Little League Playing Rules

1.0   Structure of the Organisation

  • The name of the Federation shall be Little League Football (hereinafter called “the Federation”). The name of the governing body of the Federation shall be the National Executive Committee.
  •  The Federation shall be divided into a number of Divisions.  The name of the governing body within each Division of the Federation shall be the Divisional Executive Committee.
  • The basic units of the Federation shall be known as Leagues.  Each League shall be placed within a Division in accordance with the Procedure.  The name of the governing body within each League shall be the League Management Committee.

1.2   Compliance

  • The Rules governing Little League Football are binding on those taking part.
  • Alterations to these Rules may only be made at a General Meeting of Little League Football.
  •  Any protest or complaint must be made to the League Management Committee, and any appeal against their decision must be made to the National Executive Committee. Any subsequent appeal must be made to the local County Football Association in accordance with their procedures.

1.3   The League

  • A League will apply annually to the National Executive Committee for affiliation to Little League Football by completing and returning an application form to the Executive Secretary no later than 30th August.
  • Not more than one League will be permitted to operate under the same League Management Committee without approval of the National Executive Committee.
  • The name of the League will be that of the district followed by the words ?Little League Football?
  • Normally, the League shall play at one venue with the three games being played consecutively on one pitch.
  • The local League shall run teams in one or more sections and may also provide football for children waiting for a place in a team.

1.4   The Concept

  • The Concept of Little League Football.
  • Organised football is provided for boys and girls of any ability.
  • Every child plays each week during the season.
  • The pitches, goals and balls are reduced in size to suit the physical capabilities of the players.
  • All games are played at home, encouraging a spirit of friendship and community involvement.
  • Emphasis is placed on enjoyment, team spirit and sportsmanship amongst players and parents alike.
  • No charge is made for the girls and boys to play.
  • Playing for pleasure is more important than winning at all costs.
  • All rules, arrangements and procedures within the organisation must adhere to the principles of the Concept.
  • The Officers Manual will provide further information and advice on the interpretation of this Rule book, and is a source of best practice.

1.5    Insurance

  • The National Executive Committee shall effect Personal Accident and Public Liability insurance policies on behalf of each League with the limits of indemnity to be determined from time to time by a General Meeting of the Federation.
  • Each League shall reimburse its proportion of the premiums to the National Executive Committee.
  • Each League shall also pay subscriptions to the Little League Football Accident Fund in accordance with the Rules of the Fund.
  • The National Executive Committee shall effect Professional Indemnity Insurance to cover the Federation and each League.

1.6    League Sponsors

  • Leagues may accept sponsorship of the League as a whole, or of their National Tournament team, or of a competition organised by the League, provided that:
    • The approval of the National Executive Officers is obtained before the sponsorship is accepted
    • Advertising on players clothing conforms to Rule 3.3
    • The sponsorship does not conflict with the interests of any existing League Sponsor or Team Sponsor in the League
    • There is no conflict with any Little League Football Rule
    • No personal details, including names and addresses of players or parents, are supplied to the Sponsor
    • The Sponsor will have no influence in the decisions made by that League Management Committee.

1.7    Team Sponsors

  • Each team may be sponsored by a company, organisation or individual.
  • Sponsorship will be limited to acceptance of the fact that the Sponsor has helped to make Little League Football possible for boys/girls in the district.  The Sponsor will have no influence in the decisions made by that League Management Committee.
  • The Sponsor’s annual contribution is made to the League funds and regardless of motive, a Sponsor will not be permitted to donate money or gifts to the sponsored team but may make a further donation or gift for the benefit of the League as a whole.
  • At the discretion of the Sponsor and the League Management Committee. the sponsored team may be known by the Sponsor’s name or that of his/her company, organisation, product or service, and a nickname may be added.

1.8    Individual Membership

  • Any person over 16 years of age may apply for Individual Membership.
  • The amount payable in respect of annual individual or family membership shall be determined by each league and set at a reasonable figure to reflect its financial situation and income generating ability.  These donations must not be compulsory in that no child should be prevented from playing football if a parent or guardian is unable to afford the stipulated sum.  Such monies shall be payable to the league on 1st September to cover the period to the following 31st August.
  • The League Management Committee may offer longer periods of Membership, or Joint Parent Membership, at a subscription to be determined from time to time by that League Management Committee following the principle set out in Rule 1.8
  • Only those holding Individual Membership may stand for election to a Little League Football Committee
  • The League Secretary will endeavour to keep Individual Members informed of the activities of the League as far as is practicable and shall give each Individual Member the appropriate notice of the dates, times and venues of General Meetings of the League.
  • An Individual Member is entitled to attend and vote at General Meetings of the League to which his/her subscription was paid.

1.9     Vetting of Volunteers

  • All committee members and other adult volunteers shall be checked periodically with the Criminal Records Bureau.
  • The National Executive Committee shall register with the Criminal Records Bureau as an umbrella organisation on behalf of affiliated Leagues. Three members of the National Executive Committee shall register with the Criminal Records Bureau as signatories.
  • Each League shall appoint a ‘responsible Person’ to co-ordinate the vetting of those defined in 1.9

2          Participants

  •  The Football Association Rules concerning players shall apply, except where otherwise stated in these Rules.

2.2      Players

  • No membership fee or subscription will be required from any player.
  • Age Ranges
  • Players aged up to and including Under 10 may play small sided games but must not play 11-a-side games.
  • Players aged Under 11 up to and including Under 14 may play either 11-a-side or small sided games.
  • Subject to the above, local Leagues may arrange games for players in accordance with the Little League Football Rule book, the F.A. Rules and Laws, and the Little League Football Concept.
  • Eligibility
  • The League Secretary is responsible for ensuring that trialists and players are eligible to participate in Little League Football.
  • The League Age of a player is determined by his/her age on 1st September at the start of a season.  For example, a player whose 11th birthday is during the year ending on the 31st  August  before the start of the season has a league age Under 12.    
  • Each trialist, if requested, must present formal proof of age before the player selection procedure takes place.  Should formal proof of age not be available, the League Secretary must satisfy the League Management Committee of the trialist’s age.
  • Any trialist failing to attend at least one half of the trials shall not be eligible for selection unless a reason is presented which is acceptable to the League Management Committee.
  • Players selected for a team shall remain with that team for the duration of their Little League Football career except when they are selected to join a team in a more senior league

2.3       Selection of Players

  • Trials
  • Trials for new players shall be held between the end of one season and the start of the next
  • No trialist will be permitted to participate without completing and returning to the League a Trials Application Form which will include signed permission by their parent or guardian.
  • The League shall submit to all Team Managers a list of trialists showing their trial number, name, League age, preferred and alternative position of each trialist, and also the relationship, if any, to other trialists, players or League Management Committee Members.
  • Before taking the field at each trial, trialists must report their attendance to the League.
  • The League will provide each eligible trialist with a numbered card to be attached to the back of the shirt at all trials as a means of identification.
  • Each trialist shall, wherever possible, play in competition with others having the same League age.   
  • Selection Procedure
  • The League Management Committee shall meet to determine which trialists are selected for which teams.
  • Each Team Manager shall draw one of six cards numbered 1 – 6.The Team Manager drawing No I shall have first selection of a player in any age group permitted in that squad.The Team Manager who drew No 2 shall then select and so on until all Team Managers have made their first selections.The procedure will then be reversed.The Team Manager who drew No 6 shall make his/her second selection from any age group. The Team Manager who drew No 5 shall make his/her selection and so on until all the Team Managers have made their second selection.The entire procedure shall be repeated until each Team Manager has selected his/her total requirements.
  • Unsuccessful trialists may, if they wish, be placed in a Reserve League or Pool.

2.4       Teams

  • Prior to the start of each season, the local League Management Committee shall decide/confirm the format of each section/league within its organisation, including the playing size (11-a-side or small sided squads), and the mix of ages and genders in those squads, as appropriate, subject to Rule 2.2 above.
  • To ensure an even balance between squads, the League Management Committee shall pre-determine the age group(s) in each squad subject to Rule 2.2 above.
  • Squad sizes for 11-a-side teams shall comprise not more than 14 players.
  • Squad sizes for small-sided teams shall comprise not more than 10 players.
  • Playing ability shall not be considered an acceptable reason for a replacement.  If a player leaves before the end of a season the League Management Committee shall consider whether a replacement player is justified.  If the League Management Committee agrees that a replacement player is necessary, the Team Manager may obtain a replacement player from the Reserve Pool or a section/league determined by the League Management Committee.  The replacement player must be eligible in terms of Rule 2.2.3 and if possible of the same League age as the player being replaced, and in accordance with Rule 2.2
  • To implement Rule 2.4 the League must establish and refer to a record of player attendance.  

2.5       Referees

  • Games shall be controlled by a Referee and two Assistant Referees.
  • Referees and Assistant Referees should be properly attired.

3           Safety, Pitch and Equipment

3.1        Safety

  • It is the responsibility of the League Management Committee to ensure that the pitch and equipment is in a safe condition at all times.

3.2     Playing Field (see also 4.1 )

  • It is recommended that the pitch shall be enclosed by a rope, or a drawn line located at least three yards from the touch and goal lines, beyond which spectators must not encroach.
  • Benches should be provided for Team Managers, Assistant Managers and substitute players of both teams.

3.3      Sportswear

  • Games must be played in the official sportswear which must be used for Little League Football matches only.
  • All sportswear is the property of the League and is to be loaned to the players for such period as the League Management Committee may determine.
  • A Little League Football badge/motif must be displayed on the breast of each shirt.
  • The colour of each team’s shirts, shorts and socks shall be determined by that League Management Committee.
  • Advertising on players clothing is permitted at the discretion of the League Management Committee provided that the requirements of the Decision of Council of the Football Association on advertising are complied with and approval is obtained from the National Executive Committee.
  • Shinguards, which must be covered entirely by the sock, are compulsory.

4        Conduct of Games

4.1    Laws of the Game

  • Football Association – Each game will be played according to the Laws of the Game, or the Mini-Soccer playing rules as stipulated by the Football Association except where otherwise stated in these Rules.
  • Variances 
  • The field of play, the goals, and the flagposts shall be as shown:    
pitchdim goalspec
  •  Goal nets must always be used.
  • A size 4 football must be used. A size 3 football is recommended for players aged Under 8.
  • Subject to any Football Association Rule, the minimum number of players that constitute a team shall be at the discretion of the League Management Committee.  Should a team field less than the minimum number of players, the game may be played as a friendly and replayed at a later date, or alternatively the game awarded to the other team, at the discretion of the League Management Committee.     
  • The duration of each 11-a-side game shall be two equal periods of 25 minutes. For small-sided games, refer to the Mini-Soccer Playing Rules.
  • All available players must play at least half a game, except a player who is injured during the game. 

4.2    Field Decorum 

  • The highest standard of conduct is expected of players, Team Managers, Referees and League management Committee Members at all times.
  • A Team Manager shall not leave the vicinity of the team bench during the game except to confer with the Referee regarding a substitution or if a player be injured.

5        Competitions

5.1    League Competition 

  • Fixture Schedule
  • The season shall be of two halves.  The first half of the season shall commence at a date determined by that League Management Committee and shall continue until each team has played each other team twice in the case of a six team League or three times in the case of a four team League. This procedure shall be repeated in the second half of the season.
  • Each League shall play a schedule of League fixtures which shall be determined by the League Management Committee.
  • No player shall be scheduled to play more than one competitive game on the same day
  • Determination of Championship
  • Team Cards may be completed and handed to the Referee before the start of each game for details of the game to be recorded.
  • In each match two points shall be awarded for a win and one point for a draw. Prior to the commencement of the competition, the League Management Committee shall resolve how the positions of teams shall be determined, if at the completion of any half season, two or more teams have an equal number of points. 
  • If different teams win each half of the season a play-off of either one or two legs shall take place to determine the League Champions, at the discretion of the League Management Committee.

5.2     School Activities

  • If a player is chosen to participate in a School activity on the same day as he/she would be playing Little League Football, priority will be given to the School activity. However, if chosen regularly for a school activity and, in the opinion of the Team Manager, is not available to Little League, then his/her Manager may have recourse to Rule 2.4.
  • Each League, excluding those that play their matches on Sundays, shall clear the availability of a player with his/her Headteacher.

5.3     Awards

  • Awards to individual players that reward their levels of skill or ability are not permitted.  Awards may be given where all players in a team have an equal opportunity to win, such as awards for endeavour or sportsmanship.
  • All players of the team winning the League Championship and other League competitions may be presented with a certificate, medal or trophy in recognition of their achievement.
  • Players should receive an official Leaver’s Certificate at the conclusion of their last season.

6         Special Games

6.1     Organisation

  • Leagues have the authority to arrange representative games which should, in general, be played to Little League Rules.
  • League games detailed in Rule 5.1 shall take precedence should there be a clash of fixtures.
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