The Association Competition Rules

1. Form of Competition

Competitions will be run on the knock-out, round robin or league principle, or as a combination of these principles. In competitions based on the League principle teams will be placed in a single league or group, and will play each other twice, once home and once away. In competitions based on the round robin principle, teams will play each other once only, playing a fixture at home one season and the corresponding fixture away the next season.

In League matches 3 points shall be awarded for a win and 1 point for a draw. In the event of a tie on points the first position shall be awarded on the following basis:

  1. Goal difference.
  2. Goals scored.
  3. Championship is shared.

2. Draw for the Competition

The Association shall be responsible for making the draw for all competitions which shall be sent to all competing schools and District Associations prior to the start of the season.

3. Eligibility

No boy / girl shall play unless his / her school / college is insured under the English Schools F.A. shall be allowed to compete in the competition. Players shall normally become ineligible to take part immediately on beginning to work full time or on leaving school / college, but a boy / girl who is in attendance at a school / college at the end of the Easter term shall, nevertheless, be eligible to compete in competition up to the end of the season. In Inter District competitions, players will only be allowed to represent the local Association to which their school is affiliated. No school shall affiliate to more than one District Association for competition matches.

No boy / girl shall be allowed to play for more than one local Association or school / college during any one season in County competitions, except by written consent of the Association. Once a boy / girl has represented a team he / she shall be deemed to be "cup-tied" to that age group team.

In accordance with the rule passed by the ESFA AGM 

In individual school/college competitions, a maximum of three players who attend the same Academy/Centre of Excellence run by a club that employs contract players can participate in a match.

Attire worn by players and staff at matches in competitions must only reflect their School, College or Association and must not contain any reference to other football institutions. Teams that breach this rule may be disqualified from the competition in which the breach took place

4. Age Limits

The age limit for all competitions is to be reckoned as at midnight of the previous 31st August / 1st September. Boys / Girls who are under 9 years of age on the 1st September in a playing season shall not be allowed to participate in any competition organized by the Association.

Inter-School Competitions

Primary Age Group

  • Any boy / girl who is over 9 and Under 10 may play in small-sided games only.
  • Any boy / girl who is over 10 and Under 11 may play in 11 a side games. 
  • Any boy / girl who is over 10 and Under 11 may only play in 9 a side games from season 2013/14.

Secondary Age Groups – Girls (Inter-School)

Age Grouping to be:

  • Over 12 and Under 13 This will be a 9 a side competition from season 2014/15
  • Over 13 and Under 15
  • Over 15 and Under 16
  • Over 16 and Under 18

 

Secondary Age Groups – Boys (Inter-School)

Age Groupings to be:

  • Over 11 and Under 12 This will be a 9 a side competition from season 2013/14
  • Over 11 and Under 13
  • Over 12 and Under 14
  • Over 13 and Under 15
  • Over 15 and Under 16
  • Over 16 and Under 19

Once a player has represented a team he / she shall be deemed to be "cup tied" in that age group.

Inter-District Competitions

Age Groupings to be:

  • Over 10 and Under 11 This will be a 9 a side competition from season 2013/14
  • Over 11 and Under 12 This will be a 9 a side competition from season 2013/14
  • Over 11 and Under 13
  • Over 12 and Under 14
  • Over 13 and Under 15
  • Over 14 and Under 16

5. Match Arrangements

It is the responsibility of both teams to:

  • See the matches are played by the limit date.
  • Inform the competition secretary of the match result within 48 hours of the match date.

It is the responsibility of the home team to:

  • Inform the competition secretary of the details of each fixture as soon as they have been made.
  • Inform the competition secretary of details of any cancelled or postponed match and the re-arrangements.

Any school or District Association drawn at home, which finds itself unable to provide a suitable ground MUST immediately offer its opponents the right to stage the game – where possible, at least 8 days notice should be given, Matches to be arranged by mutual consent, but in the case of a dispute the game must be played on a Saturday.

Both teams must provide suitable first aid cover, which is to be available on the touchline.

In a case where a team has failed in its commitments, as detailed above, with reference to a particular competition, it may be liable to be withdrawn from that competition.

6. Duration of Matches

Cup Matches

Boys

Age Normal time Extra time
Under 11 25 mins. each way 5 mins. each way
Under 12 30 mins. each way 10 mins. each way
Under 13 30 mins. each way 10 mins. each way
Under 14 35 mins. each way 10 mins. each way
Under 15 40 mins. each way 10 mins. each way
Under 16 40 mins. each way 10 mins. each way
Under 18 45 mins. each way 15 mins. each way

Girls

Age Normal time Extra time
Under 11 25 mins. each way 5 mins. each way
Under 13 30 mins. each way 10 mins. each way
Under 14 30 mins. each way 10 mins. each way
Under 16 40 mins. each way 10 mins. each way
Under 18 45 mins. each way 10 mins. each way

League Matches

Boys

Age Normal time Extra time
Under 11 30 mins. each way  N/A

The duration of the match shall be as stated. If it is deemed to be inadvisable to play for this period of time, the Team Managers and the Referee may decide, prior to the start of the game, that the duration may be reduced. However the referees decision will be final. There will be a half time interval of up to 10 minutes. In the event of a drawn cup match extra time, as stated must be played.

In all cup competitions if no winning goal has been scored in extra time, the result of the game shall be decided by penalty kicks, according to the International Board regulations.

7. Match Footballs

The size of match footballs shall be:

Boys

  • Under 11 – Size 4
  • Under 12 – Size 4
  • Under 13 – Size 4
  • Under 14 – Size 4
  • Under 15 – Size 5
  • Under 16 – Size 5
  • Under 18 – Size 5

Girls

  • Under 11 - size 4
  • Under 13 – Size 4
  • Under 14 – Size 4
  • Under 16 – Size 5
  • Under 18 – Size 5

8. Colours

Associations and schools / colleges shall be expected to play in their nominated colours unless mutually agreed beforehand. In the event of a similarity of colours, it is the responsibility of the away team to provide alternative colours and play in them.

9. Substitutions

For teams in the Under 16 age group and below, a player who has been substituted himself / herself becomes a substitute and may re-place another player at any time subject to the substitution being carried out in accordance with Law 3 of the Laws of Association Football.

10. Match Officials

The home team shall arrange for a neutral referee for all inter-school league matches, and for cup matches up to, but including the semi-final stage of the respective competition.

The home Association shall arrange for a neutral referee for all inter Association league matches, and for cup matches up to but including the semi-final stage of the respective competition.

For the final, referee and assistant referees will be appointed by the Association.

In all inter-Association matches, competing teams must, where necessary provide suitable assistant referees. For all finals, the Association will endeavor to arrange for all three match officials.

It is the responsibility of the home school / Association to ensure that the referee sends to the ESFA Office ALL disciplinary reports within two days of the game taking place.

11. Financial Arrangements

The following arrangements will operate for Association competition matches:

  • In all matches the visiting team shall be responsible for its own traveling expenses.
  • Up to and including the semi-final stage of the competitions all profits shall go to the home side.
  • The Association will pay all the expenses for staging the finals.
  • It is the responsibility of the home team to pay the expenses of the match officials for all matches up to and including the semi-final.

12. Limit dates

All matches must be played on or before the limit date, as set, or special permission for an extension to the limit date has been approved by the competition secretary, failure to play by this date may result in the team responsible being withdrawn from the competition.

13. Match Results

It is the responsibility of both teams to ensure that the result of all matches are sent to the respective Competition Secretary within 48 hours of the match. This can be done via the Associations Website.

14. Protests

All protests, accompanied by a fee of £10, shall be referred, in writing, to the appropriate Competition Secretary within 7 days. This shall be acknowledged by the competition secretary within 3 days. This fee may be forfeited if the protest is considered to be frivolous.

The matter shall be considered by the disciplinary committee and the result made known to the protesting school / college / Association within 14 days of the protest being received.

Protests shall only be entertained if officially submitted by an affiliated school / college/ Association.