How to Organize a Football Tournament

Football official standing next to football image by Pezography from

Organising a football tournament is more difficult than putting together tournaments in most other sports. The games generally need to be a week apart to give players time to practice and recover from injuries, and you'll need to find enough fields or large spaces available at about the same time.

Register the teams you would like to participate in your football tournament. It is best to have four, eight, 16 or 32 teams, so that you can have a basic tournament in which every team plays the same number of games. These numbers also work best for a tournament in which the losing teams are eliminated.

Schedule the dates for your tournament based on the number of teams you signed up. If you have the appropriate number of teams for a basic tournament, schedule your rounds a week apart to give players time to heal from any injuries and practice for the next round. If you do not have the right number of teams for a basic tournament, you will have to schedule weeks in which one or more teams don't play, usually early in the tournament. If you're using the same field for more than one game on a given day, figure out the average amount of time teams take to complete a game and list the start times accordingly.

Secure the space you need to run your football tournament. Try to reserve a field or two at your local park for free. If you have to rent space, consider charging a fee to your registrants or compute that cost into the fee you planned to charge.

Alert your registrants of the time slots for their first-round games, and tell them when their subsequent games will be so that they can plan ahead.

Hire a set of referees for each game. Because you are paying each set of officials by the hour or by the game, your total cost will be the same as that for hiring one set of referees for all games.

Get footballs, yard markers and pylons or cones. Enlist or hire people to operate the yard markers. You can incorporate the prices of these items and workers into a registration fee, or you can tell teams to bring some of the items themselves and have their reserve players run the yard markers.

Reserve an ambulance and emergency medical crew for each game if you're having a tackle football tournament. You will have to pay for this service and schedule it well in advance of your game dates.

Set up the fields on game day. Mark yard lines, sidelines and end zones, and let the teams play football. With game officials and yard marker operators in place, you just need to watch the games and supervise the tournament.