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HSFA  General Competition Rules

1. THE TROPHY                                         7. SUBSTITUTES                                     13. MATCH OFFICIALS

2. CLOSING DATE FOR ENTRIES           8. PROTESTS                                          14. MATCH DAYS

3. MEMENTOES                                        9. DEADLINE DATES                               15. FINANCE

4. CONTROL                                             10. PLAYERS’ ATTIRE                              16. ALTERATION OF RULES

5. THE FIELD OF PLAY                             11. PLAYERS

6. THE BALL                                              12. MATCH ARRANGEMENTS


The rules detailed below apply to all HSFA competitions except where stated under the heading of any specific competition.



(a) The Trophy is the property of the HSFA.

(b) The Trophy shall be presented to the captain of the winning team immediately after the match, or at the match function should that be held after the match.

(c) The winning School, College, or Association shall be responsible for suitable engraving and for the maintenance of the Trophy in good order.

(d) Schools, Colleges or Associations who fail to ensure suitable engraving or maintenance will be charged by the HSFA for all required alterations.

(e) It shall be the responsibility of the School, College, or Association to ensure the return of the Trophy to a designated member of the Executive Committee by 1st March. 

(f) Schools, Colleges or Associations who fail to return the Trophy by the designated date of 1st March will incur a £50 penalty charge made payable to the HSFA prior to the next AGM.

(g) Schools, Colleges or Associations who fail to pay the £50 penalty charge for late return of a Trophy prior to the next AGM will be prevented from participating in any future competitions until such time as the penalty charge is paid in full.



The Competitions Secretary (Secondary) and Primary Secretary (Primary) will determine closing dates for all HSFA Competitions and indicate this on the competition entry forms.



(a) 11-a-side Competitions

Eighteen mementoes (16 players and 2 team officials) shall be awarded to each School or Association taking part in a final tie. Additional identical mementoes may be purchased by the finalists subject to the approval of the HSFA. Mementoes shall be awarded to the match officials (referee, two assistant referees and reserve official), officiating at a final tie.

(b) Small-Sided Competitions

(i) Each County Champion School / College / Association (Under 11 7-a-side) will receive a suitable memento. It is hoped there will be Championship Shields for each team winning a Local Association Competition (Under 12 5-a-side) but this will be subject to Local Association funding.

(ii) Certificates or other suitable mementoes will be presented to each player participating in the County Competitions (Under 11).



(a) The entire control and management of the competitions shall be vested in the Executive Committee, or such committees that shall be appointed by the Executive Committee.

(b) The rules of the game shall be those of the International Football Association Board, except as otherwise stated.

(c) All Local Association and County representative teams must be under the ultimate control of either:-

(i) A practising teacher, recognised as such by the Department for Education, current employee of an education service OR

(ii) A retired teacher, or past employee of the education service or an AOTT who has received direct approval in writing from the ESFA to undertake such responsibilities.

(d) (i) Approval may be withdrawn, by the ESFA, HSFA or Local Association, at any time.

(ii) Any other person regularly assisting with or coaching a team must have an FA DBS check and safeguarding training within the previous 3 years (either through an educational establishment or the F.A.) and operate in the presence of a person who is qualified under (i) or (ii) above.

(iii) Associations must, at all times, comply with the FA’s/ESFA’s Safeguarding Criteria. Compliance must be in place at the time of affiliation.

(e) An individual cannot be the named manager/coach for more than two teams within the same Association, although they can be named as assistant manager/assistant coach for more than two teams.

(f) All District Associations who run representative teams must register all team personnel with the ESFA as a requirement of the affiliation. This information must be registered with the ESFA as part of the affiliation process, prior to affiliation being approved.





The following are recommended pitch sizes for 7v7, 9v9 and 11v11 youth football:​







If a pitch is provided for U13 / U14 it is recommended that 7 x 21 goalposts are provided. However, it should be noted that 8 x 24 would also be acceptable as not all sites will be able to provide specifically for this age group.

Artificial Turf Pitches (3G Artificial Pitches) are allowed in all competitions providing they meet the required performance standards and are listed on the FA Register and must be tested (by an accredited test institute) every three years and the results passed to The FA. The home team is also responsible for advising participants of footwear requirements when confirming the match arrangements.



The ball shall be size 5 except where stated under a specific competition rule.



‘Repeated’ substitutions are allowed in all competitions up to and including the Under 18 age group. In these age groups, a player who has been substituted during a match becomes a substitute and may, in turn, replace another player at any time subject to the substitution being carried out in accordance with Law 3 of the Laws of the Game.

9v9 and 11v11 matches: Teams are permitted to use 5 substitutes from five named players.

Small-Sided matches: Indoor 5-a-side - 3 named substitutes

7-a-side - 3 named substitutes



(a) Protests arising from competitions organised for schools by the HSFA shall be submitted to the Competitions Secretary in line with the HSFA policy for protests, which shall apply as follows:

(i) All protests shall be in writing and shall be received by the Competitions Secretary within 2 working days of the match concerned.

(ii) No protest relative to the ground, goalposts, or other appurtenances of the game shall be considered unless a   protest in writing was made to the referee before the start of the match.

(iii) Any protest shall be signed by the Headteacher/Principal/Association Secretary as an acknowledgement of their approval of its submission.

(iv) The Executive Committee will gather any evidence they wish to have before making their decision.

(v) A copy of this decision must be relayed to both teams.


(b) Should the complainant not be satisfied with the decision of the Executive Committee, an appeal shall be submitted to the Competitions Secretary in line with the HSFA policy for appeals, which shall apply as follows:

(i) Any appeal against the decision of the HSFA within the HSFA boundaries must be made within 2 working days of the receipt of the ruling that the HSFA has made.

(ii) The appeal must arrive at the Chairman by letter, countersigned by the Headteacher/Principal/Association             Secretary and accompanied by a School/College/Association cheque for £30. This will be returned if the appeal is upheld.

(iii) The appeal will be considered by the Executive Committee and shall be final and binding on all participants.



The Competition Secretary shall fix target dates by which all matches shall be played. Failure to keep to those dates may lead to disqualification. In the event that the team managers are unable to agree a mutually convenient date to play the fixture, the default date for playing the match becomes the published deadline date.

The Competitions Secretary shall have the power to:

(a) Order a match to be played on, or by, the given date

(b) Grant a reasonable extension to the target deadline

(c) Expel any team from the competition.



(a) Where schools/colleges or Associations have similar colours, the Home team shall be entitled to retain their colours and the visiting team must change to colours that provide a satisfactory contrast.

(b) Teams must not wear shirt advertising of any product, service or company that would be considered contradictory to the ethos of the HSFA or the students in its welfare.

(c) Players’ shirts shall be numbered.

(d) Teams must not wear shirts where the dominant colour is black.

(e) Attire worn by players and staff at County Finals must only reflect their School, College or Association and not make any reference to other football institutions.



(a) If the Executive Committee has any doubt over the qualification of a player taking part in any competition, it shall have the power to call upon the player’s Association, school or college to which he or she belongs to prove that he or she is qualified according to the rules, and failing satisfactory proof the offending school, college or Association shall be disqualified from the competition.

(b) Mixed-gender matches shall be played in line with current FA regulations.

(c) A player may only play for the school or college he/she is currently attending and on whose roll he/she appears at the time of the game in which he/she is playing.

(d) Students attending 6th Forms or Colleges who are over the age of 18 and who are either repeating a school year or are behind their chronological academic year are not permitted to play in any HSFA competition.

(e) A pupil shall not play for more than one School/Association/County in the same competition during any season, except by permission of the Executive Committee.

(f) In individual school/college competitions, a maximum of three players who attend an FA Licensed Academy/Centre of Excellence can participate in a match. Participation of the three players relates to their inclusion in the named squad. This rule does not apply to the U/18 County League.

(g) In the U/18 County Cup, a maximum of three players who are above the statutory leaving age and were not on roll at that school in the previous academic year can participate in a match.  Participation of the three players relates to their inclusion in the named squad.

(h) In the U/18 County Cup, a school/college that provides a Football Academy academic programme as part of their Post-16 curriculum which includes a Football based practical element involving regular coaching/training sessions in addition to classroom-based teaching may play a maximum of five players from this course in a match.  Participation of the five players relates to their inclusion in the named squad. This rule works in conjunction with Rule 11 (g)

(i) A pupil on a managed move referral is not eligible to participate in a HSFA competition fixture without the prior permission of the Executive Committee.



(a) In the rounds of all 11-a-side competitions, extra time of 10 minutes each way (7 minutes at under 12 and 13) shall be played if the match ends in a draw. Should the scores remain equal after the conclusion of extra time, then the result shall be determined by the taking of kicks from the penalty mark (taken in accordance with the recommendations of FIFA and published in the Laws of the Game).

(b) If, in the opinion of the referee, for circumstances beyond the control of the organisers, scheduled extra time in a match cannot be started or completed, a match shall be deemed to have been completed at the end of normal playing time. Penalties, if scheduled, shall then follow.

(c) Postponed or abandoned matches in competitions shall be played by the Saturday following the target date. Where schools are not mutually agreed on a date, then the matter will be referred to the Competitions Secretary.

(d) Postponed or abandoned matches in Inter-Association competitions shall be played on the spare date as indicated.

(e) In the event of any match being abandoned for any reason stated under Law 5 of The Laws of the Game, the Executive Committee shall have the power to allow the score at the time of the abandonment to stand and to remove from any competition any team found guilty of causing such abandonment.

(f) There shall be a half-time interval of ten minutes in all 11-a-side matches which can only be altered with the consent of the referee.

(g) All Wix Finals (U11, U13 & U15) will be organised by the Wix Executive Committee.

(h) If sufficient support is not forthcoming from membership to assist with the organisation and smooth running of County Finals, it will be the responsibility of the two competing schools to organise the match themselves.  This will include:

(i) The collection of the trophy and medals from a designated member of the Executive Committee

(ii) The appointment of three qualified and neutral officials

(iii) The production of match programmes

(iv) The organisation of an appropriate sized pitch and match related equipment at a neutral venue

(v) The supervision of all supporters and the overall responsibility for their behaviour

(vi) The presentation of the trophy and medals if a member of the Executive Committee is unable to attend

(i) Equivalent costs for individual Wix Finals will be split between those schools who have had to organise a County Cup Final.

(j) All arrangements for Finals shall be subject to the approval of the Executive Committee.

(k) Those schools or colleges that reach any County Cup Final being organised by the Executive Committee must submit their squad details to the Chairman at least seven days prior to the Final so a programme can be produced.  Each team must also inform the Vice-Chairman of the names of two additional staff members who are required to assist the Executive Committee with the organisation of the Final.


(l) A returnable deposit of £100 must be given by each school or college reaching a County Cup Final organised by the Executive Committee to the most senior member of the Executive Committee at the Cup Final prior to kick-off.  This is to cover the cost of any damage incurred by that school or college at the Cup Final.  The match will not commence until the most senior member of the Executive Committee has received the deposit from both schools or colleges.



(a) The Match Officials shall be appointed by the Home team and be suitably qualified. Their duties shall be accordance with the Laws of the Game as sanctioned and enforced by the International Football Association Board.

(b) Suitably qualified students may be used to officiate games below the U16 age group.

(c) Qualified, neutral and external officials should be used to officiate games above the U15 age group.

(d) Members of the playing squad or unqualified students cannot be used as Assistant Referees.

(e) In the event of a referee failing to appear, the teams involved must agree in writing upon one on the ground so that the game shall be conducted in accordance with the rules. The official so acting shall have the powers of a duly appointed referee.

(f) Match Officials for Wix Competitions Finals shall be arranged by the Executive Committee in accordance with the rules of the competition.

(g) In all other Finals Rule 12 (h) (ii) will apply if no support is forthcoming from membership.



Matches will be played midweek, but a match may be played on a Saturday where teams are mutually agreed, or, where on the application of the home team, the Executive Committee considers it desirable. In the case of emergency, matches must be played on any date ordered by the Competition Secretary.



(a) An entry fee may be charged to enter a competition. The amount of such fee will be determined by the Executive Committee and notified to all participants.

 (b) All HSFA County Finals must take place on private, enclosed grounds at which a gate must be taken, except that the Executive Committee may sanction the use of an unenclosed ground.



These rules may be altered only at a General Meeting of the Association in accordance with the principles laid down in General Rule 15.

Pitch sizes 2021.JPG
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