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General Rules for Secondary 11-a-side Competitions




1     The rules of the game shall be those of the Football Association, except as otherwise stated.


2     The entire control and management of the competitions shall be vested in the Council.


3     The Council shall have the power to deal as they see fit with any competing association, school, college or any player or players of any competing association, school, college who may be proved guilty of any breach of the rules of the Association.


4    Refer to ESFA General Competition Rule 4 regarding CONTROL and staff i/c of teams being compliant with national government / FA / ESFA safeguarding criteria.

5     Field of play: the minimum pitch size for all 11 v 11 matches shall be 90 yards by 60 yards.

      Ball size: u-12 and -13 size 4; u-14 size 4 but may be size 5 if mutually agreed; u-15 to u-19 size 5.

      Goal size: 8 yards wide x 8 feet high (7 yards x 7 feet is acceptable up to and including under-14).

      Duration of matches: u-12 30 minutes each way; u-13 and -14 35 minutes each way; u-15 and u-16 40 minutes each way;

      u-17, u-18 and u-19 45 minutes each way.

      Extra time when needed: u-12, -13 and -14 seven minutes each way; u-15 and above 10 minutes each way;

      All cup knock-out matches, including finals, shall be played to a result with extra-time and penalties.

      No replays are permitted.

      Substitutes: 5 ‘repeated’ substitutes from 5 named players up to and including the u-19 age group.

      Mixed gender teams: permissible up to and including u-15.

      Age eligibility: one year age band only up to and including u-16 except within designated girls’ competitions

      where two age bands are permitted. U-18 can include players from Year’s 12 and 13; u-19 Year 14 also;

      MCSFA Senior Shield permits Year 11 boys to play.

     9 v 9 is compulsory for under 12 ONLY in schools' football. Regarding rules refer ESFA / FA websites. Adapt/adopt pitch size and goals to local affordability/conditions. MCSFA final will be played strictly to all 9-a-side criteria/rules.


6     The trophies shall be offered for annual competition among affiliated associations, schools, colleges.


7     Only those players who are bona fide students on the roll of a school/college affiliated to the local association and are under the stipulated age of a competition at midnight between the previous 31st August and 1st September shall be allowed to take part in the competition.


8     No player shall be allowed to play for more than one association, school, college in a competition during any season without the permission of the Council.


9     If Council has any doubt as to the qualification of any player taking part in a competition, Council shall have the power to call upon the association, school, college to which the player belongs, to prove the player is qualified according to the rules, and failing satisfactory proof, the offending association, school, college shall be disqualified.


10     Every effort must be made to play inter-association and inter-school competition matches by the limit dates. Any extension to limit dates can only be sanctioned by the respective competition coordinator. Failure to comply with this rule may lead to automatic expulsion from a competition.


11    A team whose scheduled opponents in a Merseyside league competition fail to honour their fixture against them, by either not turning up on the day or by cancelling within 48 hours of the arranged game, and in either case without a reason acceptable to the competition co­ordinator, shall be awarded a 3 - nil win and 3 points, with the offending team thereby losing the game 0 - 3 and also expected to reimburse their opponents of any financial outlay already incurred. Applicable to U11, U14, U15 association leagues and U19 school/colleges leagues.


12     Council shall have direct control of the arrangements and finances connected with all finals. The date arranged for the final must be observed.


13     The referee shall decide as to the fitness of the ground. Associations shall not mutually agree to play a friendly match in lieu of a competition match.

14     Up to the final, the onus is on the home association, school, college to appoint a 'neutral' referee. Assistant referees shall be appointed by the mutual agreement of the two associations, schools, colleges. In finals, the referee and assistant referees shall be appointed by Council.


15     All questions of eligibility of competitions or of interpretations of rules shall be referred to the Council, but no objection relative to the ground, goalposts or appurtenances of the game shall be entertained by the Council, unless a protest in writing be made to the referee before the commencement of the match. All protests must be lodged within five days of the match.


16     The competitions shall be arranged so that the finals shall take place in accordance with E.S.F.A. rules.


17     The order of priority of competition matches at secondary level will be;

(i) ESFA (ii) Inter-County (iii) Welsh Schools' FA (iv) Merseyside County Inter-Association
(v) Other Inter-Association competition matches (vi) Merseyside County Inter-School/College Competition matches


18     Council shall have the power to arrange Inter-County matches and shall have first call on the services of any player subject to rule 16. Normally, eight days notice of such a match shall be given to all associations and schools/colleges  with player/s selected for County teams


19     Competition Fees: For all individual school/college secondary open, boys, girls 11-a-side (9-a-side under 12) competitions there is a competition fee of £20 per competition entered, payable to the Hon. Treasurer by the AGM of the preceding season.