Recreational football has been shown to be an effective health-promoting activity, but it is still unclear how changes in game formats affect external and internal load. The aim of this study was therefore to evaluate the effect of area per player in recreational small-sided football games. Ten recreational active male football participants (mean±standard deviation, age: 20.1±1.1 years; height: 182.2±7.4 cm; body mass: 75.9±9.8 kg) completed two sessions comprising 2x20 min of 5v5 football with 80 and 60 m 2 per player, during which heart rate (HR) and movement pattern were measured. In 80 m 2, mean HR (167±9 vs. 160±10 b.p.m., P<0.001, ES=0.70) and peak HR (192±8 vs. 188±9 b.p.m., P=0.041, ES=0.50) were significantly higher than in 60 m 2. Percentage playing time with HR >90%HR peak was higher in 80 m 2 than 60 m 2 (45±14 vs. 29±16%, P=0.004, ES=1.07). Moreover, a higher number of sprints (8.0±4.8 vs. 3.0±1.3, P=0.014, ES=1.41) and a greater distance in the highest speed zones (>13, >16 and >20 km·h -1) were covered in 80 m 2 than 60 m 2. Peak running speed was also higher in 80 m 2 (24.3±1.7 vs. 22.3±1.4 km·h -1, P=0.011, ES=1.27), whereas no statistically significant differences were found in total distance covered, player load, or the acceleration-deceleration profiles. In conclusion, the internal and external loading was higher for recreationally active male football players when playing on a pitch with 80 m 2 area per player compared to 60 m 2.