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FA Rule C -- Relating to Players

THE FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION RULES AND REGULATIONS RELATING TO PLAYERS OF SCHOOL AGE

FA Rule C: Relating to Players

 

4. Age Ranges and Provisions Relating to Players Under 16 Years of Age
(A) Children Not Registered as Academy Players
The following provisions apply to children not registered as Academy Players. All matches must be played in accordance with the correct version of the Laws of the Game appropriate for the format specified

(i) Children under 6 years old

A child who has not attained the age of 6 shall not play, and shall not be permitted or encouraged to play, in a match of any kind.

(ii) Children 6 years old and over-age groups, formats and related provisions

For the purposes of (a) and (b) below

(a) Season 2013-14: The relevant age of each player is determined by his or her age as at midnight on 31 August of the relevant playing season. i.e. Children who are aged 6 as at midnight on 31 August in a playing season (together with those who attain the age of 6 during the playing season) will be classed as Under 7 players for that playing season. Children who are aged 7 as at midnight on 31 August in a playing season will be classed as Under 8 players for that playing season, and so on.

(b) Notwithstanding the above, a child is permitted to "play up" in the age group above his or her chronological age group, irresepective of any difference in format or competition structure, ave that a child who attains the age of 6 after 31 August is permitted to play only in the Under 7 age group, and may not play in the Under 8 age group for that playing season.

The age groups that children are eligible to play in are set out below along with the permitted football formats for each of those age groups. Children shall not play, and shall not be permitted or encouraged to play, in a match between sides of more than the stated number of players, according to their age group.

Age on 31 August of the relevant playing season Eligible age groups Maximum permitted format
6 Under 7 5 v 5
Under 8
7 Under 8 5 v 5
Under 9 7 v 7
8 Under 9 7 v 7
Under 10
9 Under 10 7 v 7
Under 11 9 v 9
10 Under 11 9 v 9
Under 12
11 Under 12 9 v 9
Under 13 11 v 11
12 Under 13 11 v 11
Under 14
13 Under 14 11 v 11
Under 15
14 Under 15 11 v 11
Under 16
15 Under 16 11 x 11
Under 17
Under 18
16 Under 17 11 v 11
Under 18
Open-age

(c) A child under the age of 15 as at midnight on 31 August in a playing season, shall not be permitted to play in a match during that playing season where any other player is older or younger than that child by 2 years or more.

(d) However, as exceptions to (c) above, the association may in using its discretion:

  • (i) Enable disabled children to play football in an age group other than the groups dictated by their birth date, including "playing down".
  • (ii) In accordance with a current FA dispensation policy, grant dispensation to enale a child to play football in an age group other than the groups dictated by their birth date, including "playing down".

(e) To play in an Under 18 competition, a child must have attained the age of 15 as at midnight on 31 August of the relevant playing season.

(f) To play in an open-age competition a child must have attained the age of 16.

(iii) Children over 6 years old - Competition Structure

(a) Under 7 and Under 8 Mini Soccer

Leagues may organise a maximum of 3 trophy events per season, each to be played over a maximum period of 2 weeks, and may publish the results of such events. The remainder of the season may consist of organised development fixtures only, for which leagues and clubs may collect the results and compile league tables but must not publish either.

(b) Under 9 and Under 10 Mini-soccer

Leagues may organise a maximum of 3 trophy events per season, each to be played over a maximum period of 4 weeks, and may publish the results of such events. The remainder of the season may consist of organised development fixtures only, for which leagues and clubs may collect the results and compile league tables but must not publish either.

(c) Under 11

Leagues may organise a maximum of 3 trophy events per season, each to be played over a maximum period of 6 weeks, and may publish the results of such events. The remainder of the season may consist of organised development fixtures only, for which leagues and clubs may collect the results and compile league tables but must not publish either.

(d) Under 12 to Under 18

There is no restriction on the structure of competitions.

(iv) Sanction Provisions

The written consent of The Association or of the relevant Association or Associations shall be required pursuant to Rules B1 and/or B7 as appropriate for any competition for Under 18 age groups and below.

(v) Gender of Players in Under 7 to Under 18 Matches

A child in the age ranges Under 7 to Under 18 inclusive may play a match involving boys and girls.

(vi) Disability Football - Gender of Players in Under 17 Matches and Above

In respect of disability football only, and only in accordance with a current Dispensation Policy, the association may, in its discretion, grant a dispensation to permit  any team playing at Under 17 level or above to field both male and female players in a match.

(vii) Priority for School Activities

(a) Priority must at all times be given to school or school organisation's activities in accordance with the recommendations of the "Memorandum: Children of School Age and School Games" whilst a pupil is receiving full-time education.

(b) All Clubs and Competitions, excluding those whose matches are played on Sundays, shall include in their rules a provision to the effect that the availability of a pupil must be consented to by the head teacher.

(B) Players of School Age Registered as Academy Players

  • (i) Players who reach the age of 9 years during the academic year and who are in full-time education may register as an Academy Player.
  • (ii) The licensing authority for Academies shall comprise the PGB which shall operate under such Professional Game Youth Development Rules as shall be adopted from time to time.
  • (iii) It shall be deemed to be Misconduct for any Club or Club Official to induce any player of school age registered with a separate Club or Academy to leave school for the purpose of signing a contract of employment.

MEMORANDUM: CHILDREN OF SCHOOL AGE AND SCHOOL GAMES

One of the important aspects of games in school is the opportunity they afford of developing a pupil's sense of loyalty and honour. It is therefore of concern when interest in games outside the school conflict with a pupil's loyalty to the school and/or school organisation's activities.

1. It is usually the pupil of outstanding football ability whose services are sought by any Club, and the player is most likely to be a member of the school or association team. While schools' matches are often arranged on Saturday mornings and Club matches take place in the afternoon, it is considered that a player should not play in 2 matches on the same day, for the 1 match is like;y to affect play in the other.

2. An outside Club or Organisation should consult the head teacher before selecting any child of school age to play for a team, and should accept the head teacher's decision on these matters. Head teachers of schools should not restrain pupils, who are not selected for school games of any kind, from playing for an outside organisation during their free time.

 

 

During the FA Youth Review consultation, leagues asked The FA to find a way to allow children that under the 2 year age banding had played up a year prior to U10, to be able to continue to play with their friendship group beyond this age, where teams moved to the 9v9 format. With this in mind Rule C4(a) was changed. The change is not meant to be an open door for the formation of U11 divisions made up solely of U10s, it is there to support the development of a few individuals.


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