefei, China

Rulebook | differences to previous year

  • Mandatory new field size of 9x6m (with 10% variation)
  • Increase defense area from 0.8m radius to 1.0m radius and width from 1.95m to 2.5m.
  • Increase goal width from 0.7m to 1.0m
  • Introduction of standard color paper for robot patterns that have to be bought by teams before the competition
  • Maximum dribbling distance is increased from 0.5m to 1.0m
  • Forbid touching the ball in the opponent defense area
  • Introduce the carpeting rule
  • Robot speed limit during stop increased from 1.0m/s to 1.5m/s

RoboCup 2014 in João Pessoa, Brazil

Rulebook | differences to previous year

  • Introduction of an optional increased field size (double-size field) (6x4m to 8x6m)
  • Increase defense area for double-size field from 0.8m radius to 1.0m radius and width from 1.95m to 2.5m.
  • Increase goal width for double-size field from 0.7m to 1.0m
  • Timeouts increased when playing on double-size field: 6 timeouts and 7.5 minutes
  • Ball must be touched for the multiple defender rule now (ball inside defense area was sufficient before)
  • Touching the ball while being partially within the defense area is a foul now
  • Introduce robot speed limit of 1m/s during stop

RoboCup 2013 in Eindhoven, Netherlands

Rulebook | differences to previous year

  • Introduce multiple defender rule and punish it with a penalty kick

RoboCup 2012 in Mexico City, Mexico

Rulebook | differences to previous year

  • Increase defense area; radius from 0.5m to 0.8m, width from 1.35m to 1.95m
  • Increase number of robots from 5 to 6
  • Damaged robots result in an indirect free kick
  • Reduce maximum ball speed from 10 to 8m/s

RoboCup 2011 in Istanbul, Turkey

Rulebook | differences to previous year

  • No changes

RoboCup 2010 in Singapore, Singapore

Rulebook | differences to previous year

  • Introduction of the shared vision system

RoboCup 2009 in Graz, Austria

Rulebook | differences to previous year

  • Reduce field size from 6.1×4.2m to 6.05×4.05m
  • Introduce the referee walking area
  • Reduce the maximum robot height to 0.15m for all robots
  • Reduce playing time from 15 to 10 minutes per half
  • Reduce the timeout time from 10 to 5 minutes

RoboCup 2008 in Suzhou, China

Rulebook | differences to previous year

  • Increase field size from 5×3.5m to 6.1×4.2m
  • Add a rectangle between the two quarter circles of the defense area (increase width by 0.35m)
  • Add penalty shoot-out

RoboCup 2007 in Atlanta, USA

Rulebook | differences to previous year

  • Increase field size from 4.9×3.4m to 5×3.5m
  • Allow the use of an autonomous referee
  • Forbid attackers to be closer than 0.2m to the opponent defense area during free kicks
  • Introduce a maximum ball speed of 10m/s

Questions or Clarifications

Questions regarding the rules should be sent to the Technical Committee.