Print this page

Rules related to players of school age

FA RULE C. RELATING TO PLAYERS
4. Age Ranges and Provisions Relating to Players Under 16 Years of Age
  1. Children not registered in the Programme for Excellence
    The following provisions apply to children not registered in the programme for
    excellence.

    Children Under 6 Years Old
    (i) A child who has not attained nor will have attained the age of 6 as at
    midnight on 31 August in a playing season shall not play, and shall not be
    permitted or encouraged to play, in a match of any kind in that playing
    season.

    Children permitted to play Small Side Football only
    (ii) A child who has not attained nor will have attained the age of 9 as at
    midnight on 31 August in a playing season shall not play, and shall not be
    permitted or encouraged to play, in a match between sides of more than
    seven players in that playing season. Such children shall only play in a
    match played according to the “Laws of the Game - Small Side Football”
    as amended for particular age ranges by the Council from time to time.
    (iii) A child who has attained the age of 9 but who has not attained nor will
    have attained the age of 10 as at midnight on 31 August in a playing
    season shall not play, and shall not be permitted or encouraged to play, in
    a match between sides of more than seven players in that playing season.
    Such persons shall only play in a match played according to the “Laws of
    the Game - Small Side Football” as amended for this age range by the
    Council from time to time.
    This clause shall come into effect on 1st September 1999.

    Children permitted to play Eleven-a-Side and Nine-a-Side
    (iv) Any child may play in a match between sides of eleven players according
    to the Laws of the Game or between sides of nine players according the
    “Laws of the Game - 9 v 9”, save for those specifically prohibited from
    doing so pursuant to this Rule.

    Sanction Provisions
    (v) The consent of The Association or of the relevant affiliated Association or
    Associations shall be required pursuant to Rules B1 and/or 7 as
    appropriate for any Competition involving children who have not attained
    nor will have attained the age of 14 as at midnight on 31 August in that
    playing season. Such Competitions (whether for Mini-Soccer, nine-a-side
    or eleven-a-side matches) shall only be allowed where participants are
    restricted by age range, such age ranges being “Under 7”, “Under 8”,
    “Under 9”, “Under 10”, “Under II”, “Under 12”, “Under 13” and “Under
    14”. The age ranges shall be defined to include all children (subject to
    clause (i) above) who have not attained nor will have attained the ages of
    7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 or 14 respectively as at midnight of 31 August in
    the relevant playing season.

    Where the age ranges and their respective definitions do not apply on a
    compulsory basis pursuant to this Rule, a Competition, where age ranges
    are used, shall be allowed only where such age ranges are defined by
    reference to either midnight on 31st July or to midnight on 31st August in
    the relevant playing season.

    (vi) Age Brackets
    (A) To play in an open age competition a player must have achieved the age
    of 16 (to come into effect from the 2007-2008 season).

    Gender of players in Under 11 matches
    (vii) A child in the age ranges Under 7, Under 8, Under 9, Under 10 and
    Under 11 may play in a match involving boys and girls.

    Priority for School Activities
    (viii) Priority must at all times be given to school or school organisations’
    activities in accordance with the recommendations of the “Memorandum:
    Children of School Age and School Games”, whilst a pupil is receiving
    full-time education in accordance with the Education Acts.
    (ix) All Clubs and Competitions, excluding those whose matches are played
    on Sundays, shall include in their rules a provision to the effect that the
    availability of a pupil must be consented to by the Head Teacher.

  2. PLAYERS OF SCHOOL AGE REGISTERED IN THE PROGRAMME FOR EXCELLENCE
    (i) Players who reach the age of nine (9) years during the academic year and
    who are in full-time education may register with a recognised and
    licensed Centre of Excellence through the procedures established by The
    Association and set out in the regulations.
    (ii) It shall be a breach of the Rule for a Centre without a valid license to
    coach and train players of school age who are in full-time education, and
    registered through the registration scheme or for a licensed Centre of
    Excellence to play against any Centre which is not licensed apart from a
    school. The licensing authority for Centres of Excellence shall comprise
    representatives as determined by The Association and which shall lay
    down regulations and guidelines by which the Programme for Excellence
    is run.
    (iii) It shall be deemed to be misconduct for any Club or Club Official to
    induce any player of school age registered with a separate Club or Centre
    of Excellence to leave school for the purpose of signing a contract of
    employment.”