NECSL COMPETITION RULES 2017
Rule 1: JURISDICTION
- All rules in this book are applicable solely to games and competitions played under the jurisdiction of the NECSL and shall be subject to annual review and alteration by the Committee.
- The Committee or its sub-committee/s shall have the power to deal with any situation, event or circumstances which arise and are not specifically covered within these rules.
- No Committee member or office holder may represent, take part in, debate, or in any way influence any League discussion or decision/s affecting his/her club.
- The Committee shall be the sole authority for the interpretation of the rules.
- The decision of the Committee on the rules or on any subject of discipline outside of the rules shall be final and binding subject to appeal to affiliated bodies.
- The Committee can intervene on its own initiative with or without a protest being received.
- The Committee shall have the power to grade all teams and their decision is final.
- The NECSL, by mutual agreement with the NEFL (formerly MDL), will not form a junior league and the NEFL will not form a schoolboy league.
Rule 2: DIVISIONAL STRUCTURES
- The Committee shall form teams into divisions for each competitive age group on the basis of approved applications received from clubs in membership of the League at the start of each season.
- Divisions for teams will be formed by the Committee and details issued to member clubs prior to the commencement of each season.
- Member clubs will have 14 days from date of those issuing to request a change of team/s division.
- The Committee shall have the sole right to grant or deny any such request for placement in division/s.
Rule 3: COMPETITIONS and FIXTURES
- All NECSL matches, in whichever of its competitions, shall be played according to these rules.
- The Committee shall be responsible for the setting up of, management and control of all NECSL competitions and fixtures and no team or club may alter the fixtures details issued by the League without the express consent of the Fixture Secretary. Breach of this rule may result in disciplinary action being taken, the level of which shall be at the discretion of the Committee.
- Any team conceding more than three walkovers in any combination of NECSL fixtures in any one season shall be liable to removal from the League and all its competitions for the remainder of the relevant season.
- Players registered to a team removed under these circumstances shall be catered for under the provisions of Rule 12 of the NECSL constitution and rules.
- Any Club requesting a match postponement must do so no later than 14 days in advance to the relevant Fixtures Secretary.
- The League will inform all clubs in relation to walkovers or teams failing to fulfill fixtures.
- In all NECSL games of a knock out nature the appointed referee will decide if pitches are playable on the day. If pitch or weather conditions should cause a postponement the home team must find an alternative pitch or the fixture will revert to their opponents’ ground. This rule shall also apply where local authorities declare a pitch unplayable.
- Any game started and later abandoned for weather or pitch conditions shall result in loss of home advantage and the game being re-fixed in the ground of the team originally drawn away.
- All weather playing surfaces shall be used for NECSL games provided these are in complete compliance with, and certified as such, the current FAI standards/codes. This certification shall be available for inspection on demand.
- All visiting clubs must be notified by home clubs 48 hours in advance of the kick off time should there be the possibility that an artificial surface of the required standard and certification will be used. This notification shall include any restrictions on footwear.
- All NECSL matches in whichever of its competitions, shall be played according to these rules, the home team shall be responsible for stewarding and marking of the pitch etc. Both teams shall each supply one football of the regulation size and quality.
- Players’ forenames and surnames must be entered in block capitals on the match card, failure to adhere to this rule shall leave the offending team open to sanction.
- All match cards must be filled in by a responsible adult mentor from each team. The match card must be signed by an adult team mentor whose signature shall attest to the proper eligibility and accuracy of the players details on that card, (adult in this rule is to mean over 18 years). Clubs shall carry full responsibility for all details of players entered onto any match card irrespective of whoever signed the match card.
- In NECSL Cup or knock out nature games home advantage shall apply to the team drawn firstly, this shall not apply to finals games where a neutral venue shall be nominated by the Committee.
- Roll on-roll off substitutions are allowed up to a maximum of five substitutes named on the match card, substituted players may be re-entered into the game subject to there being no more than the maximum number of players as required under the game format.
- Where a clash of playing colours occurs it shall be the responsibility of the home team to change to an alternative set of playing colours.
- Where a team ceases to exist, for whatever reason, and having played fewer than three (3) games in its League division shall have their results stand and all teams scheduled to play any such team shall be awarded the match points or progress to the next round of any game of a knock out nature.
- Claims for the award of a game will be dealt with and decided by the NECSL Executive Committee.
Rule 4: PROTESTS
- Any club in doubt as to the eligibility of its opponents shall, by making representations to the referee at half time, be at liberty to obtain the signature and dates of birth of any three opposition players. Any team’s refusal to accede to such a request will be regarded as an effort to conceal an irregularity in registration and/or over-age and shall be a breach of this rule.
- At the end of a game a club shall be at liberty to obtain the signature and date of birth of any substitute who was introduced to the game after the half-time interval. All such signatures and dates of birth shall form the basis of any protest and be produced at any subsequent protest hearing.
- The opposition manager or any NECSL League Officer may, at half-time or full time, request to view the NECSL passport of up to 3 players should they deem necessary.
- Protests can only be lodged and dealt with by the League where they emanate from a game played by the protesting club against their opponents, no third party protests will be dealt with by the League.
- Teams found guilty of playing an over-age player/s shall, if they had won the game, forfeit that game to the opposing team, may be removed from the competition from that stage and may be removed from membership of the League for the remainder of that season.
- Teams found guilty of playing an over-age player/s shall, if they had lost the game, may be removed from membership of the League for the remainder of that season and forfeit any match points or trophy won.
- Teams found guilty of playing an ineligible or unregistered player/s shall, if they had won the game forfeit that game to the opposing team, may be removed from the competition from that stage and incur a fine the level of which will be determined by the investigating committee.
- Teams found guilty of playing an ineligible or unregistered player/s shall, if they had lost the game may be liable to suspension and incur a fine the levels of both of which will be determined by the investigating committee.
- Following the removal of a team under this rule its registered players will be catered under the provisions of Rule 12 of the NECSL constitution and rules.
- Protest as to overage or any other cause must be sent by registered post to the League Secretary within four (4) working days following the date of the game and be accompanied by the appropriate fee (cheque/postal order/bank draft) of 25.00 euro. For the purposes of this rule Saturdays, Sundays and Bank/Public Holidays are excluded.
- An exact copy of the protest must also be sent by registered post within the same time frame to the club against which the protest is being lodged.
- Counter -protests must be lodged within a further four clear days by registered post to the League Secretary accompanied by a similar fee and an exact copy sent within the same time frame by registered post to the club which lodged the original protest, for the purposes of this rule Saturdays, Sundays and Bank/Public Holidays are excluded.
- Protest fee/s or counter Protest fees/s must be sent by postal order or bank draft only to the Hon. Secretary of the League, any such fees sent by any other method will be declared invalid and nullify the protest or counter protest.
- Protests shall be dealt with by a sub-committee of three current members of the Committee, protest sub-committees decisions shall be final and binding subject to the right to appeal onwards to the relevant governing body.
- No decision of the Committee or its sub-committees may be appealed to the League itself, all appeals must be forwarded to the governing body according to the governing body’s rules governing such appeals.
- Any club making a successful protest shall be refunded the protest fee, which becomes the responsibility of the club protested against.
- All fines must be paid within seven days of notification.
- Where a club appeals a decision of the NECSL for the purpose of having a player eligible for games, the NECSL shall have the right to review the situation if the period of suspension is terminated before the appeal process is terminated. The rules shall in no way infringe upon the right of any club to appeal a decision.
- In the event of a protest or appeal being lodged against a decision of the league, no points will be awarded pending the result of the appeal.
Rule 5: REFEREES REPORTS
- All referees reports shall be dealt with and clubs may be required to attend at disciplinary hearings at the discretion of the Committee or its sub-committee.
- Players sent off in NECSL games are automatically suspended from their next NECSL game irrespective of competition. Subject to a review of the referee’s report the sanction may be increased by the investigating committee.
Rule 6: TROPHIES
- Non- competitive football shall apply to specific age groups as determined by the Committee.
- In competitive age groups and formats, teams shall be promoted or demoted prior to the start of any new season as far as possible on their standing from the previous seasons League competition.
- The NECSL is the sole owner of all trophies competed for under its jurisdiction, clubs shall be responsible for the safe keeping of trophies whilst in their possession and all trophies shall be returned when requested and in good condition. Clubs returning damaged trophies, or responsible for lost trophies, will be liable for the repair or replacement of same.
- Any club failing to return any NECSL trophy within the time frame laid down by the Committee shall render itself liable to a fine.
Rule 7: BEHAVIOUR/FINES
- All member clubs are fully responsible at all times for the behaviour and actions of its players, technical staff and supporters. The Committee, or its sub-committee/s, shall have the power to deal with reports or complaints against such person/s brought to its notice through whatever reporting fashion.
- No player shall be expected to pay any fine imposed under the jurisdiction of the NECSL all fines for player or adult misconduct shall be imposed against his/her club which shall be responsible for its payment as per rule.
- Any NECSL fine imposed, which is not the subject of an onward appeal must be paid within fourteen (14) days of the date of issuing of the notice of that fine. Failure to pay fines, within this timeframe, may result in additional sanctions being imposed.
Rule 8: LAWS OF THE GAME
- All competitive matches shall be governed by current FIFA laws of the game.
- Duration, formats and ball regulation are covered under the FAI Player Development plan.
- Games of a knock-out nature, shall if ending in a draw, be decided by playing 10 minutes each half extra time.
- Small sided games of a knock-out nature, shall if ending in a draw, be decided by playing 5 minutes each half extra time.
- Where extra time fails to produce a winner the game shall be decided by using FIFA penalty shoot-out rules.
- In all games of a League nature, three points will be awarded for a win, one point for a draw and no points for a loss.
- In all League type competitions the winner and runner in each division shall be determined by the highest number of match points accrued.
- No team shall win or finish runner-up in any division based on goal difference or any other system other than match points accrued.
- Where more than one team has accrued the same number of match points for winner or runner-up position at the conclusion of the division’s schedule of games, a knock out basis play-off game shall be staged by the League to separate the teams.
Rule 9: MATCH DAY REQUIREMENTS
- All pitches must be marked in accordance with the laws of the game.
Creosote, dry lime markings are strictly prohibited. Referees have the power to decline to officiate if this rule is broken.
- It is compulsory for each team to have an approved first aid kit available on match day. It is also necessary to have a first aid person present.
- Referees may allow a maximum of 15 minutes for a late kick-off. This shall apply to the away team only, but in the case of a team constantly using this concession the committee has the power to take whatever steps they deem necessary.
- In the case of abandoned or unfinished games the committee shall investigate the causes and give a ruling within two weeks of the fixture subject to availability of referee’s report.
- When a referee has been appointed for a match within the jurisdiction of the league no objection will be heard from clubs involved in the match except in the case where an objection has been lodged and sustained by the Referees’ Committee of the F.A.I.
- Clubs failing to pay the referee in accordance with the rules shall be fined.
- Clubs given a walkover, such as failing to turn up are liable for full referee’s fees and expenses and are also liable to be fined or suspended.
- Clubs present on the day may pay the referee and will duly be refunded by the league.
- The FAI Referees Committee shall fix the referees’ fees. The fee plus expenses must be paid before the game starts. The fees shall be split 50/50 between the two clubs for all NECSL fixtures except in cup finals and league play-offs. Any queries regarding referees’ fees should be directed to the league secretary. For SFAI National Cup games full referees’ fees are paid by home team.
- Any agreement by clubs to double up on fixtures must be authorized by the Committee.
- Any changes to fixture times, dates must be authorized by the Committee and will be posted to the League website.
- In the event of the appointed referee not attending and the two clubs agreeing to one on the ground such referee shall be considered official of that game before it starts.
- Any club wishing to postpone a fixture must apply, with a minimum of 14 days, notice to the fixtures secretary in writing. Granting of postponements shall be at the discretion of the fixtures secretary. However the executive may intervene at any time.
- The only acceptable reason for a postponement after the specified period would be bereavement to the next of kin, to a player or club official, otherwise the referee has the power to call off a game on match day unless it is called off by the NECSL.
Rule 10: SENDING OFF OFFENCES
- Following receipt of the Referees report in which a player has been sent off there then follows an automatic one match suspension.
- This automatic suspension can only be served when a game is actually played by the same team as that for which a player in question was playing when he incurred the suspension. The postponement or cancellation of a published fixture should not qualify for the purposes of serving a suspension.
- The disciplinary committee of the league may at its discretion extend the duration of the suspension and/or impose fines.
- If it is not possible to impose the automatic one match suspension on a player in the current season, then the committee shall have the power to impose the automatic one match suspension in another domestic competitive match.
- Should the same player be dismissed again in the same season the following minimum punishments will apply:
2nd sending off = suspended for 1 match
3rd sending off = suspended for 2 matches
4th sending off = suspended for 4 matches
For 5 or more dismissals = suspended for 6 matches
- Any suspension or part thereof, which remains outstanding at the end of the season, must be served at the commencement of the following season.
- If the club is unhappy with the Executive Committee’s decision then the club, with the exception of the automatic one match suspension, may appeal through the relevant governing body.
- The appeal must be lodged within the specified number of days of the written notification as laid down in the governing body’s rules. The appeal must be sent with requisite cheque or postal order to the Honorary Secretary of the governing body by registered post.
- An exact copy of the appeal must be submitted to the secretary of the NECSL by registered post.
- All suspensions of 12 months duration or longer must be notified immediately to the Honorary Secretary of the governing body. No suspension can be amended or cancelled without the express approval of the governing body.
- All suspensions relating to physical assaults on referees must be notified immediately to the Honorary Secretary of the governing body by the NECSL.
- A player whom the referee has reported as guilty of assault on him before, during or immediately after a match will automatically stand suspended until the NECSL disciplinary committee has decided upon the case and notified the parties involved by registered post of their decision. In this connection, spitting at the referees is regarded as an assault.
- The minimum suspension on a player found guilty by the NECSL of assaulting a referee will be 12 months.
- A player sent off in an S.F.A.I. National Cup competition is automatically suspended for the next competitive game in the competition in which the player was dismissed. In the event that the player’s team was knocked out of the competition when the dismissal took place then the suspension will apply to the team’s next competitive game. Subject to the referee’s report the sanction may be increased.
Rule 11: CAUTIONABLE OFFENCES
- A player who is cautioned (receives a yellow card) in any game must be reported to the NECSL and the League must keep a record.
- A player who accumulates four cautions will be suspended for 1 game at the age group in which the player received the cautions.
- Following the suspension, if the same player accumulates a further four cautions, he will be suspended for 2 games.
- Any player who receives in excess of 12 cautions in any one season will receive a 3 match suspension for the 12th
- Thereafter the player will receive a 3 match suspension for every 4 cautions.
- Any suspension or part thereof, which remains outstanding at the end of the season, must be served at the commencement of the following season.
- At the end of each season, players with up to 3 outstanding cautions will not have these cautions carried forward to the next season.