The Midland Football Alliance League Handbook - Standardised Rules

MIDLAND FOOTBALL ALLIANCE

STANDARDISED RULES

1. DEFINITIONS

1.1 In these Rules:

“Affiliated Association” means an Association accorded the status of an affiliated Association under the Rules of The FA.

“AGM” shall mean the annual general meeting held in accordance with the Articles of the Competition.

“Appointing Authority” means The West Midlands Supply Leagues Pool.

“Articles” means the Articles of Association of the Company and reference to a number of following the word “Article” is a reference to an Article so numbered in the “Articles.”

“Board” means the Board of Directors of the Company appointed in accordance with the Articles or, in the case of a Competition which is an unincorporated association, the management committee elected to manage the running of the Competition.

“Club” means a Club for the time being in membership of the Company (including a Club which has had a transfer of membership approved under Rule 2.7 below).

“Company” means The Midland Football Alliance which administers the Competition and shall, where the Competition is an unincorporated entity, include that entity.

“Competition” means the Midland Football Alliance League.

“Competition Match” means any match played or to be played under the jurisdiction of the Company.

“Competition Office” means the registered Offices or addresses where League business is transacted.

“Competition Secretary” means such person or persons appointed or elected to carry out the administration of the Competition.

“Contract Player” means any Player (other than a Player on a Scholarship) who is eligible to play under a written contract of employment with a Club.

“Criteria Document” means the document entitled “National Ground Grading Document” issued by The FA from time to time and shall, unless stated to the contrary, mean the latest edition of the document.

“CVA” shall mean an agreement reached by a Club under a Company Voluntary Arrangement (under the Insolvency Act 1986) or a Scheme of Arrangement (under the Companies Act 1985 or Companies Act 2006).

“Day” means any day on which the Competition Office is open for normal business but excluding, unless the Board determines otherwise, a Saturday, a Sunday or a Bank or Public Holiday.

“Fees Tariff” means a list of fees approved by the Company at a general meeting to be levied by the Company for any matters for which fees are payable under the Rules.

“Fines Tariff” means a list of fines approved by the Company at a general meeting to be levied by the Company for any breach of the Rules.

“Football Creditor" means any one of the following:

• The Football Association Limited

• Any Club affiliated with an Affiliated Association

• Any League sanctioned by The Association or an Affiliated Association

• Any full time or part time employee of a Club, or former full time or part time employee of a Club, in respect of sums due to such person by way of arrears of remuneration or expenses. This excludes for these purposes all and any claims for redundancy, unfair or wrongful dismissal or other claims arising out of the termination of the contract or in respect of any period after the actual date of termination

• The Professional Footballers’ Association Limited

• The Football Foundation

• Any Affiliated Association

• Any pension scheme or plan administered by or on behalf of the Competition

“Ground" means the ground on which the Club’s first team plays it’s Competition fixtures.

“Insolvency Event” means any one of the following:

(a) entering into a Company Voluntary Arrangement pursuant to Part 1 of the Insolvency Act 1986 (“the 1986 Act”) or a compromise or arrangement with its creditors under Part 26 of the Companies Act 2006 or any compromise agreement with its creditors as a whole; or

(b) lodging a Notice of Intention to appoint an Administrator or Notice of Appointment of an Administrator at the Court in accordance with paragraph 26 or paragraph 29 of Schedule B1 to the 1986 Act, an application to the Court for an Administration Order under paragraph 12 of Schedule B1 to the 1986 Act (other than paragraph 12 (1)(c) or where an Administrator is appointed or an Administration Order is made (“Administrator” and “Administration Order” having the meanings attributed to them respectively by paragraphs 1 and 10 of Schedule B1 to the 1986 Act); or

(c) an Administrative Receiver (as defined by section 251 of the 1986 Act), a Law of Property Act Receiver (appointed under Section 109 of the Law of Property Act 1925) or any Receiver appointed by the Court under the Supreme Court Act 1981 or any other Receiver is appointed over any assets which, in the opinion of the Board, are material to the Club’s ability to fulfil it’s obligations as a member of the League; or

(d) shareholders passing a resolution pursuant to section 84(1) of the 1986 Act to voluntarily wind up; or

(e) a meeting of creditors is convened pursuant to section 95 or section 98 of the 1986 Act; or

(f) a winding up order is made by the Court under section 122 of the 1986 Act or a provisional liquidator is appointed under section 135 of the 1986 Act; or

(g) ceasing or forming an intention to cease wholly or substantially to carry on business save for the purpose of reconstruction or amalgamation or otherwise in accordance with a scheme of proposals which have previously been submitted to and approved in writing by the Board; or

(h) being subject to any insolvency regime in any jurisdiction outside England and Wales which is analogous with the insolvency regimes detailed in (a) to (g) above; and/or

(i) have any proceeding or step taken or any court order in any jurisdiction made which has a substantially similar effect to any of the foregoing.

“Long Term Loan” means a loan transfer in excess of 93 days of a Player who is a qualifying Player within the terms of the Rules.

“Match Officials” means the referee, the assistant referees and any fourth official appointed to a Competition Match.

“Membership Year” means the period in each calendar year from the holding of one annual general meeting of the Company to the holding of the next annual general meeting.

“National League System” means the system of competitions controlled by the FA where promotion and relegation links exist between participating Leagues.

“Non Contract Player” means any Player (other than a Player on a Scholarship) who is eligible to play for a Club but has not entered into a written contract of employment.

“Officer” means an individual who is required to make an Owners’ and Directors’ Declaration by The FA.

“Owners’ and Directors’ Declaration means a declaration to The FA required from an Officer from time to time.

“Paid in Full” shall mean when a Club has either

• paid (in cleared funds) to the supervisor of its CVA or its administrator, sufficient funds to pay all its creditors in full (100p in the £) and to cover the costs of the CVA or the administration and confirmation of this fact has been received in writing from the supervisor/administrator; or

• paid (in cleared funds) sufficient to settle in full (100p in the £) any debts owed to creditors outside a CVA.

“Player” means any Contract Player, Non Contract Player or other Player who plays or who is eligible to play for a Club.

“Players’ Agent” means a person who, for reward, represents, negotiates on behalf of, advises or otherwise acts for a Principal in the context of either the transfer of a Player’s registration, the terms of a contract between a Player and a Club or the terms of a contract between a manager and a Club.

“Playing Season” means the period between the date on which the first league fixture in the Competition is played each year until the date on which the last league fixture in the Competition is played. For Clubs participating in play off matches this does include the period when play off matches are played.

“Play Off Position” means the position of a Club in the table at the end of each Playing Season which is provided for in Rule 13 as qualifying the Club to take part in a play off match to qualify for promotion to the next step of football for the next Playing Season.

“Principal” means a Club, a manager, an official of a Club, or a Player employing an Agent for one of the purposes set out in the definition of Agent above.

“Rules” means these rules under which the Competition is administered.

“Satisfied” shall mean that a creditor has consented, and provided evidence of such, to accept a sum in full and final settlement of its debt from a Club. For the avoidance of doubt, a vote to approve a Company Voluntary Arrangement (‘CVA’) by the creditors of a Club, held in accordance with Insolvency Law in operation from time to time, shall deem those debts admitted to the CVA as being Satisfied. The Board shall determine at its absolute discretion whether an amount is Satisfied under the Rules.

“Scholar” means a player aged sixteen or over who has signed a Scholarship with a Premier League or Football League Club or licensed Football Conference Club and who has completed a registration form for Scholars in accordance with FA Rules and Regulations.

“Scholarship” means a Scholarship as set out in Rule C 3 (a) (i) of the Rules of the FA.

“Short Term Loan” means a loan transfer for a period of no fewer than 28 days and no more than 93 days in any one season.

“Secured” shall mean that one of the following legally recognised undertakings has been provided for the payment of the specified sum in full by the AGM at the end of the Playing Season in which the transfer of membership takes place:

(i) A solicitor’s undertaking for the full amount outstanding;

(ii) A bank guarantee is held for the full amount outstanding;

In each case to be paid and satisfied in full by no later than the AGM at the end of the Playing Season in which the transfer took place.

The Board shall determine at its absolute discretion whether an amount is Secured or Satisfied under the Rules.

“Significant Interest” means the holding and/or possession of the legal or beneficial interest in, and/or the ability to exercise the voting rights applicable to, shares or other securities in the Club which confer in aggregate on the holder(s) thereof ten (10) per cent or more of the total voting rights exercisable in respect of the Shares of any class of Shares of the Club. All or part of any such interest may be held directly or indirectly or by contract including, but not limited to, by way of membership of any group that in the opinion of the Board are acting in concert, and any rights or powers held by an Associate (as defined in the rules of the FA Challenge Cup) shall be included for the purposes of determining whether an interest or interests amounts to a “Significant Interest”.

“SSAP” means a sporting sanctions appeal panel to be appointed to determine an appeal against a deduction of points under Rule 14.

“Team Sheet” means a form provided by the Competition referred to in Rule 8.11.1

“The FA” means The Football Association Limited.

“Work Experience Player” means a Player whose registration is held by a competition other than the Competition and is registered under a Scholarship. The Club taking the Player on work experience will register the Player Non Contract with a league in which they take part to fulfill the football element of the Scholarship, not the educational part.

“Written” or “In Writing” means the representation or reproduction of words or symbols or other information in a visible form by any method or combination of methods, whether sent or supplied in electronic form or otherwise

1.2 Words or expressions used in these Rules shall, if not inconsistent with the subject or context, bear the same meanings as in the Articles

1.3 All Clubs shall adhere to the Rules. Every Club shall be deemed, as a member of the Company to have accepted the Rules and to have agreed to abide by the decisions of the Board in relation thereto, subject to the provisions of Rule 17

1.4 The Competition will be known as ”The Midland Football Alliance” (or such other name as the Company may adopt). The Clubs participating in the Competition must be members of the Company. A Club which ceases to exist or which ceases to be entitled to play in the Competition for any reason whatsoever shall thereupon automatically cease to be a member of the Company

1.5 The administration of the Competition under these Rules will be carried out by the Company acting (save where otherwise specifically mentioned herein) through the Board in accordance with the Rules Regulations and Practices of The FA

1.6 The Company shall be part of the National League System and shall sign such documents as are required from time to time to confirm such membership(s)

2. MEMBERSHIP REQUIREMENTS

2.1 Each Club shall register its Ground and its pitch dimensions, with the Competition.

Dimensions of the field of play for all Competition matches shall be:-

Length – Maximum 120 yards (110 metres) – Minimum 110 yards (100 metres)

Width – Maximum 80 yards (75 metres) – Minimum 70 yards (64 metres)

No Club shall remove to another Ground without first obtaining written consent of the Board; such consent not to be withheld unreasonably. In consideration whether to give such consent the Board shall have regard to all the circumstances of the case and shall not grant consent unless it is reasonably satisfied that such consent:-

• would be consistent with the objectives of the Competition as set out in the Memorandum of Association;

• would be appropriate having in mind the relationship (if any) between the locality with which by its name or otherwise the applicant Club is traditionally associated and that in which such Club proposes to establish its Ground;

• would not adversely affect such Club’s Officials, Players, supporters, shareholders, sponsors and others having an interest in its activities;

• would not have an adverse affect on visiting Clubs;

• would not adversely affect Clubs having their registered Grounds in the immediate vicinity of the proposed location and

• would enhance the reputation of the Competition and promote the game of association football generally.

The Club must disclose, as soon as practicable, plans and details of any proposed move to a new stadium. The location of the proposed new stadium must meet with the approval of the Board.

Without prejudice to the provisions of Rule 4.12 a Club shall forthwith notify the Competition of any proposed change in its circumstances relating to the occupation of its Ground. By way of example and without limitation, a proposed change may include a sale of any freehold interest (with or without subsequent leaseback) or any surrender or variation or a lease or licence.

2.2 All Clubs shall have Grounds and headquarters situated in England, the Channel Islands, Isle of Man if applicable, or Wales and the Competition Secretary shall send their names and particulars to The FA annually by the date appointed by, and in the format required by, The FA. Clubs playing in England shall be duly affiliated at all times to a recognised County Football Association. Welsh Clubs shall be affiliated to The FA of Wales. Each Club shall notify the Competition Secretary of its affiliation number each year as soon as practicable after it has received same. Each Club shall return to the Competition Secretary a fully completed questionnaire relating to Form “D” required by The FA by the date given in the circular letter accompanying the questionnaire issued by the Competition Secretary.

2.3.1 A Club’s Ground may be shared with another Club or any other club (including a club engaged in another sport) providing, where sharing with a football club the Club or club playing in the most senior competition has priority of fixtures at all times and, where sharing with a club engaged in another sport, the Club has priority of fixtures. A Club will not be permitted to ground share to gain promotion or to avoid relegation. Ground sharing may not be permitted when one of the sharers retains the use of another ground unless that club can show by means of a refused planning permission or similar that it cannot meet the requirements of the Criteria Document at that ground. Any Club wishing to share a Ground or intending to move to a new Ground must obtain the written consent of the Board. Any Ground sharing for a period exceeding thirteen (13) weeks must be in writing and a written agreement must first be approved by the Board before being entered into and (except in an emergency) must be completed by 31 March in any year to be effective for the following Playing Season. A copy of the completed signed and dated agreement must be received by the Competition within fourteen days of the approval being sent to the Club.

2.3.2 The Club as at 31 March in any year have either;

(i) A lease for the Ground that extends uninterrupted for a minimum of the next Playing Season, or

(ii) Possess an agreement for the use of the Ground that is acceptable to the Football Association.

In each case the Club must provide to the Competition of which it is a member and to the Football Association;

If the Ground is freehold either currently dated Official Copies of the freehold title at the Land Registry in the name of entity in membership of the Competition or, if unregistered, a Certificate of Title from the Club's solicitor showing that the ground is owned by the entity in membership of the Competition, or

If the Ground is held leasehold a copy of the signed and dated lease in the name of the entity in membership of the Competition; if the expiry date of the lease has already passed or is dated before the end of the next full Playing Season, a certificate from the Club's solicitor as to whether or not a notice has been given by the landlord to terminate the lease. In addition the Club must provide evidence of registration at the Land Registry, or explain why the Lease is not registered.

If the Ground is subject to an acceptable agreement a copy of the signed and dated agreement for the use of the Ground together with confirmation from the Football Association that the agreement is acceptable.

The Club must disclose whether the Club's occupation of the Ground is subject to any third party option, whether the Ground is charged by way of security and whether or not any break clauses in the lease or agreement have been exercised either by the landlord or the tenant.

In all cases The Football Association and the Competition of which it is a Member have the right to call for further information.

2.3.3 A Club’s Ground must comply with the Criteria Document for the step in the National League System at which the Club is playing.

2.4 No club which is a “nursery” club or a reserve side of a football club shall be eligible for membership of the Company.

A club shall be deemed to be a “nursery” club if it is under obligation, written or otherwise, to a football club by reason of which it has not the sole and entire control of its own management, finance and Players.

2.5 Clubs seeking membership or applying to retain membership of the Company must comply with the requirements provided for in the Criteria Document for the step at which the Club is playing. Only clubs which meet these criteria in full will be eligible for membership. All Clubs visited by representatives of the Competition in pursuance of the document will pay a non-returnable fee. In the absence of a procedure for application for membership being established by The FA, the Board shall establish such procedure. The Board shall establish a procedure for inspecting Clubs’ grounds from time to time to ensure that the grade attained by that ground is maintained.

2.6 The Competition and the FA shall determine a time scale whereby all Clubs in membership must attain the grade provided for in the Criteria Document. The grade applicable for each Club for the commencement of a Playing Season shall be that existing at the previous 1st April, such grading to be ascertained by an inspection carried out on or before 1st April or as soon as practicable thereafter. Any Club not maintaining the grade set for the Competition may be relegated at the end of the Playing Season to a step determined by The FA.

Any delay in inspection shall in no way release a Club from its obligation to have its ground ready for inspection. If for any reason a Club's existing ground, or any new ground in which it proposes to play its home matches in the season following inspection, is not available for grading by 1st April prior to commencement of the relevant season then the Club must, by the 1st April, submit to the Board in writing its proposals for a venue for its home matches in the following season ("alternative proposal"), such alternative proposal to be considered (and if appropriate) approved at the next Board Meeting after 1st April. The alternative proposal must, inter alia, contain documentary evidence in support of any ground sharing arrangements and evidence that the proposed ground is demonstrably suitable at a level which the relevant club will be competing. The alternative proposal may not be for a continuation of any ground share arrangement if the Club has had a ground sharing arrangement for the previous 2 seasons, or any part thereof, even if those arrangements have related to more than one ground.

Any approval of the alternative proposal will be subject to the issue of a grading certificate. The Board will use all reasonable endeavours to inspect the ground after receiving the alternative proposal and prior to the Board meeting, but if it is unable to do so then any approval of the alternative proposal will be subject to the issue of a satisfactory grading certificate. In the event of a Club not having received a grading certificate by 1st April and not having had its alternative proposal approved at the relevant Board Meeting, it shall be relegated forthwith at the end of the playing season to a level determined by The Football Association.

Clubs in membership of the Competition on 1st April in any season will have until 31st May in that season to meet in full the criteria of membership of the Competition.

2.7 Any Club which is incorporated must be incorporated in England and Wales. Any Club wishing to incorporate shall notify The FA, its Affiliated Association and the Company Secretary before it makes any resolutions in this regard. Any person wishing to be appointed as an Officer to a Club which is incorporated must comply with the requirements of the FA and send to the Competition Secretary a copy of the Owners’ and Directors’ Declaration within 5 days of sending the same to the FA.

2.8 In the event that any Club which is an unincorporated association incorporates itself it shall notify the Company Secretary in writing within 14 days of the passing of the resolution to take this action and shall with such notice provide the Company Secretary with a copy of the Memorandum and Articles of Association of the company. Any amendments to the Memorandum and Articles of Association of a Club must be notified to the Competition Secretary in writing within 14 days of the passing of the resolution with a copy of the change(s).

Transfer of Membership

Transfer as a Going Concern

2.9.1 In the event that any Club resolves to transfer its membership of the Competition from one legal entity to a different legal entity, other than in the circumstances shown at 2.9.2 below, the Board will use the following minimum criteria in deciding whether to approve that transfer:

(a) The shareholders or members of the Club have voted to agree to the transfer of the Club’s membership to the new entity.

(b) All Football Creditors in the Club must be paid in full or transferred in full (with each creditor’s consent) to the new entity, and evidenced as such.

(c) All other creditors in the Club must be paid in full or Secured or transferred in full (with each creditor’s consent) to the new entity and evidenced as such.

(d) The proposed new entity has provided financial forecasts to the FA and the Competition showing its ability to fund the Club for the next twelve (12) months or to the end of the Playing Season following transfer (whichever is the longer) and that evidence of funding sources has been provided.

(e) The FA must have given approval for the transfer to take place.

Transfer from Insolvency

2.9.2 In the event that any Club that is subject to an Insolvency Event resolves to transfer its membership of the Competition to a new entity, the Board will use the following minimum criteria in deciding whether or not to approve that transfer:

(a) The shareholders or members of the Club have voted to agree to the transfer of the Club’s membership to the new entity;

(b) All Football Creditors in the Club must be Paid in Full and evidenced as such;

(c) The proposed new entity has provided financial forecasts to the FA and the Competition showing its ability to fund the Club for the next twelve (12) months or to the end of the Playing Season following transfer (whichever is the longer) and that evidence of funding sources has been provided;

(d) The FA must have given approval for the transfer to take place; and

(e) All other creditors in the Club must be Satisfied and evidenced as such. (This provision to be read in conjunction with 2.9.3 below.)

In the event that requirement (e) is not fully complied with, and only where the Board, at its absolute discretion, deems there to have been exceptional circumstances surrounding the application for the transfer, it may approve the transfer (subject to compliance with all other provisions (a) to (d) above) and may apply such conditions as it deems appropriate including, without limitation, the deduction of points.

2.9.3. Nothing in Rule 2.9.2 above shall limit in any way the application of Rule 14B of these Rules.

2.10 The Competition shall allow for up to 22 member Clubs. There will be 1 division of 22 Clubs where possible. The Clubs competing in each division each season will be confirmed by the Annual General Meeting of the Company each year. A Club entered into membership at the Annual General Meeting shall be subject to the application of the Rules until the date of the following Annual General Meeting. It shall be allowed for these numbers to be increased to accommodate any anomaly in the National League System.

2.11 Any Club or Club representative found guilty of serious irregularities regarding Players Contract payments under The FA Rules may be expelled from the Company in accordance with these Rules and in addition, may be fined such sum as the Board shall determine.

2.12 The Company will hold a register of the full name of the company/unincorporated entity constituting each Club. If the Club is an incorporated entity, it must provide the Company with its company registration number. If the Club is an unincorporated entity, it must provide the Company with the name of an individual in whose name the membership of the Company will be vested.

The Company will provide a copy of its membership register to The FA annually.

Publication of ownership

2.13 Each Club shall publish its legal name, form (e.g. unincorporated association, company limited by shares or guarantee etc) and any identifier (e.g. company number). In addition for those Clubs that are owned, then the Club shall also publish the identities of the ultimate owner (i.e. the name of an individual) of each Significant Interest in the Club. Such information shall as a minimum be published on the Club’s official website on a page accessible directly from the home page of that official club website and/or within the Club’s official matchday programme.

2.14 In the event that an Insolvency Event occurs in relation to any Club, that Club must inform and keep informed the League Secretary and The FA immediately.

The Board shall have the power to suspend a Club on notification of it having entered an Insolvency Event.

At the discretion of the Board, a suspension may take effect from the giving of the notice or it may be postponed subject to any conditions as the Board may think fit to impose.

In the event that a Club is suspended or its suspension is postponed, the Board shall have power to make such payments as it may think fit to the Club’s Football Creditors out of any monies due to that club from the Company.

2.15 An Officer must submit an Owners’ and Directors’ Declaration to The FA in accordance with the Reporting Requirements set out in the FA’s Owners’ and Directors’ Regulations that apply from time to time. The Club must provide a copy of any such Owners’ and Directors’ Declaration to the Competition at the time it is submitted to the FA.

No individual will be permitted to act as an Officer if they fail to meet any of the requirements of the Owners’ and Directors’ Declaration, as set out in the Rules of The FA.

In the event that an individual/entity is found to have either:

• Completed false or misleading statements on their Owners’ and Directors’ Declaration;

• acted as an Officer when in breach of the requirements of the Owners’ and Directors’ Declaration;

• Acted as an Officer without the FA having given written confirmation to the Club in accordance with the FA’s Owners’ and Directors’ Regulations that the individual may so act; then the individual/entity or Club shall be subject to such fine or other sanction as may be determined by The FA.

In the event that the Competition receive a Notice from the FA issued in accordance with the FA's Owners' and Directors' Test Regulations for the suspension of that Club's Competition membership, then that Club shall be suspended from the Competition with effect from 14 days from the date of the Notice. An appeal of the effect of the Notice is to the FA and can only be made by the affected Club and in accordance with the appeal procedures set out in the FA Owners' and Directors' Test Regulations. The effect of the Notice shall be suspended pending the outcome of an appeal.

The FA shall advise the Competition and the Club in writing where it becomes satisfied that a Disqualifying Condition as defined in the FA Owners' and Directors' Test no longer applies. Upon receipt of this written notification from the FA, the Competition may remove the suspension of the Club's Competition membership.

Where a Club is suspended and that causes a match in the Competition not to be played, the Board shall determine how the outcome of the match shall be treated.

2.16 Within fourteen days of a change in a Significant Interest at a Club or the appointment or removal of any director of a Club, written notice thereof, together with such details as are required to be filed with the Registrar of Companies, shall be deposited at the Competition Office.

2.17 If during the course of a season the Board decide that the organisation and management or finances of a particular Club fall below the standards appropriate to membership of the Competition, the Competition Secretary shall be instructed to warn the Club at once that it may be excluded from membership of the Competition at the end of that playing season. Such a Club shall have the right to appeal to The FA within 14 days of the date of notification of the Board’s decision.

2.18 The Competition, through the Board shall be empowered from time to time by subscription, levy or otherwise to require Clubs to contribute such sum or sums of money to the funds of the League as may be necessary for the proper conduct of the business of the League. Such contributions by Clubs may be collected by deduction from sums due to Clubs under any promotion agreement, commercial contract or from sponsorship money due or by whatever means the Board shall think fit. There shall be added to any sums to be contributed from Clubs, if applicable, Value Added Tax at the then prevailing rate.

2.19 Any Club failing to be represented at an Annual General Meeting or any other General Meeting called in accordance with the Rules without satisfactory reason being given shall be fined in accordance with the Fines Tariff.

2.20 The Competition and each Club must be committed to promoting inclusivity and to eliminating all forms of discrimination.

2.21 The Competition and each Club does not and must not in any manner whatsoever unlawfully discriminate against any person within the meaning and scope of the Equality Act 2010 or any law, enactment, order or regulation relating to discrimination.

2.22 The Competition and each Club shall make every effort to promote equality by treating people fairly and with respect, by recognising that inequalities may exist, by taking steps to address them and by providing access and opportunities for all members of the community irrespective of age, gender, gender reassignment, sexual orientation, marital status, race, nationality, ethnic origin, colour, religion or belief, ability or disability, or otherwise.

2.23 Any alleged breach of the Equality Act 2010 legislation must be referred to the appropriate sanctioning Association for investigation.

3. MEMBERSHIP – ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTION

3.1 Any Club applying for membership of the Company shall submit to the Company a fully completed Membership application form and the application fee and non-refundable ground inspection fee.

3.2 Clubs which have qualified for membership of the Company must confirm their acceptance of membership on the appropriate Competition form to be received by the Company at least 14 days prior to the next Annual General Meeting of the Company accompanied where appropriate by the membership fee.

The annual subscription shall be paid by each Club to the Company no later than 28 days after receiving an invoice from the League Treasurer.

4. POWER OF THE BOARD

4.1 The Board shall have power to deal with all matters of management of the Competition covered by the Rules. The Board shall conduct the business of the Competition and shall meet as often as is necessary for this purpose.

The Board may appoint such committees as it deems appropriate which shall be fully empowered to act on the Board’s behalf subject to ratification by the Board. The Board shall have power to deal only with matters within the Competition and not for any matters of misconduct that are under the jurisdiction of the Football Association or affiliated Association.

4.2 Save where specifically provided otherwise in these Rules, the Board shall have power to apply, act upon and enforce these Rules and shall have jurisdiction over all matters affecting the Company or the Competition including any not provided for in these Rules.

4.3 All decisions of the Board shall be binding, subject to a right of appeal to The FA pursuant to Rule 17. Decisions of the Board must be notified, in writing, to all concerned within fourteen days of the making of such decision.

Upon becoming aware of any breaches of these Rules the Board shall write to the entity suspected of a breach formally charging the party giving at least 7 days’ notice of the time, date and venue of the meeting at which the charge shall be considered.

The party charged will respond in writing to the Board within 7 days stating whether or not the charge is admitted and in default the Competition will deal with the case on the evidence it has at the time. If the charge is disputed or if the party admitting the charge wishes to present a plea in mitigation, it shall have the right to a personal hearing. The party charged also has the right to waive the 7 day requirement and allow the charge to be considered in less than 7 days after the party has been charged.

If the party charged disputes the charge or wishes to have a personal hearing to present a plea in mitigation then it shall submit its case in writing to be received by the League Secretary at least 7 days prior to the date of the meeting set to consider the charge and in default the Board will be at liberty to proceed to hear the charge without the benefit of written submissions from the party charged.

4.4 Where the Rules provide for the imposition of a financial penalty under the Fines Tariff then the Notice of Charge given by the Board under Rule 4.3 above shall refer to the penalty provided for in the Fines Tariff.

If the Rule provides that the penalty for such a breach is in the discretion of the Board then the notice shall also state as such. If the penalty set by Rules is not a financial penalty then such penalty must still be referred to in the Notice of Charge.

All breaches of the Laws of the Game Rules and Regulations of the Football Association shall be dealt with in accordance with FA Rules by the appropriate Association prior to any action by the Competition in accordance with FA Regulations.

4.5 All fines and charges imposed by the Board shall be received by the Company within twenty-eight days of the date of notification of imposition (unless otherwise ordered). Any Club or person breaking this Rule shall be liable to such penalties as the Board may impose.

4.6 If a Club fails to comply with an order or instruction of the Board within fourteen days of notification of such order or instruction, or within fourteen days of an operative date specified in that order or instruction, it shall not be allowed to play or take part in the business of the Company until the expiry of 7 days from the day the order or instruction is complied with.

4.7 Except where otherwise mentioned, all communications shall be addressed to the Competition Secretary, who shall conduct the correspondence of the Competition and keep a record of its proceedings.

4.8 A Club must at all times attend satisfactorily to the business of the Competition and/or the correspondence of the Competition or Company.

4.9 If a Club is asked to submit a report in relation to any alleged violation of these Rules it may have a personal hearing, providing it notifies its intention of such within fourteen days of the date of notification from the Company, or the case will be dealt with in its absence.

4.10 The Board shall have the power to arrange representative matches at their discretion.

4.11 A match may be played each season between two clubs nominated by the Board. All matters concerning the match will be decided by the Board.

5. INTERESTS IN MORE THAN ONE CLUB

Except with the prior written consent of the Board no person, company or business institution (including insolvency practitioners) may at any time be interested in more than one Club or in a Club and any other club playing in a Competition sanctioned by The FA. The definition of “interested” shall be the same as provided for by the Rules of the FA Challenge Cup Competition in force from time to time.

6. REGISTRATION OF PLAYERS

6.1 A Qualifying Player Registration

The Football Association’s rules will apply in respect of all matters concerning players.

6.1.1 A Player is one who has signed a Registration Form supplied by the Competition (such signature to be witnessed by a second person) and where:-

• the form has been completed and signed by an Officer of the Club and

• has been approved and registered by the Competition and

• a registration number has been allotted.

A Player will only be eligible to play in a match organised by the Competition if his registration form, transfer form or loan transfer form has been received by the Company not less than four hours before the scheduled kick off of the match in which the Player is required to play and found to be in order and so registered. It is the responsibility of all Clubs to ensure any player signing a registration form has, where necessary, the required International Clearance Certificate.

Clubs are also responsible for all Players being correctly registered before fielding any Player. Failure to do so constitutes misconduct and the Club will be charged with fielding an ineligible Player.

Registration Forms will be made available to Clubs by the Competition and charged in accordance with the fees tariff. The status of a Player must be clearly stated on the Registration Form. The Registration Form must be received at the Competition Office within five days of having been signed by the Player.

The registration of a Player will be valid from the date of registration to the end of that Playing Season only or, if in the case of a Contract or Loan Player whose contract or loan expires before the end of the Playing Season, for the term of the said contract or loan.

6.1.2 A Player may only play under his correct status. Any change of a Player’s status during the currency of a registration must be notified to the Competition within five (5) days of the change of registration being affected.

In the event of a Player changing his status with the same Club either from Contract to Non-Contract or from Non-Contract to Contract then that Player must sign a new registration form and be re-registered. In default the Player re-registering will be ineligible to play in a match under the jurisdiction of the Competition and Rule 6.9 will be applied in such circumstances where a Club is found guilty of playing a Player who has changed status without re-registering.

A Player whose registration under Contract is cancelled by mutual consent and immediately re-registered by the same Club or a different Club on a non-contract basis shall not subsequently be registered as a Contract Player with the Club for which his Contract was cancelled, within three months of the date of the cancellation except with the consent of the Board.

6.1.3 The Board shall have the power to make application to refuse or cancel the registration of any Player charged and found guilty of undesirable conduct subject to the right of Appeal to the FA or the relevant County Football Association. Undesirable conduct shall mean an incident of repeated conduct, which may deter a participant from being involved in this Competition. Application should be made to the parent County of the Club the Player is registered with.

(Note:- Action under this clause shall not be taken against a Player for misconduct until the matter has been dealt with by an appropriate Association and then only in cases of the Player bringing the Competition into disrepute and will, in any case, be subject to an Appeal to the Football Association. For the purposes of this Rule, bringing the Competition into disrepute can only be considered where the Player has received in excess of 112 days suspension, or 10 matches in match based discipline, in a period of two years or less from the date of the first offence.)

The Board shall also have the power to place an embargo on the registration, transfer or loan transfer of Players by any Club deemed to be in breach of these Rules.

6.2 Registration Period

6.2.1 After 5.00 p.m. on the fourth Thursday in March each season new registrations, new loans and transfer of registrations will be declined or will be approved subject to such limitations and restrictions as the Board may determine and if so determined, the Player shall only be eligible to play in the matches for which permission is granted by the Board.

6.3 Player Status

6.3.1 The status of a Player may be:-

• Contract Player

• Non-Contract

• Work Experience

• Scholar

• Short Term Loan

• Long Term Loan

6.4 Registrations and Registration Procedures

6.4.1 A Player will only be eligible to play in a match organised by the Company under these Rules if the appropriate form(s) is (are) received by the Company (including electronically) at least four (4) hours before the scheduled kick-off time of such match. No Player whose registration, including Loan registrations, is received less than four (4) hours before the match organised by the Company in which he is required to play will be eligible. Any Loan registration must also be approved by the Football Association before that Player can be considered eligible to play.

Where a Registration Form is sent to the Company electronically, e.g. email, the originating form must be subsequently received by the Company within five (5) days of the sending of the electronic transmission. In default of this Rule the Player shall not be eligible to play in the Competition unless and until a valid Registration Form is received. The Form when received must contain the same information as that received by email. Any Club deemed to have falsified any Form will be deemed to have played an ineligible Player and will be dealt with in accordance with Rule 6.9.

The Registration of a Player by electronic transmission is not automatically valid and it is the responsibility of the Club to ensure the Player is NOT registered with any other Club. When the Player involved was previously registered with another Club it is necessary for that Club to complete the standard Competition Transfer Form.

6.4.2 Each Club must have at least eleven (11) Players registered fourteen (14) days before the start of each Playing Season.

6.4.3 Not Applicable

6.4.4 In the event of a Player signing Registration Forms for more than one Club, priority of Registration shall decide for which Club he is entitled to play. The Club submitting the latter Form shall be notified of the prior registration of the Player and the circumstances under which the Registration Forms were signed shall be investigated by the Board. Any Player found to have signed Registration Forms for more than one Club, or any Club found to have knowingly induced a Registered Player of another Club to sign a Registration Form, shall be dealt with by the Board in such a manner as it shall think fit.

6.4.5 Except when specific approval has been given by the Board a Club cannot sign or transfer more than one Player, contract or non-contract, from another Club at any one time unless a period of 14 days has elapsed between each signing.

6.4.6 If a non-contract Player also registers for a Club not in membership of the Competition, his registration for the Competition may be retained by the Club.

6.4.7 A Club may register any number of Work Experience Players but only two (2) may play in any one match, in accordance with F.A. Rules.

6.4.8 A Club may name up to a maximum of five (5) Players on a Team Sheet who are either Short Term Loan, Long Term Loan or Work Experience.

6.4.9 The Company may, at its discretion, refuse any further Registration of Players, i.e. place under a Registration embargo, any Club which has not completed payment of a Transfer or Loan arrangement made with another Club (or Clubs) or arranged for the payment to be adequately secured. The Club (or Clubs) which holds the Player’s Contract will continue to pay the Player in accordance with his Contract.

6.5 Transfers

6.5.1 The transfer of a registration of a Player under written Contract from one Club to another must be in writing, on the Competition transfer form, signed by the Contract Player and the two Clubs and the form must be forwarded to the Company for approval and registration. Such Contract Player does not become a bona-fide Player of the Club seeking his transfer until the form has been approved and registered by the Competition. The registration of a Contract Player whose Contract is cancelled by mutual consent shall be automatically cancelled upon receipt by the Competition of a copy of the relevant FA form.

Where a Club cancels the registration of a Player, Contract or Non-Contract, for any reason whatsoever, the Club must notify the Competition immediately, in writing. To be valid such notification must be signed by an authorised signatory of that Club.

6.5.2 The transfer of a registration of a Non-Contract Player from one Club to another must be in writing, on the Competition transfer form, signed by the Non-Contract Player and the two Clubs and the form must be forwarded to the Company for approval and registration. Such Non-Contract Player does not become a bona-fide Player of the Club seeking his transfer until the form has been approved and registered by the Competition. A Non-Contract Player whose registration for a Club is cancelled or transferred for any reason whatsoever cannot, without the consent of the Board, return to his original Club until a minimum of fourteen (14) days has elapsed from the date of the cancellation or transfer.

6.5.3 A Club cannot register the transfer of a Contract Player or Non-Contract Player unless that Player has been registered with the transferor Club for at least 14 days, unless that Player is a goalkeeper.

6.6 Temporary Transfers (Loans)

6.6.1 Short Term Loans and Long Term Loans of Contract Players shall be allowed to or from clubs in membership of:

• The FA Premier League

• The Football League

• The Football Conference

• The Isthmian Football League

• The Northern Premier League

• The Southern Football League

• Any other Leagues which have been authorised by the FA including The Midland Football Alliance.

on such terms and conditions as shall be mutually agreed by the two Clubs and the Player. For Loan transfers between Clubs in the same Competition the transfer must be completed on the National League System Temporary Transfer Form. For Loan transfers between Clubs in different Competitions the transfer must be completed on FA Form H3 together with a registration form applicable for the Competition of the transferee Club.

The Player being taken on loan, must sign a Competition contract registration form which will be valid for the full period of the loan, including any extension to the loan period. The Competition’s standard cancellation form must be used to prematurely end the temporary transfer period. The temporary registration for the borrowing Club will automatically be deemed to be cancelled upon maturity of the temporary transfer period.

Where a Short Term Loan expires and is not renewed simultaneously, any subsequent Short Term Loan of that Player to the same Club will be subject to a minimum duration of 28 days.

No more than four (4) Players, Long Term, may join one Club from another Club or Clubs in any playing season.

6.6.2 Short Term Loan Transfers – A Club can have up to a maximum of twelve (12) Short Term Loans during a Playing Season. The minimum period of a Short Term Loan transfer must be twenty eight (28) days with a maximum of ninety three (93) days in any one Playing Season.

The Competition shall not approve more than two (2) Short Term Loan transfers to or from any one Club, including Premier League and Football League Clubs, at any one time.

On completing the National League System Temporary Transfer Form or FA form H3, a Club must send the original to the FA, one copy to the Company and a third copy to the Secretary of the League with which the Player is registered.

To extend the period of any Short Term Loan transfer a further National League System Temporary Transfer Form or FA form H3 must be completed and copies sent as directed above. If the Short Term Loan transfer is extended only the Club for whom the Player was originally registered will be allowed to cancel the agreement at any time within the extension period, i.e. after 28 days. In the case of a goalkeeper Clubs may mutually agree, if they so wish, to include a recall clause in the agreement to enable the Club for who the Player was originally registered to recall the Player at any time during the loan period. Players other than goalkeepers may not be recalled within the first month, i.e. 28 days, of any loan.

Any Short Term Loan Transfer which may terminate after the last day for registrations may be extended for a further period provided the maximum period of 93 days is not exceeded.

Short Term Loan Transfers which become permanent before their expiry date shall not count against a Club’s quota of days or Players.

6.6.3 Long Term Loan Transfers – Clubs may have up to a maximum of four (4) Long Term Loan Transfers of any age during a Playing Season.

Long Term Loan Transfers shall be for a full Playing Season; or from any date prior to 31st August to any date between the 1st and 31st January; or from any date between 1st and 31st January to the end of the Playing Season.

A Player on Long Term Loan may not be recalled, except for a goalkeeper or where the Player is to be transferred permanently by the Club holding his registered Contract. A Player other than a goalkeeper so recalled cannot be permitted to play for the Club holding his registration after such recall until the end of the Playing Season. Players so recalled can only be replaced by a further Long Term Loan with permission from the Company. Long Term Loan Transfers will not count against the number of Short Term Loan Transfers.

To extend the period of any Long Term Loan Transfer a further National League System Temporary Transfer Form or FA form H3 must be completed and copies sent as directed above.

The Competition shall not approve more than two (2) Long Term Loan Transfers to or from any one Club, including Premier League and Football League Clubs, at any one time.

6.6.4 Not Applicable

6.6.5 Not Applicable

6.6.6 Not Applicable

6.7 CLUB LIST OF PLAYERS AND TRANSFER LIST

Clubs shall furnish the Competition Secretary by 1st June with the following details:

6.7.1 a list of Contract Players whose agreements do not terminate at the end of the current season;

6.7.2 a list of Contract Players in respect of whom the Club has exercised its option in accordance with Football Association Rule C1 (j) ;

6.7.3 a list of Contract Players in respect of whom the existing agreements do not include an option to renew but which the Club is desirous of offering further engagements, in accordance with Football Association Rule C1 (j);

6.7.4 a list of Contract Players in respect of whom the Club has exercised its option in accordance with Football Association Rule C1 (j) but whose registration the Club is prepared to transfer;

6.7.5 a list of Contract Players the Club has released;

6.7.6 a list of all Players whose registration the Club wishes to be cancelled;

Clubs shall also complete the standard Competition forms and return these by this date.

6.8 SUBSTITUTE PLAYERS

A Club at its discretion may use three substitute Players at any time in a match. Substitution can only be made when play is stopped for any reason and the Referee has given permission. When a Club is making a substitution it shall use a Board to show the number of the Player to be substituted and the number of the substitute Player.

A maximum of 5 SUBSTITUTES may be nominated and they must be included on the official Team Sheet handed to the Referee before the match in accordance with Rule 8.11.1. A substitute may not be used to replace a Player who has been suspended from the match by the Match Officials.

If a Player does not take part in the match for which he is a nominated substitute he shall be deemed as not having played for the Club in that match.

6.9 PLAYING AN INELIGIBLE PLAYER

Any Club found to have played an ineligible Player in a match shall have any points gained from that match deducted from its record and have levied upon it a fine. The Company may vary this decision in respect of the points gained only in circumstances where the ineligibility is due to the failure to obtain an International Transfer Certificate or where the ineligibility is related to the Player’s status only.

The Board may also order that such match be replayed on such terms as are decided by the Board which may also levy penalty points against the Club in default.

6.10 FINANCIAL ARRANGEMENTS

6.10.1 Subject to clauses 6.10.2 to 6.10.7 and to the Rules and Regulations of The FA, a Club may negotiate a financial arrangement with its Players.

6.10.2 All Players under a written contract must be registered with the Competition and The FA.

6.10.3 All payments and benefits due and/or made to the Player must be shown in the contract.

6.10.4 All payments made to Players must be made by the Club and fully recorded in the accounting records of the Club.

6.10.5 All salaried payments (whether to contract or Non-Contract Players) must be subject to PAYE and National Insurance.

6.10.6 All salary payments due on written contracts must be stated gross, before PAYE and National Insurance deductions.

6.10.7 Any Players paid expenses should be reimbursed via an expense claim form. The club should retain all expense records in a format acceptable to the HM Revenue and Customs.

7. CLUB COLOURS

7.1 On or before a date specified by the Company each year, every Club shall notify the Competition Secretary, in writing, of details of their first choice colours for outfield players and their goalkeeper (shirts, shorts and socks) and such details shall be printed in the Handbook published by the Company for the ensuing Playing Season. The colours registered by each Club shall be worn during the following season when playing at home. Shirts must be numbered 1 to 11 and substitute shirts 12 to 16 (or 17 where 13 is excluded) such that the numbers can be clearly identified by officials and spectators. Striped, hooped or otherwise patterned shirts shall have numbers affixed to contrasting patches or numbers in a contrasting colour with bold outline. No changes to the first choice colours or combination of colours shall be permitted without the consent of the Board

7.2 When the registered colours of shirts, shorts and/or socks of the outfield players and/or the goalkeeper of two competing Clubs are alike or similar the visiting Club shall change the relevant item to a colour which does not clash with the corresponding item of the home Club. Neck and cuff trim colours on shirts shall not be regarded as a basic colour for the purpose of this Rule.

Subject to the foregoing a Club may, if they wish, wear colours not registered with the Competition for away matches. It is the responsibility of the visiting Club, if they do not intend to play in their registered colours, to notify the home team and check that their colours will not clash.

7.3 The goalkeeper shall play in kit clearly distinguishable from the colours of the shirts worn by all other Players in the match and the Match Officials.

The goalkeeper may not wear a black jersey or a predominantly black jersey in the Competition fixture. The goalkeeper may wear tracksuit trousers acceptable to the Match Referee.

7.4 No Club shall be permitted to register or play in shirts the colour of which is likely to cause confusion with the outfits worn by the Match Officials (i.e. black or dark blue).

7.5 The Players’ shirts must be clearly numbered in accordance with the Team Sheet handed to the match referee before a match and there must be no change of numbers during the match except for a change of goalkeeper or if permitted by the match referee because of a blood injury.

7.6 The Captain shall wear a distinguishing armband to indicate his status.

7.7 Both sleeves of the shirts of all Players in matches played under the jurisdiction of the Company shall carry a Competition logo as supplied by the Competition on an annual basis if so decided by the Board.

Shirt advertising must comply with FA Regulations.

7.8 The colours of clothing worn by ballboys/girls must not clash with the colours of either competing Club and the Match Officials.

8. PLAYING OF MATCHES.

8.1 The Board shall fix the date on which the Playing Season shall commence.

8.2 All matches shall be played under the Rules and Regulations of The FA and in accordance with the Laws of the Game as determined by the International Football Association Board.

8.3 Clubs taking the field of play – For all matches under the jurisdiction of the Competition, Clubs shall be required to enter the field of play together, preceded by the Match Officials, not less than five (5) minutes before the advertised time of kick off.

8.3.1 All matches shall be of ninety minutes duration. The half time interval in all matches shall not exceed fifteen minutes. Any match which is not of ninety minutes duration may be ordered to stand as a completed match or replayed for the full period of ninety minutes or be awarded to the Club not at fault, as the Board may decide, on such terms as the Board shall decide.

8.3.2 In the event that a match is abandoned before half time the Club playing at home will issue a voucher to each spectator valid for free admission if the match is ordered to be replayed. In the event that the match is abandoned during or after the half time interval the Club playing at home is not obliged to issue such a voucher.

8.3.3 In the event that a match is abandoned for reasons over which neither Club has control the Club playing at home shall retain the gate receipts for such uncompleted match and the Board shall determine the terms upon which any replayed match shall be played.

8.3.4 In the event of a match being abandoned due to the conduct of one Club or its members or supporters the Board has the power to order that the match is not replayed and to award either one or three points to the Club not at fault. It cannot levy a financial penalty due to the conduct of a Club.

8.3.5 In the event of the match being abandoned due to the conduct of both Clubs or their members or supporters no financial penalty can be applied by the Board to either Club and the Board shall determine whether the original match stands as a completed match or is replayed and, if replayed, the terms upon which the match is to be replayed.

8.3.6 In the event of a match having to be postponed and one Club is found to be at fault then opponents for that match shall be compensated by the Club at fault. In the case of a visiting Club where it has undertaken all or part of its journey then travelling expenses and meal allowances may be claimed based on the total mileage involved in the whole journey. In exceptional circumstances, expenses for overnight accommodation up to a maximum of 18 persons may be claimed and if the Clubs concerned are unable to agree the compensation the Board will have absolute discretion in the matter.

8.3.7 All claims for compensation by either Club in the case of either an abandoned match or a postponed match must be received by the League Secretary within 14 days of the date of the match to which the claim relates.

8.4 In the event of the match being postponed, not completed or abandoned, the home Club must immediately telephone the Competition results service, the Competition Secretary and, in the case of a match postponement, the Appointing Authority, the visiting Club and the Match Officials. When a postponement occurs in any FA or County Cup competition, the home Club, if two Clubs are playing the tie, or the Club if the match involves a team outside of the Competition, must also follow this procedure.

8.5 Each Club must take every precaution to keep its ground in good playing condition and amenities (including floodlights) in good working order and complying with the Criteria Document throughout the Playing Season.

8.6 Where a match has been postponed for any reason, the two Clubs concerned must agree within 7 days of the postponement a new date (which shall, save in exceptional circumstances, be within 30 days of the original date) and in default the Board is empowered to order Clubs to play on a date it considers suitable.

Any Club without just cause failing to fulfil an engagement to play a Competition match on the appointed date shall for each offence be liable to expulsion from the Competition and/or such other disciplinary action the Board may determine, including the deduction of up to a maximum of three points from the offending Club’s record, any expenses incurred by their opponents, and a fine.

In the event of a Club being in breach of the previous paragraph of this Rule then the Board may award points to the Club not at fault as if the match had been played and the League table shall reflect the position as if the match had been played with the result awarded by the Board.

8.7 The postponement of matches due to ground conditions must be carried out in accordance with Rule 15.2.

8.8 All Clubs must have a facsimile machine, a mobile telephone and an email address operational at all times. These will be listed in the Competition Handbook unless a Club requests otherwise.

8.9 Each Club shall be prepared to kick-off at the scheduled time unless a satisfactory explanation is offered. Any Club commencing a Competition match with less than 11 Players may be subject to a fine. Each team participating in a match shall represent the full available strength of each competing Club.

8.10 When a Club obtains the consent of the Board to postpone a fixture because of an epidemic affecting the availability of their Players, that Club shall be liable to pay any direct expenses incurred, if any, to the opposing Club. The amount of claim will be at the discretion of the Board. Requests for the postponement of a match for any reason will not be considered more than forty-eight hours before the scheduled time of kick-off.

Medical certificates for those Players affected, signed by the Players’ own doctor, must be forwarded to the Competition Secretary within fourteen days of the postponement, along with a full list of contract and Non-Contract Players currently registered by the Club at the date of the match which was postponed, giving full reasons against each name for the Player’s unavailability.

8.11.1 Each Club must hand the Team Sheet containing name(s) of Players taking part in a match (including the name(s) and number(s) of the nominated substitute(s) to the Referee and a representative of their opponents in the presence of the Referee at least forty five minutes before the scheduled time of kick-off. The Players’ numbers (in accordance with Rule 7) and the colours of the playing strip must be clearly stated. Any Clubs in breach may be fined.

8.11.2 Any Club altering its team selection or numbering after Team Sheets have been exchanged may be fined. A Player who is named on the Team Sheet may be replaced without fine if he is injured warming up after exchange of the Team Sheet. Any subsequent changes must be notified to the referee and to a representative of the opponents before the actual kick-off.

8.12.1 The home Club shall advise the visiting Club and the Match Officials of the date and time of kick-off of each match, to be received at least five days prior to the match and the visiting Club and the Match Officials must acknowledge receipt to be received at least three days before the match.

8.12.2 Where a match is re-arranged or cancelled after the officials have been appointed, it is the duty of the home Club to notify the officials of the cancellation of their appointments immediately. Clubs in default of this Rule may be subject to any action decided by the Board.

8.13 The standard kick-off times shall be as follows:

Saturday matches – 3.00 pm

Midweek matches – 7.45 pm unless otherwise agreed by the Competition Secretary. All agreed changes to time of kick-off to be notified to the Board immediately for confirmation.

Clubs with ground sharing agreements must arrange for home matches to be played on Friday, Saturday or Sunday. If a clash of fixtures occurs with the sharing Club and for any reason a match is unable to be played on a Saturday, the match must be played on the day before i.e. on Friday, or the day after i.e. on Sunday. If Clubs are unable to agree on the date then it will be played on the Sunday unless the Board decides otherwise. The decision of the Board will be final and binding.

Official bank holidays and Sundays – 3.00 pm unless agreed otherwise by the two Clubs and the Board; application shall be made to the Competition Secretary by both Clubs at least 21 days before the relevant date.

To re-schedule a midweek fixture for an evening other than a Club’s usual midweek night will require written agreement of both Clubs and the Competition Secretary.

The Competition Secretary reserves the right to amend scheduled fixtures and kick-off times to meet television requirements as necessary. Notification will be provided by the Competition Secretary in writing to both Clubs for fixtures so rescheduled.

8.14 All matches shall be played on the home and away principle and the Board shall determine how the fixtures shall be arranged. Such fixtures shall take precedence over all competitions in which a Club may engage, with the exception of:

• The FA Challenge Cup/Welsh Cup.

• The FA Challenge Trophy/Vase Competition.

• The Senior Cup Competition for which the Club is eligible, of the Affiliated Association to which it was first affiliated except Football Conference National Division.

Clubs playing in the FA of Wales Challenge Cup, or an Affiliated Association Cup Competition which allows the option to play the tie mid-week, must arrange the match to avoid interference with Saturday fixtures, providing the opposing club drawn at home has suitable floodlighting. This applies to ALL Clubs who play in a League competition which forms any part of the National League System of Football outside the Football League.

Scheduled Saturday fixtures must not be re-arranged without permission of the Competition Secretary. This excludes FA Cup, FA Trophy and FA Vase matches. Clubs may be ordered to re-arrange outstanding matches, at the discretion of the Board, and where necessary their prospective opponents instructed accordingly. Clubs with open dates on Saturdays may be instructed to play any outstanding Competition fixture on such date. A minimum of 5 days’ notice will be given in respect of any such re-arrangement.

8.15 A Club may not enter its first team in any outside competition, other than those listed in Rule 8.14, without the prior permission of the Board. The Competition Secretary must be informed of all fixtures, postponements and results of all matches played in any other competition.

8.16 The Board shall determine the policy of the Competition for the issuing of match day passes.

8.17 The Board may change any Competition fixtures during the season to suit the overall interests of the Competition and shall have the power to decide whether a ground is suitable for Competition matches and to order a Club whose ground is deemed unsuitable to play its home matches at an alternative suitable ground.

8.18 4 weeks’ notice is required from Clubs wishing to re-arrange a Saturday match to Friday evening or Sunday. A request made in less than this period of time will only be considered by the Board in exceptional circumstances and granted at their sole discretion.

8.19 All Competition matches shall be arranged as soon as practicable. The copyright in all lists of arrangements of such fixtures shall be vested in the Company.

8.20 The home Club shall be responsible for notifying the Competition immediately following the conclusion of each home Competition match the result of that match together with the attendance, the times of all goals scored in the match and the scorer of each goal. In any FA or AFFILIATED ASSOCIATION Competition the home Club if two Clubs are playing the tie, or the Club if the match involves a team outside of the Competition, must also follow this procedure.

8.21 The home Club is responsible for publishing a full match programme acceptable to the Board for each of its Competition matches. A Team Sheet will not be considered sufficient to comply with this Rule.

The visiting Club must send in writing to the home Club details of the proposed team they plan to field together with their Club history and up-to-date pen pictures of their current Players registered with the Competition for the season at least seven days before the scheduled date of the match between the two Clubs.

The home Club programme must include the details sent by the visiting Club in the match day programme and a copy of each match day programme shall be sent by the home Club to the Competition Secretary within 3 days of the match with the relevant match report form unless advised of an alternative arrangement by the Competition Secretary.

Clubs will be responsible for all comments in their match day programme in respect of the Competition, the Company or other member Clubs, notwithstanding any disclaimers to the contrary. No part of a Club’s programme issued for a match in any competition shall, in the opinion of the Board, bring the Competition or the Company into disrepute.

All Clubs will be responsible for their official website or similar computer related information system, which is within the public domain. Nothing shall be included on the website which in the opinion of the Board brings the Competition or the Company into disrepute.

8.22.1 In all Competition Matches, the number of Clubs Players and officials seated on the team benches, in the designated technical area, must not exceed 11 unless the team bench facility provides more than 11 individual seats.

8.22.2 Only one person at a time has the authority to convey tactical instructions to the Players during the match from within the technical area.

8.22.3 All team officials and substitutes seated on the bench shall be listed on the official Team Sheet when it is submitted to the Match Officials. Only those persons listed on the official Team Sheet shall be permitted in the technical area.

8.22.4 The occupants of the technical area must behave in a responsible manner at all times. Misconduct by occupants of this area will be reported by the Referee to The FA, who shall have the power to impose sanctions as deemed fit.

8.22.5 With the exception of the team manager, the team coach and any substitutes who are warming up or warming down, all other personnel are to remain seated on the trainer’s bench. The team manager or team coach is allowed to move to the edge of the technical area to issue instructions to his team.

8.22.6 Not Applicable

8.23 Not Applicable

9. PLAYERS’ AGENTS

9.1 A Players’ Agent cannot have an involvement in any Club in an official capacity (as defined by the Board) nor may he hold office with the Competition.

9.2 All Clubs must comply with The FA Regulations concerning Players’ Agents.

10. FINANCIAL RECORDS

10.1 All Clubs shall keep their accounting records for recording the fact and nature of all receipts and payments so as to disclose with reasonable accuracy, at any time, the financial position including the assets and liabilities of the Club.

10.2 The home Club shall retain all gate receipts. Where a match is declared all ticket the Away (visiting) Club shall be entitled to 10% of the total number of tickets available or a minimum of 600, whichever is the greater, subject to any stipulation by the relevant safety authority affecting these figures.

Clubs must ensure that all gate receipts are fully and properly recorded and accounted for in the accounting records of the club.

Clubs should have a system in operation for home games that enables them to accurately report on the following;

• A record of all tickets sold in advance

• A reconciliation of cash received by category of entrant through each turnstile

• The number of entrants through each turnstile

• A schedule of the numbers admitted to parts of the stadium that do not pass through a turnstile

• A list of complimentary tickets authorised

This documentation should be reconciled to the overall takings and declared attendance for each home game.

10.3 For Competition league matches only, the travelling expenses of match officials shall be pooled, each Club rendering on the match report details of all payments made. The Company shall, at the conclusion of the season, divide the total cost of officials in each division by the total number of Clubs in that division and where the total payment made by the Club is less than the equal share of the pool, the Club shall pay the difference within 14 days of the date of posting of the written notification to the Club. Where the sum paid by the Club is more than the equal share of the pool, the Club will be reimbursed from the pool of monies received from all the other Clubs.

10.4 In the event of a transfer of a Player where a consideration is agreed, the consideration can only be paid between the two clubs (the transferor and transferee clubs).

The full name of each contracting club should be stated in the transfer agreement. The full consideration involved must be recorded in the accounting records of both clubs.

10.5 Any Club temporarily transferring a Player’s registration to another club should invoice the receiving club in accordance with the terms of the loan agreement. The Player concerned should remain on the payroll of the Club holding his permanent registration for the period of the loan.

10.6 All loans extended to a Club must be documented in full in the accounting records of the Club.

Documentation supporting each loan must be retained and should include the following information:

• The value of the loan

• The length of the loan

• The interest rate charged, and whether this is fixed or variable

• Repayment terms

• The full names of the individual or corporate body extending the loan

• The terms in the event of a default on the loan

The document should be signed by two directors, Officers or Executive Committee Members who are independent of the party extending the loan.

10.7 Within nine months of its accounting reference date, each Club shall submit to the Company a copy of its full financial statements as presented to its members/shareholders with confirmation that the accounts have been approved at a duly convened general meeting.

11. FOOTBALL CREDITORS

Where a Club defaults in making any payments to any Football Creditor, the Club shall be subject to such penalty as the Board may decide.

12. RESULT/REPORT FORMS

Each Club shall submit the fully completed copy of the appropriate match result forms by first class post (in an envelope showing a postmark within 3 days of the match), to the Appointing Authority and the Competition. When a Club considers that the Referee has discharged his duties incompetently and awards a mark of 60 or less, a detailed report must be sent to the Appointing Authority within three days of the match by first class post. Clubs in default of any provision of the Rule will be subject to a fine for each offence.

13. CHAMPION, RELEGATION

13.1 Three points will be awarded for a win at home or away and one point for a drawn match at home or away.

13.2 At the end of the Playing Season of each competition a table will be compiled showing the playing record of each Club in each division of the Competition. The playing record of each Club must include any points deduction made by the Competition or by the FA and in any situation where points per game are calculated the calculation will be made after taking into account the deduction of any such points.

The position of each Club in the table so compiled shall be determined in order with the Club being awarded the highest number of points being first and the Club being awarded the second highest number of points being placed second and so on. In the event of two or more clubs being awarded the same number of points the highest placed Club shall be decided as follows:

13.2.1 Goal difference – The goals scored against by each Club shall be deducted from the goals scored by that Club and the largest positive and smallest negative difference shall be placed the highest.

13.2.2 In the event of the goal difference being equal the highest placed Club shall be the Club which has scored the most goals;

13.2.3 In the event that two or more Clubs have the same goal difference and have scored the same number of goals then the highest placed Club shall be the Club which has won the most matches.

13.2.4 In the event of the two Clubs still being equal the Club which has the better playing record against the other Club in their head to head Competition matches during the Season will be the highest placed Club.

13.2.5 If the records of two or more Clubs are still equal and it is necessary for any reason to determine the position of each then the Clubs concerned shall play off a deciding match or matches on a neutral ground or grounds with the net gate money after deducting the usual matches expenses being divided equally between the two competing Clubs.

13.3 Promotion, relegation and lateral movement of Clubs shall be in accordance with the principles established by the Leagues Committee of The FA.

13.4 Rule not applicable.

13.5 If no Clubs are eligible or wish promotion, the number of Clubs to be relegated will be reduced.

13.6 In the event of a Club, not being placed in a relegation position at the end of the season, wishing to resign from the Competition at the end of the season, or having been removed from membership under the Articles the number of Clubs to be relegated shall be reduced accordingly.

13.7 In the event of a Club opting to be relegated or being removed from membership under the Articles such Club or Clubs will replace the Club or Clubs otherwise due for relegation in accordance with Regulation 5.4 in the Regulations for the Establishment and Operation of the National League System.

13.8 If any Club ceases to operate between the annual general meeting of the Company and the commencement of the following Playing Season, no adjustments to the number of Clubs participating in the Competition will be made. The remaining Clubs will participate in the Competition for that season.

13.9 A Club which for any reason ceases to operate at any time during the Playing Season may have its playing record expunged, and any monies due to them from the Company shall be forfeited. From the date of the withdrawal no further payment shall become due to them. From the date of the withdrawal, that Club shall cease to be a member of the Company.

14. INSOLVENCY PROVISIONS

14.A. SPORTING SANCTIONS

14 A.1 If an Insolvency Event shall occur in relation to any Club that Club shall be deducted 10 (ten) points. The deduction shall be made forthwith on the happening of the first Insolvency Event.

14 A.2 Where a Club takes or suffers an Insolvency Event:-

14 A.2.1 during the Playing Season but prior to 5.00 p.m. on the fourth Thursday in March, the points deduction shall apply immediately;

14 A.2.2 during the Playing Season but after 5.00 p.m. on the fourth Thursday in March then Rule 14.3 shall apply; and

14 A.2.3 outside the Normal Playing Season, the points deduction shall apply in respect of the following Season such that the Club starts that Season on minus 10 points (including a Club or Clubs Relegated from the Midland Football Alliance League, where such Club shall be subject to Rule 14 of the Midland Football Alliance League Rules) or where it has been necessary under the National League System Regulations for a Club or Clubs to be moved from one league to another and such Club would have been subjected to Rule 14.

14 A.3 Where the circumstances set out in Rule 14.2.2 apply and at the end of that Playing Season, having regard to the number of Competition points awarded (ignoring any potential deduction):-

a) the Club would be relegated in accordance with The Midland Football Alliance League Rules, the points deduction will apply in the next following Season; or

b) the Club would not be relegated as aforesaid, the points deduction will apply in that Playing Season and Midland Football Alliance League Rules will then apply (if appropriate) following the imposition of the points deduction.

14 A.4 For the purposes of this Rule 14

a) where any Insolvency Event is taken or suffered other than on a Business Day (as defined by the Insolvency Rules 1986 as amended from time to time) then for the purposes of determining the timing of any points deduction only the action taken or suffered will be deemed to have been taken or suffered on the immediately preceding Business Day; and

b) if a Company Voluntary Arrangement is approved, then approval of that Company Voluntary Arrangement shall be deemed to have been given at the date of the first meeting of creditors called to consider that Company Voluntary Arrangement, and not the date of any adjourned meeting of the creditors or the meeting of shareholders.

14 A.5 For the avoidance of doubt, where a Club is subject to more than one Insolvency Event (for example Administration followed by a Company Voluntary Arrangement), the Club shall only be deducted one set of 10 points, such deduction to apply with effect from the first Insolvency Event.

14 A.6 The Competition shall serve the Club with written notice of the points deduction (the ‘Notice’).

14 A.7 A Club may appeal against such a points deduction. Any such appeal will be conducted in accordance with the Regulations for Football Association Appeals, save that the following paragraphs of those Regulations will not apply - 1.2, 1.4, 1.5, 3.3 and 3.5. In place of those Regulations, the following Rules 14.A.8 to 14.A.12 will apply.

14 A.8 The Notice of Appeal shall be lodged with the FA within 7 days of the date of the Notice.

14 A.9 A Club may appeal against an automatic deduction of points solely on the ground that the insolvency proceedings arose solely as a result of a Force Majeure event (the ‘Appeal’). For the purposes of this Rule 14, a ‘Force Majeure’ event shall be an event that, having regard to all of the circumstances, is reasonably considered to have been unforeseeable and unavoidable.

14 A.10 The Appeal Board shall have the power to:-

14 A.10.1 Confirm the deduction of ten points; or

14 A.10.2 Set aside the deduction of ten points and substitute a deduction of such lower number of points as it shall deem appropriate; or

14 A.10.3 Order that there shall be no sanction at all.

14 A.11 The decision of the Appeal Board shall be final and binding. Any costs incurred by any party in appeal proceedings brought before the Appeal Board shall be met by the Club in any event and shall be considered as a sum due to the Company.

14 A.12 Any sanctions imposed pursuant to these provisions shall not be taken into account in respect of any other sanctions, penalties or fines that may be imposed by the Competition in respect of any breaches of its Rules, Regulations or Articles of Association by the Club.

14.B. GENERAL INSOLVENCY

14 B.1 In the event of a Club entering an Insolvency Event between the end of the AGM and start of the AGM immediately following thereafter (‘the next AGM’) then it shall automatically be relegated by one Step at the next AGM, unless one of the following requirements has been met, namely

(i) Prior to the next AGM it has Paid in Full all its creditors (including but not limited to Football Creditors); or

(ii) Prior to the next AGM it has Paid in Full its Football Creditors and entered a CVA to have Paid in Full its other creditors over an agreed period not extending more than three years following the date of the approval of the CVA.

This sanction shall apply in addition to any Club being relegated pursuant to its playing record in the same period namely that in the event of the Club having already been relegated by one Step it shall be relegated two Steps.

This provision is subject to Rule 2.9.1 in respect of Clubs which have transferred their membership pursuant to an Insolvency Event and in that case where there is any conflict between any provision of Clause 14 and 2.9.1 then this Clause 14 shall prevail.

14 B.2 A Club shall not be eligible for promotion or to compete in the Play Offs at the end of a Playing Season if at 5pm on the date on which the last scheduled League fixture is due to be played that Club:

(i) has entered an Insolvency Event between the date of the AGM and 5pm on the date on which the last scheduled League fixture is played and has not Paid in Full all its creditors to which the Insolvency Event applies (including but not limited to Football Creditors) or Paid in Full all its Football Creditors and entered a CVA to have Paid in Full all other creditors over an agreed period not extending more than three years following the date of approval of the CVA: or

(ii) has not complied with the terms of a CVA by which it is bound or is to seek to extend the period of the CVA.

14 B.3 The sanctions contained herein shall be in addition to and not in substitution for any other sanctions contained within the Rules and, in particular, the sanctions set out in rule 14.A. For the avoidance of doubt, where a Club is subject to more than one connected Insolvency Event, for example Administration followed by a Company Voluntary Arrangement, any sanction applied to it in accordance with Rule 14.B.1 shall be applied in one Playing Season only except as provided for in Rule 14.B.1

Compliance With/Extension of CVA’s

14 B.4 Any Club must inform the Competition in writing and provide supporting evidence within seven (7) days of the Club:

(i) making a payment under the terms of a CVA and provide evidence of that payment;

(ii) becoming aware of any failure to comply with the terms of any CVA entered into by it including the failure to make a payment by the due date or

(iii) making an application to extend or vary the terms of the CVA entered into by it and provide a copy of the application.

In the event of any Club

-failing to comply with the terms of any CVA entered into by it (whether securing Payment in Full of all of its creditors or not) including the failure to make a payment by the due date; and/or

-making a successful application to vary the terms of the CVA or to extend the period of any CVA for a period extending more than three years following the date of the approval of the CVA; and/or

-failing to inform the Competition of (i), (ii) or (iii) of the above events in writing within seven (7) days as required under this Rule 14 B.4

then the Board shall have the power to impose such sanction as it deems appropriate, including, but without limitation, the expulsion of that Club, the relegation of that Club, the deduction of points and the embargo of player registrations.

14.B.5 Where a Club has transferred its membership under Rule 2.9.2 the provisions of Rule 14B in relation to a CVA shall be applied to the former entity that was subject to the Insolvency Event and/or the new entity.

15. MATCH OFFICIALS

15.1 Match Officials for all Competition matches shall be appointed by the Appointing Authority.

15.2 No Club shall postpone a Competition match on account of the apparent state of the ground. In the event that such circumstances prevail, Clubs should comply with procedures provided for in the document published by The FA “Recommended procedure for the guidance of Clubs and Referees in determining the suitability of grounds in adverse weather conditions”. Should the ground be declared unfit it is the responsibility of the home Club to immediately advise the Competition, the Appointing Authority, the visiting Club and the Match Officials.

15.3 In the event of any of the Match Officials appointed for a match not being in attendance at the match or becoming unable to complete the match it shall be completed under the control of the remaining Match Officials unless the competing Clubs are able to agree upon a substitute who is acceptable to the Match Referee; should the appointed Match Referee fail to appear then the senior Assistant Referee must take charge. Any substitute agreed for a match shall be considered a Match Official for the purposes of that match.

In the event that a Club causes a match to be abandoned in relation to the operation of this Rule then that Club shall be charged with failing to fulfil a fixture (Rule 8.6 refers).

15.4 Match Officials should be present at the appointment at least 60 minutes prior to the scheduled time of kick-off. The appointed Referee may be required to visit the ground earlier if requested to do so by the home Club.

15.5 In cases where it is found necessary to stop play owing to the weather or other cause, the Referee must wait a reasonable length of time before deciding on abandonment.

15.6 Referees must report on the relevant form all cases where teams commence a match late or without eleven Players on the field of play. Referees must also report their own or any assistant referees’ late arrival in any matches, and notify those concerned at the time of their intention. Assistant referees must also send an explanation of their late arrival to the Appointing Authority in writing by first class post within 3 days of the match.

15.7 The home Club will be responsible for paying the Match Officials the fees and match expenses set by the Appointing Authority on the day of the match in their dressing room, within a reasonable time after the conclusion of the match (including matches abandoned for any reason). In the case of a postponed match, whether or not gate money is taken, any Match Official who has travelled to the match will be entitled to claim travelling expenses and half their match fee from the home Club. Where provided by the home Club, each Match Official must complete and submit a claim form for expenses. Referee’s fee will be £32-00 and the Assistant Referee’s fee will be £26-00. Travelling Expenses for Match Officials will be at the rate of 30p per mile single travel to a maximum of £25-00, 35p per mile double travel to a maximum of £35-00 and 45p per mile treble travel to a maximum of £60-00. Total travelling expenses for a match not to exceed £60-00.

15.8 The home Club shall be responsible for providing Assistant Referees with distinctive flags of a suitable size in an acceptable condition.

15.9 Three match balls proposed to be used in the match and, if applicable, supplied by the Company under a ball sponsorship agreement must be submitted to and approved by the Referee before the commencement of the match in his/her dressing room.

It is the responsibility of the Club playing at home in each match played under the jurisdiction of the Competition to provide match balls in accordance with any match ball agreement signed by the Company.

15.10 The visiting Club will be responsible for providing their own practice balls unless balls are provided by the Competition under a ball sponsorship agreement.

15.11 Referees must report all breaches of Rule to the Competition Secretary in writing within three days of the match on the appropriate form by first class post.

16. WITHDRAWAL OF CLUBS

A Club must notify the Company not later than 31st March each year of its intention to withdraw from the Competition at the end of that Playing Season. Failure to do so will make a Club liable to a fine.

This Rule shall not operate so as to preclude promotion, relegation or lateral movement of any Club to another competition in accordance with Rule 13.

17. PROTESTS, APPEALS

17.1 All protests, claims or complaints relating to these Rules and appeals arising from a Player’s contract shall be heard and determined by the Board, or a sub-committee duly appointed by the Board. The Clubs or Players protesting, appealing, claiming or complaining must send two copies of such protest, appeal, claim or complaint and deposit a fee which shall be forfeited in the event of the protest, appeal, claim or complaint not being upheld, and the party not succeeding may, in addition, be ordered to pay the costs at the direction of the Board.

17.2 All such protests claims complaints and appeals must be received in writing by the Competition Secretary within fourteen days of the event or decision causing any of these to be submitted.

17.3 The Board shall also have power to compel any party to the protest to pay such expenses as the Board shall direct.

17.4 Any appeal against a decision of the Board must be lodged with The FA within fourteen days of the posting of the written notification of the decision causing the appeal, accompanied by a fee which may be forfeited in the event of the appeal not being upheld. A copy of the appeal must also be sent to the Competition Secretary.

All appeals to The FA must be lodged in accordance with the appeals procedure detailed in the Appendix to these Rules or that in force at any one time.

17.5 A Club, on giving fourteen days’ notice to a Player to terminate his Player’s contract, must state in the notice his right of appeal to the Board and also the address of the Competition Secretary to whom he must appeal. The notice must advise the Player of the necessity of forwarding two copies of his appeal with the deposit fee specified in the Fees Tariff, to the Competition Secretary within seven days of the receipt of the notice from the Club. A copy of such notice must be received by the Competition Secretary within seven days of the sending of the notice in order to be valid.

17.6 A Player on giving fourteen days’ notice to his Club to terminate his Player’s contract must also notify the Company and The FA of the reasons for the termination of the agreement. . A copy of such notice must be received by the Competition Secretary within seven days of the sending of the notice in order to be valid.

17.7 If the recipient of a notice referred to in Rules 17.5 and 17.6 above wishes to do so, he may appeal against the relevant notice within seven days of the date of sending of the notice in writing in duplicate to the Competition Secretary with an appeal fee.

17.8 The Club or the Player as the case may be shall have further right of appeal as set out in Rule 17.4 above.

17.9. An appeal by a contract Player against a fine or suspension imposed by his Club under Football Association Rule C1m must be made within seven days to the Competition Secretary.

17.10 If so requested the Board may arbitrate on any disputes, protests, appeals, claims or complaints between two member Clubs in which event both Clubs shall send a non-returnable fee. Such arbitration shall be final and binding upon the parties to the arbitration.

18. MISCONDUCT OF CLUBS, OFFICERS, PLAYERS

a. Undertakings to be given by Club Employees

All Clubs must incorporate in any contracts of employment with their employees, including Players, an undertaking on the part of the employee not to bring The Competition or any Club into disrepute and an undertaking on the part of the employee not knowingly to do anything or omit to do anything which will cause the Club to be in breach of the Laws of the Game or the Rules of the Football Association or the Rules of the Football Conference.

Without prejudice to the generality of this rule, all Clubs must ensure they and where appropriate, any Officers of the Club, comply with the obligations of the Football Association’s Owners’ and Directors’ Test.

b. Misconduct in pre-arranging the result of matches

Any Club, Official or Player offering or receiving a payment or any form of inducement to or from any Club or the Official or Player of any Club; or any Club, Official or Player receiving or seeking to receive any payment or other form of inducement from any other person or organisation to win, lose or draw a Match under the jurisdiction of the Midland Football Alliance shall be deemed guilty of misconduct.

Any person charged and found guilty of bringing the Competition into disrepute and any Club, Officer or Member charged and found guilty of misconduct as defined by the Board or of inducing or attempting to induce a Player of another Club to join his own Club shall be liable to such penalty as the Board shall deem appropriate.

19. TROPHY

The Company shall present to the Winners and Runners Up of all divisions in the Competition 20 souvenirs. Additional souvenirs cannot be presented except by consent of the Board, and then at the expense of the requesting Club.

In addition, a Competition championship trophy and runners-up trophy will be presented as and when the Board determine.

The Clubs concerned will also receive a permanent souvenir.

The trophies are the property of the Company and may never be won outright.

The following agreement shall be signed on behalf of the winners of the trophies:

“We, A.B. the .……… of …………………………………Football Club, C.D. and E.F members of and representing the said Club, having been declared winners of the ………Trophy and the same having been delivered to us by the said Competition, do hereby on behalf of the said Club, jointly and severally agree to return the same to the Competition Secretary, on or before 1st March next in good order and condition, suitably inscribed, in accordance with the Rules of the Competition and if the said Trophy is lost or damaged whilst under our care, we agree to refund to the Competition the amount of its current value or the cost of its thorough repair.”

Any Club not returning the Competition trophy by the due date or returning them in poor condition will be fined .

20. ALTERATIONS TO RULES

No alteration to the Rules shall be made until they have been approved by The FA. Alterations to Rules shall only be made by special resolution passed at a general meeting of the Company.

Proposals for alterations to Rules, together with the name of their proposers and seconders, shall be received by the League Secretary not later than 31st March prior to the date fixed for the annual general meeting of the Company in each year or not later than eight weeks before the holding of an extraordinary general meeting called for the purpose of amending the Rules.

21. ADMISSION CHARGES

The minimum charge for admission to all matches shall be determined from time to time by the Board.

Admission charges, excluding home Club concessions as appropriate, must be the same for home and visiting supporters at Competition matches.

Clubs may, with the written permission of the Board, have a maximum of three promotional days each Playing Season during which they can vary admission charges for adults including allowing free admission.

22. LONG SERVICE

22.1 The Board shall be empowered to grant a long service award for 21 years’ service with a member Club, providing such an award has not already been made by any other competition.

22.2 Clubs may enter into agreement with Players after five years continuous service providing for a testimonial. Players shall be qualified for a second testimonial after a further five years continuous service. If a Player is eligible for and entitled to a testimonial, his Club may grant him a monetary consideration, sanctioned by the Club Board of Directors, in lieu of such testimonial.

23. CENTENARY AWARDS

A Club celebrating its centenary whilst in membership of the Competition shall be presented with a commemorative award by the Board.

24. PLAYING SURFACES

Steps 3 to 6

Football Turf Pitches (3G) are allowed in this Competition providing they meet the FIFA 1 Star/IATS performance standards and are listed on the FA's Register of Football Turf Pitches. To meet the criteria a Football Turf Pitch must pass a test annually for FA Competitions and at Steps 3-6 as defined in the FIFA Quality Concept for Football Turf. On receipt of the pass certificate The FA will add the pitch to the Register. The home Club is also responsible for advising participants of footwear requirements when confirming match arrangements in accordance with Rule 8.12.1.

Clubs must register their pitch dimensions with the Competition prior to the start of each season. It will be misconduct on the part of a Club to alter its pitch dimensions during a season unless with prior written consent of the Board. The Board may at any time require a Club, at its own cost, to submit a report from a qualified independent source certifying the pitch dimensions.

The Board may require a Club to take such steps as the Board shall specify if they are not satisfied that an adequate standard of pitch is being maintained, including but not limited to the Board commissioning an independent report on the state of the pitch. The cost of the independent report to be borne by the Club concerned.

25. INSURANCE

25.1 PLAYERS

All Clubs shall be members of a Players personal accident insurance scheme.

Each Club shall submit to the Board a copy of the insurance policy document together with the last premium payment receipt fourteen days prior to the start of the Playing Season.

25.2 PUBLIC LIABILITY

All Clubs must have Public Liability cover of at least ten million pounds (£10,000,000)

Each Club shall submit to the Board a copy of the insurance policy document together with the last premium payment receipt fourteen days prior to the start of the Playing Season.

26. MEDICAL PERSONNEL

All Clubs shall have a therapist present throughout each Competition Match who has passed as a minimum “The FA Intermediate Treatment of Injury" course (or its equivalent) and who holds a valid first aid certificate.

Clubs shall ensure their medical practitioner or physiotherapist or equivalent keeps detailed up-to-date medical records for all Contract Players in the form and in accordance with the requirements and guidelines published by the Football Association from time to time.

When a Player’s registration is about to be transferred the Transferor Club must make such records available to the medical practitioner or physiotherapist of the Transferee Club. This procedure shall also apply to all Players whose registrations are temporarily transferred under the provisions for Long and Short Loans.

27. Rule not applicable.

28. Rule not applicable.

29. Rule not applicable.

30. PROMOTION AGREEMENTS

Promotion of Clubs from and the relegation of Clubs to the Midland Football Alliance will be in accordance with the regulations of the National League System (see appendix)

Promotion to the Midland Football Alliance – The Leagues Committee of the Football Association will, in conjunction with the appropriate Leagues, manage the promotion process between Step 6 and Step 5. Clubs will be placed into “feeder pools” and allocated the most appropriate geographical division.

Relegation from the Midland Football Alliance – The three Clubs having the least number of points shall be relegated. The Leagues Committee of the Football Association will, in conjunction with the appropriate Leagues, manage the relegation process between Step 5 and Step 6. Clubs will be placed into “feeder pools” and allocated the most appropriate geographical division.

In the event of a Club not being in a relegation position wishing to resign from the League or having been excluded, such Club will replace the Club otherwise due for relegation.

Notwithstanding any of the provisions mentioned, the Board shall be empowered to maintain the numerical strength of the League if for any reason it should be depleted.

31. GENERAL MEETINGS

(a) The Annual General Meeting shall be held not later than the 30th June in each year. At the meeting, the following business shall be transacted:-

Confirmation of the minutes of the preceding meeting and matters arising therefrom.

Adoption of Standing Orders.

Presentation and adoption of the Annual report, Balance Sheet and Statement of Accounts.

Constitution of the League for the ensuing season.

Election of Clubs to fill vacancies.

Election of Officers, Management Committee and Auditors.

Alterations of Rules (of which notice has been given).

Fix date for conclusion of playing season.

Other Business (of which notice has been given).

(b) (i) A copy of the agenda and audited Balance Sheet and Statement of Accounts shall be forwarded to each Club at least 7 days prior to the meeting.

(ii) Each Full Member Club shall be empowered to send two delegates to all general Meetings. Each Club shall be entitled to one vote only.

(iii) Clubs who have withdrawn their membership of the League or who are not continuing membership shall be entitled to attend but shall vote only on matters relating to the season being concluded.

(iv) All voting shall be conducted by a show of hands unless a ballot be demanded by at least one third of the delegates present, or the Chairman so decides.

(v) Any Club failing to send representatives to the Annual General Meeting or Special General Meeting will be fined as per the fines tariff.

(vi) A Club in membership may send observers to the meeting but they shall not take part in the proceedings of the meeting.

(vii) The President may formally preside at any meeting of the Clubs but the Chairman shall assume responsibility for conducting the business of the meeting. The Chairman shall have the right to exercise a casting vote.

(viii) A quorum for the conduct of any business at a meeting of the Clubs shall not be less than 2/3rds of the total membership of the League.

(ix) The ruling of the Chairman on a point of order or on the interpretation of Standing Orders shall be accepted as final.

32. MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE

(i) The Management Committee shall consist of the President, Chairman, Vice Chairman, Administrative Officers of the League and six elected representatives who shall be responsible for the conduct of the affairs of the League.

The President, Chairman and Vice Chairman shall be elected annually.

The six elected representatives will be elected for a three year term and then retire but will be eligible for re-election.

The Administrative Officers shall be appointed by the Management Committee, namely General Secretary, Assistant Secretary, Treasurer, Fixtures Secretary, Registrations Secretary, Referees Appointments Officer and Press/Publicity Officer.

(ii) Any member of the Management Committee who fails to attend a minimum of five meetings within a calendar year, without providing a satisfactory reason acceptable to the Management Committee, will be considered to have resigned.

(iii) No Club shall have more than two members of it’s Board/Committee as members of the League Management Committee.

(iv) A member of the Management Committee not withstanding any provision of these rules shall remain in office until their successor shall be appointed.

(v) If a vacancy occurs on the Management Committee, the vacancy shall be filled by the unsuccessful nominee in order of voting for that post at the previous Annual General Meeting and the member so appointed, will serve for the unexpired term of their predecessor.

(vi) All nominations for membership of the Management Committee shall be in writing, signed by the Chairman and Secretary of a Club in membership of the League and forwarded to the General Secretary by the 1st June in each year. The General Secretary will acknowledge receipt of the nomination within 48 hours.

(vii) The Auditors of the league will not be eligible to be members of the Management Committee.

(viii) The expenses of each member of the Management Committee attending meetings, or any other related business, shall be paid at the rate of 30p per mile.

33. COMPETITION OFFICERS

The President, Chairman, Vice Chairman, General Secretary and Treasurer shall act as Trustees of the property, assets and effects of the League. The Trustees shall have power to make, vary, realise and redeem such investments of the League upon the instructions pursuant to any resolution or resolutions of the Management Committee of the League.

34. LIFE MEMBERS

The League may elect Life Members who shall be ex-officio members of the Management Committee but shall have no power to vote. They shall be entitled to attend the Annual General Meeting or any other meeting of Clubs but shall not be entitled to vote unless attending as a Club delegate. All proposals for Life Membership must be considered by the Management Committee by the 30th May and if approved, proposed for Membership at the Annual General Meeting.

35. PAST PRESIDENT

A Past President of the League shall be afforded the same privileges as those of a Life Member.

36. COUNCIL MEETINGS

A Council of Clubs meeting will be held in April or June, August and December of each year. Clubs failing to send a delegate will be fined as per the fines tariff.

37. Rule not applicable.

38. The Company shall be entitled either directly or through its duly appointed agents to inspect the books, accounts and financial records of any Club and that Club shall make available to the Company all information as may be required from time to time in that respect.

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