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Mathematicians resolve 5-a-side teams to 11 versus minus 1

A group of mathematics students trying to organise a game of 5-a-side have resolved the equation of player distribution into eleven against minus one, despite the solution being in the name of the game.

Second-year student Oliver Jaunt, commented: “Putting five players on each team logically cancelled each other out, effectively leaving the product of players as zero. This didn’t match the empirical evidence of there being ten of us waiting to play. Plus, it was getting cold, sugar levels were dropping, and four players needed a wee.

“We experimented by having the players line-up with legs astride the halfway line, wherein everyone could play quantumly for both teams at the same time, as long as they weren’t observed out of position.

“This worked as elegant mathematical symmetry. But, because nobody moved they were both onside and offside simultaneously, incurring yellow cards and subsequently getting sent off, which upset some players.

“To resolve the problem we borrowed a negative player for one side and added an imaginary player to the other which served as a functioning solution to how we could have a multi-player kickabout without reducing numbers to zero, and sobbing.

“Once the proof was submitted for review, we had run out of time on the pitch. So we had snacks, juice and another wee, then designed a computer program to simulate the match.

“It was thrilling, the game finished y+(x/x2) to minus nil. We’re playing Rugby 7s tomorrow”.

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