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Competition Rules

N.C.S.F.A. COMPETITION RULES

Revised AGM June 11 2018.

1 Name

(a) The Northern Counties Trophy Competitions.

2 Trophy


(a) The trophies are the property of the Northern Counties Schools F.A.

(b) The trophies shall be presented to the captains of the winning County teams immediately after the final match, or at the match function that be held after the match.

3 Mementoes


(a) Sixteen mementoes shall be awarded to each county taking part in the Final Tie. Additional mementoes may be purchased.

(b) Up to six mementoes may be awarded as follows: Referee, two assistant referees, reserve official, and each County Association involved in the Final Tie.

4 Control


(a) The entire control and management of the Competitions shall be vested in the NCSFA or such committee as shall be appointed by the NCSFA

(b) Matches shall be played in accordance with The Laws of the Game as approved by  the  International Football Association Board and as modified by ESFA.

(c) All teams must be under the ultimate control of either:

(i) a practising teacher, recognised as such by the Department for Children, Schools and Families, or
(ii) a retired teacher, or present or past employee of the education service who has received direct approval in writing from the appropriate local or county Schools’ Football Association to undertake such responsibilities, or a person who has direct approval in writing from the appropriate Local or County Schools’ Football Association and who has :-
(a) at least a level 1 FA coaching qualification
(b) undergone a (CRB) Criminal Records Bureau check – any payment associated with this shall be the responsibility of the local/county Schools’ Football Association.

This information must be registered with the ESFA on the appropriate form and the CRB certificate must be attached to the form. This registration is to be done on a three year basis. Approval may be withdrawn by the ESFA, or the local or County Schools’ Football Association, at any time. Any other person assisting with or coaching a team must operate in the presence of a person who is qualified under (i) or (ii) above.

(d) The winning County Association shall be responsible for suitable engraving and for the maintenance of the Trophy in good order.

(e) Arrangements for the displaying of the Trophy must be agreed with NCSFA

(f) It shall be the responsibility of the respective County Secretary to ensure the return of the Trophy in good order and in good time for presentation at the Final.

5 Entries

(a) The Trophies shall be offered for annual competition amongst the affiliated County Associations who provide football for Secondary age boys and girls.

6 Eligible Players


(a) NCSFA Trophy for Boys Under 14

Only bona-fide scholars receiving full-time education in accordance with the Education Acts, who are on the roll of a school affiliated to the County Association, over the age of 13 years and under the age of 14 years at midnight between the previous 31st August and 1st September shall be allowed to take part in the Regional Competition. (Years 9 only)

(b) NCSFA  Trophy for Girls Under 14

Only bona-fide scholars receiving full-time education in accordance with the Education Acts, who are on the roll of a school affiliated to the County Association who are  over the age of 12 and under the age of 14 at midnight of the previous 31 August and 1st September. (Years 8 and 9 only) are eligible

(c) NCSFA Trophy for Boys Under 16

Only bona-fide scholars receiving full-time education in accordance with the Education Acts, who are on the roll of a school affiliated to the County Association, over the age of 15 years and under the age of 16 years at midnight between the previous 31st August and 1st September shall be allowed to take part in the Regional Competition. (Year 11)

(d) NCSFA Trophy for Girls Under 16

Only bona-fide scholars receiving full-time education in accordance with the Education Acts, who are on the roll of a school affiliated to the County Association, over the age of 14 years and under the age of 16 years at midnight between the previous 31st August and 1st September shall be allowed to take part in the Regional Competition. (Years 10 and 11)

(e)  NCSFA Trophy for boys under 18

Only bona-fide scholars receiving full-time education in accordance with the Education Acts, who are on the roll of a school affiliated to the County Association, over the age of 16 years and under the age of 18 years at midnight between the previous 31st August and 1st September shall be allowed to take part in the Regional Competition. (Year 12 and 13)

(f) If the NCSFA has any doubt as to the qualifications of any player taking part in  a  Competition, it shall have the power to call upon the Association to which he/she belongs, or for which he/she played, to prove that he/she is qualified according to the rules, and failing satisfactory proof, the offending Association may be disqualified from the competition   or suffer other sanction as determined at the discretion of the Officers.

(g) A player shall not play for more than one County Association in the Competition during any season, except by permission of NCSFA.

7 The Competition

(a) Arrangements for deciding the champion county shall be voted upon at the Annual General Meeting prior to the commencement of the season.

(b) Venues chosen for matches should be as close as possible to the visiting county.

(c) (i) The “Home” association must offer all visitors a date and venue for games before the end of  January, otherwise the fixture may be reversed.

(ii) All Divisional matches in both East and West shall be completed and the results communicated to the secretary before the end of February.

(d) The secretary should be notified of the fixture arrangements and results as soon as possible.  

(e)(i) In the event of a dispute arising over the dates and or venues proposed for the playing of matches then The Officers may convene an ad hoc sub committee of 3 to resolve the matter, as outlined in the General Rules section 7, with one member from the East division and one from the West plus one Officer

(ii) In the event of the Final match at any age group involving two teams from the same division, then the Final shall be played in the county which travelled to the other in the normal qualifying league.

(iii) In the event of the Final involving teams from different divisions, ie one from the East and one from the West, then the drawing of lots at the AGM in the previous season shall decide the county which will have the option of staging the Final.

(f) In the event of teams having the same number of points the highest placed team shall be decided as follows:

1. goal difference

2. most goals scored

3. won most matches

4. result(s) of match(es) between the teams concerned.

Should teams share a qualifying position in the group and their playing records are identical then a play off match may be arranged if time permits, or, if time does not permit, the drawing of lots to determine the team to proceed.

(g) The withdrawal of any team from any NCSFA competition will result in their record and all results being deleted for the season

8 Match Officials

(a) The match officials for the Final shall be appointed by the Secretary.

(b) For all other games, three Match Officials properly attired shall be appointed by the “home” association. If the home association cannot appoint three match officials then assistance be sought from a neighbouring association.

(c) The duties of the Match Officials shall be in accordance with the Laws of the Game as authorised by the International Football Association Board and as modified by ESFA)

(d) In the event of a referee and/or linesman failing to appear the Associations concerned must agree in writing upon the appointment of one or more ad hoc official(s) on the ground, so that the game shall be conducted in accordance with the rules.

(e) The officials so appointed shall have the powers of duly appointed Officials.

9 Duration of Matches

Under 14 Northern Counties Trophy Boys and Girls

The duration of each match shall be 35 minutes each way.

Under 16 Northern Counties SFA Trophy for Boys

The duration of each match shall be 40 minutes each way. If it is deemed inadvisable to play for 80 minutes, the Secretaries of the competing teams and the Referee may decide that the duration of play shall be 70 (35 minutes each way).

Under 16 Northern Counties SFA Trophy for Girls

The duration of each match shall be 40 minutes each way. If it is deemed inadvisable to play for 80 minutes, the Secretaries of the competing teams and the Referee may decide that the duration of play shall be 60 minutes (30 minutes each way).

Under 18 Northern Counties SFA Trophy for Boys

The duration of each match shall be 45 minutes each way. If it is deemed inadvisable to play for 90 minutes, the Secretaries of the competing teams and the Referee may decide that the duration of play shall be no less than 70 minutes (35 minutes each way).

10 Matches


(a) There are no replays. Where a cup-tie match results in a draw, extra time of 10 minutes each way must be played. Should the scores remain equal at the conclusion of extra time, then the result shall be determined by the taking of penalty kicks (FIFA rule).

(b) If in the opinion of the referee, for circumstances beyond the control of the organisers, scheduled extra time cannot be started or completed a match shall be deemed to have been completed at the end of normal playing time and the result is then to be determined by the taking of penalty kicks.

(c) If, in the opinion of the referee, the taking of penalty kicks cannot be started or completed the facts shall be reported to the Officers of NCSFA for further advice.

11 Match Days


Matches will, if possible, be played on Saturdays, but a match may be played midweek where teams are mutually agreed, or, where, on the application of the home team, the Officers of NCSFA consider it desirable. In the case of emergency, matches must be played on any date ordered by The Officers of NCSFA.

12 Venue

Matches must be played on a private and enclosed ground from the NCSFA Semi Finals onwards. A school ground is acceptable in the earlier rounds if

a. the pitch and the facilities are of a high enough standard for a national competition

b. the pitch is fenced or roped from spectators

c. Spectators are not allowed behind the goals

13 Artificial surfaces

Matches may be played on 3G artificial surfaces if both teams are in agreement, (before the away team travels). NCSFA / ESFA can insist on matches being played on a 3G surface in matters of urgency.

14 Finance

All matters of finance shall be in the hands of  NCSFA or such sub committee as appointed at the Annual General Meeting.

15 Ball

To be a size 5, in accordance with the Laws of the game.

16 Substitutes

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

(b) In all 11-a-side matches, Teams are permitted to use 5 substitutes from five named players.

17 Protests

All protests regarding eligibility, qualifications of players, or interpretations of rules shall be lodged with the secretary but no objection relative to the ground, goalposts or appurtenances of the game shall be entertained unless a protest in writing be made to the referee prior to the commencement of the match. ESFA rules regarding protests and procedures shall be applied.

18 Similar colours

Where Associations have similar colours, the Home team shall be entitled to retain their colours and the visiting team shall change to colours which provide a satisfactory contrast.