| League | Rules | National League System | Players
Rules | FA National League System Rules - Season 2019/20
List of Rules:
2. Membership Requirements
3. Membership - Annual Subscription
4. Power of the Board
5. Interests in More Than One Club
7. Club Colours
8. Playing of Matches
9. Registered Intermediaries
10. Financial Records
11. Football Creditors
12. Champion, Relegation
13. Insolvency Provisions
14. Match Officials
15. Withdrawal of Clubs
16. Protests, Appeals
17. Misconduct of Clubs, Officers, Players
19. Alterations to Rules
20. Admission Charges
21. Long Service
22. Centenary Awards
23. Playing Surfaces
25. Medical Personnel
26. Player Transfers Between Clubs
27. Provision for Membership Form to be Signed By Each Club Each Playing Season
28. Provision for Full and Associate Members
29. Promotion Agreements
30. General Meetings
31. Management Committee
32. Competition Officers
Latest Rule Changes
6. REGISTRATION OF PLAYERS
6.1 A QUALIFYING PLAYER REGISTRATION
The Football Association’s rules will apply in respect of all matters concerning players.
6.1.1 A Player is one who has:
(i) signed a registration form supplied by the Competition (such signature to be witnessed by a second person) and where:-
• the form has been completed and signed by an Officer of the Club;
• has been approved and registered by the Competition; and
• a registration number has been allotted; or
(ii) registered through WGS.
A Player will only be eligible to play in a match organised by the Competition if his registration form; transfer form, or loan transfer form, has been received by the Company, or the necessary information has been submitted via WGS, not less than four hours before the scheduled kick-off of the match in which the player is required to play and found to be in order, and so registered. It is the responsibility of all Clubs to ensure any player signing a registration form, or registering via WGS, has, where necessary, the required International Clearance Certificate and in the case of Contract Players, including those on loan, must have approval from The Football Association. Clubs are also responsible for all players being correctly registered before fielding any player. Failure to do so constitutes misconduct and the Club will be charged with fielding an ineligible player.
Where a Club opts to register a Player via WGS, the Club must access WGS in order to complete the registration process.
Registration forms will be made available to Clubs by the Competition and charged in accordance with the fees tariff. The status of a player must be clearly stated on the registration form. The registration form must be received at the Competition office within five days of having been signed by the Player.
The registration of a Player will be valid from the date of registration to the end of that Playing Season only or, if in the case of a Contract or Loan Player whose contract or loan expires before the end of the Playing Season, for the term of the said contract or loan.
6.1.2 A Player may only play under his correct status. Any change of a Player’s status during the currency of a registration must be notified to the Competition within five (5) days of the change of registration being affected.
In the event of a Player changing his status with the same Club either from Contract to Non-Contract or from Non-Contract to Contract then that Player must sign a new registration form, or submit the necessary information via WGS, and be re-registered. In default the Player re-registering will be ineligible to play in a match under the jurisdiction of the Competition and Rule 6.9 will be applied in such circumstances where a Club is found guilty of playing a Player who has changed status without re-registering.
A Player whose registration under Contract is cancelled by mutual consent and immediately re-registered by the same Club or a different Club on a non-contract basis shall not subsequently be registered as a Contract player with the Club for which his Contract was cancelled, within three months of the date of the cancellation except with the consent of the Board.
6.1.3 The Board shall have the power to make application to refuse or cancel the registration of any Player charged and found guilty of undesirable conduct subject to the right of Appeal to the FA or the relevant County Football Association. Undesirable conduct shall mean an incident of repeated conduct, which may deter a Participant from being involved in this Competition. Application should be made to the parent County of the Club the Player is registered with.
(Note:- action under this clause shall not be taken against a Player for misconduct until the matter has been dealt with by the appropriate Association, and then only in cases of the Player bringing the Competition into disrepute and will in any case be subject to an Appeal to the Football Association. For the purposes of this Rule, bringing the Competition into disrepute can only be considered where the Player has received in excess of 112 days suspension, or 10 matches in match based discipline, in a period of two years or less from the date of the first offence.)
6.1.4 The Board shall also have the power to place an Embargo on the registration, transfer or loan transfer of Players by any Club deemed to be in breach of these Rules. Where a Club has been subject to an Embargo that is ongoing (if applied by the Competition or another) then the Embargo shall continue to apply until the Club can demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Board that the circumstances that resulted in the Embargo no longer apply.
6.2 REGISTRATION PERIOD
6.2.1 After 5.00pm on the 31st March each Playing Season new registrations, new loans, and transfer of registrations will be declined or will be approved subject to such limitations and restrictions as the Board may determine and, if so determined, the Player shall only be eligible to play in the matches for which permission is granted by the Board.
6.3 PLAYER STATUS
The status of a player may be:-
• Contract Player
• Work Experience
• Short Term Loan
• Long Term Loan
• Youth Loan
6.4 REGISTRATIONS AND REGISTRATION PROCEDURES
6.4.1 A Player will only be eligible to play in a match organised by the Company under these Rules if the appropriate form(s) is (are) received by the Company (including by facsimile or electronically), or the necessary information has been submitted to WGS, at least four (4) hours before the scheduled kick-off time of such match. No Player whose registration, including Loan registrations, is received by the Company or submitted via WGS less than four (4) hours before the match organised by the Company in which he is required to play will be eligible. Any loan registration must also be approved by the Football Association before that Player can be considered eligible to play.
The registration of a Player by facsimile or electronic transmission or WGS is not automatically valid and it is the responsibility of the Club to ensure the player is NOT registered with any other Club. When the Player involved was previously registered with another Club it is necessary for that Club to complete the standard Competition transfer form or to have completed the standard Competition cancellation of registration form prior to or at the same as the registration to the new Club.
Where a Club opts to register a Player via WGS, but does not fully and correctly complete the necessary information, that registration will not be processed.
Where a registration form is sent to the Company by facsimile or electronically, e.g. email, the originating form must subsequently be received by the Company within five (5) Days of the sending of the facsimile or electronic transmission. In default of this Rule the player shall not be eligible to play in the Competition unless and until a valid registration form is received. The form when received must contain the same information as that received by facsimile or email. It is an offence to falsify a competition form.
Any Club found to have been in breach of any part of Rule 6.4.1 will be deemed to have played an ineligible player and will be dealt with in accordance with Rule 6.9.
6.4.2 Each Club must have at least sixteen (16) Players registered fourteen (14) days before the start of each Playing Season.
6.4.3 [This Rule does not apply to NCEL]
6.4.4 In the event of a Player signing registration forms for more than one Club, priority of registration shall decide for which Club he is entitled to play. The Club submitting the latter form shall be notified of the prior registration of the Player, and the circumstances under which the registration forms were signed shall be investigated by the Board. Any Player found to have signed registration forms for more than one Club, or any Club found to have knowingly induced a registered Player of another Club to sign a registration form, shall be dealt with by the Board in such a manner as it shall think fit.
6.4.5 Except where mutually agreed between the Clubs in writing, and specific approval has been given by the Board a Club cannot register more than one Contract or Non-Contract Player registered to another Club or club at any one time unless a period of 28 days has elapsed between the first and second notice of approach or acknowledgement.
6.4.6 If a non-contract Player also registers for a club not in membership of the Competition, his registration for the Competition may be retained by the Club.
6.4.7 A Club may register any number of Work Experience players.
6.4.8 A Club may name up to a maximum of five (5) players on a Team Sheet who are either Short Term Loan, Long Term, Youth Loan or Work Experience. Any Club in breach of this Rule which results in more than 5 of such players entering the field of play during the course of any one fixture will be deemed to have played an ineligible player(s) and will be dealt with in accordance with Rule 6.9.
6.4.9 The Company may, at its discretion, refuse any further registration of players, i.e. place under a registration embargo, any Club which has not completed payment of a transfer or loan arrangement made with another Club (or club) or arranged for the payment to be adequately secured. The Club (or club) which holds the Player’s Contract will continue to pay the Player in accordance with his Contract.
6.4.10 The Company at its discretion may approve at any time the registration of an additional goalkeeper on a short-term basis if none of the Clubs’ registered goalkeepers are available ahead of a Competition Match.
6.5.1 The transfer of a registration of a Player under written Contract from one Club to another must be in writing, on the Competition transfer form, signed by the Contract Player and the two Clubs, and the form must be forwarded to the Company for approval and registration.
The transfer form must also be sent to The FA with a completed transfer agreement, contract and registration form for approval and registration.
Such Contract Player does not become a registered Player of the Club seeking his transfer until the form has been approved and registered by The FA and the Competition.
Where a Club cancels the registration of a Contract Player, for any reason whatsoever, the Club must notify the Competition Secretary and The FA immediately, in writing or on the relevant Competition/FA form. To be valid such notification must be signed by an authorised signatory of that Club and the Player.
Where a Club cancels the registration of a Non-Contract Player for any reason whatsoever, the Club must notify the Competition Secretary immediately, in writing or on the relevant Competition form. To be valid, such notification must be signed by an authorised signatory of the Club.
Where the registration of a Contract Player has been terminated by either the Club or the Player, this must be in accordance with the provisions set out under FA Rule C1(I) and the terms of the contract..
6.5.2 The transfer of a registration of a Non-Contract Player from one Club to another must be in writing, on the Competition transfer form, signed by the Non-Contract Player and the two Clubs, and the form must be forwarded to the Company for approval and registration. Such Non-Contract Player does not become a bona-fide Player of the Club seeking his transfer until the form has been approved and registered by the Competition. A Non-Contract Player whose registration for a Club is cancelled or transferred for any reason whatsoever cannot, without the consent of the Board, return to his original Club until a minimum of fourteen (14) days has elapsed from the date of the cancellation or transfer.
6.5.3 A Club cannot register the transfer of a Contract Player or Non-Contract Player unless that Player has been registered with the transferor Club for at least 14 days, unless that Player is a goalkeeper.
6.5.4 A Club shall submit to the Board any contract it proposes to enter into which gives the Club or any other party to the proposed contract any rights relating to the transfer of the registration of a Player at a date in the future from or to the Club or any rights relating to the employment for the Player by the Club.
Any such proposed contract shall be subject to the approval of the Board.
6.6 TEMPORARY TRANSFERS (LOANS)
6.6.1 Where the Rules of the relevant League permit, Short Term Loans, Youth Loans and Long Term Loans of Contract players shall be allowed to or from Clubs in membership of:-
• The Premier League
• The Football League
• The National League
• The Isthmian Football League
• The Northern Premier League
• The Southern Football League
• Any other Leagues which have been authorised by the FA
on such terms and conditions as shall be mutually agreed by the two clubs and the player. For Loan Transfers between Clubs in the same Competition the transfer must be completed on the National League System Temporary Transfer Form. For Loan Transfers between Clubs in different Competitions the transfer must be completed on FA Form H3 together with a registration form applicable for the Competition of the transferee club.
The player being taken on loan, including Youth Loan, must sign a Competition contract registration form which will be valid for the full period of the loan, including any extension to the loan period.
If the original Loan agreement contains a pre-agreed recall clause, a Player may be recalled by the loaning Club submitting written confirmation to the borrowing Club, the Competition and The FA.
Where no pre-agreed recall clause exists, the cancellation must be agreed between the loaning Club, the borrowing Club and the Player. The loaning Club must submit written confirmation to the borrowing Club, the Competition and The FA.
The Competition’s standard cancellation form must be used to prematurely end the Temporary Transfer period. The temporary registration for the borrowing Club will automatically be deemed to be cancelled upon maturity of the temporary transfer period.
Where a Short Term Loan, or Youth Loan expires, and is not renewed simultaneously, any subsequent Short Term Loan, or Youth Loan of that Player to the same Club will be subject to a minimum duration of 28 days.
No more than four (4) Players (Short Term, Long Term or Youth) may join one Club from another Club (or club) in any Playing Season. An additional Youth Loan Player may be added to this figure.
Where a Short Term Loan, Youth Loan or Long Term Loan (or period of Work Experience) expires on or after the last match of the season and the Club finishes in a Play-Off Position, and both Clubs agree, the Loans shall be extend to include the Club’s remaining Play-Off Matches. Any such extension is not subject to any time limits that would otherwise apply, and must be agreed in writing by the player’s parent Club and be registered with the Competition and the Association in accordance with these Rules.
6.6.2 Short Term Loan Transfers – A Club can have up to a maximum of twelve (12) Short Term Loans during a Playing Season. The minimum period of a Short Term Loan transfer must be twenty-eight (28) days with a maximum period to the end of the Playing Season.
The Competition shall not approve more than two (2) Short Term Loan transfers to or from any one Club, including Premier League and Football League Clubs, at any one time.
On completing the National League System Temporary Transfer Form or FA form H3, a Club must send the original to the FA, one copy to the Company, and a third copy to the secretary of the League with which the player is registered.
To extend the period of any Short Term Loan transfer a further National League System Temporary Transfer Form or FA form H3 must be completed and copies sent as directed above. If the Short Term Loan transfer is extended only the Club for whom the Player was originally registered will be allowed to cancel the agreement at any time within the extension period, i.e. after 28 days. In the case of a goalkeeper Clubs may mutually agree, if they so wish, to include a recall clause in the agreement to enable the Club for who the Player was originally registered to recall the Player at any time during the loan period. Players other than goalkeepers may not be recalled within the first month, i.e. 28 days, of any loan.
Any Short Term Loan transfer which may terminate after the last day for registrations may be extended for a further period provided the loan period does not extend beyond the current Playing Season.
Short Terms Loan Transfers which become permanent before their expiry date shall not count against a Club’s quota of days or Players.
6.6.3 Long Term Loan Transfers – Clubs may have up to a maximum of six (6) Long Term Loan Transfers of any age during a Playing Season.
Long Term Loan Transfers shall be for a full Playing Season; or from any date prior to 31st August to any date between 1st and 31st January; or from any date between 1st and 31st January (the January transfer window) to the end of the Playing Season.
A Player on Long Term Loan may be recalled on any date from the beginning of the Loan until 31 August and between 1 and 31 January (inclusive), except for a goalkeeper or where the Player is to be transferred permanently by the Club (or club) holding his registered contract in each case, subject to the agreement of the loaning Club, the borrowing Club and the Player which may be pre-agreed in a recall clause in the original Loan agreement.
To extend the period of any long term loan transfer a further National League System Temporary Transfer Form or FA form H3 must be completed and copies sent as directed above.
The Competition shall not approve more than two (2) Long Term Loan transfers to or from any one club, including Premier League and Football League Clubs, at any one time.
6.6.4 Youth Loan Transfers – Youth Loan Transfers apply to:-
• Scholars in their second or third (if that option is exercised) year of their Scholarship agreement, or
• Contract Players aged 20 or under on 1 July immediately preceding the Playing Season in question.
Unlimited Youth Loan Transfers shall be allowed to or from Clubs in membership of the Competitions at Steps 1-4 of the National League System.
Clubs playing in Competitions at Steps 1 to 4 of the National League System may register players on a Youth Loan from clubs in the EFL.
Clubs playing in Competitions at Steps 5 and 6 of the National League System may register players on a Youth Loan.
At Steps 1 to 6 of the National League System, Youth Loans are permitted at any time during the Registration Period.
It shall be a condition of any Youth Loan involving a Scholar or a Contract Player to whom Football League Youth Rules apply that for the duration of the period of the Youth Loan the Player continues to fully comply with the programme of education in place for that Player.
A Player registered on a Youth Loan may, provided it is agreed between the two clubs and the Player, continue to train with and/or play for his loaning Club (or club) in any match other than matches played as part of the Premier League Competition, Football League Competition, Football League Cup, FA Cup or Football League Trophy (i.e. First Team matches.) Participation by the Player in First Team matches for the borrowing Club shall take precedence.
Any days on which the Player participates in a Reserve Team match and/or attends any training sessions for the loaning Club (or club) shall still count towards the period of the Youth Loan.
The minimum period of a Youth Loan shall be 28 days, thereafter a break clause may be included. Youth Loans cannot extend beyond the date of the Player’s 21st birthday and/or the contract period with the parent club.
6.7 CLUB LIST OF PLAYERS AND TRANSFER LIST
Clubs shall furnish the Competition Secretary by 1st June with the following details:
6.7.1 a list of Contract Players whose agreements do not terminate at the end of the current season;
6.7.2 a list of contract Players in respect of whom the Club has exercised its option in accordance with Football Association Rule C1 (j);
6.7.3 a list of Contract Players in respect of whom the existing agreements do not include an option to renew but which the Club is desirous of offering further engagements, in accordance with Football Association Rule C1 (j);
6.74 a list of Contract Players in respect of whom the Club has exercised its option in accordance with Football Association Rule C1 (j) but whose registration the Club is prepared to transfer;
6.7.5 a list of Contract Players the Club has released;
6.7.6 a list of all Players whose registration the Club wishes to be cancelled;
Clubs shall also complete the standard Competition forms and return these by this date.
A Club relegated from the Football League Limited shall advise the Competition Secretary by 30th June the names of Players retained by that Club for the season, taking into consideration the contents of Football League Rule 53.
6.8 SUBSTITUTE PLAYERS
A Club at its discretion may use three substitute Players at any time in a match. Substitution can only be made when play is stopped for any reason and the Referee has given permission. When a Club is making a substitution it shall use a Board to show the number of the Player to be substituted and the number of the substitute Player. The substitution board used shall be branded as determined by the Competition.
A maximum of FIVE SUBSTITUTES may be nominated and they must be included on the official Team Sheet handed to the Referee before the match in accordance with Rule 8.20. A substitute may not be used to replace a Player who has been suspended from the match by the Match Officials.
If a Player does not take part in the match for which he is a nominated substitute he shall be deemed as not having played for the Club in that match.
6.9 PLAYING AN INELIGIBLE PLAYER
Any Club found to have played an ineligible Player in a match or matches shall have any points gained from that match or matches deducted from its record, up to a maximum of 12 points, and have levied upon it a fine. The Board may also order that such match or matches be replayed on such terms as are decided by the Board which may also levy penalty points against the Club in default.
The Board may vary its decision in respect of the points gained in circumstances where;
(a) the ineligibility is due to the failure to obtain an International Transfer Certificate or
(b) where the ineligibility is related to a change in the Player’s status with the Club for whom he is registered or
(c) where the Board determined that exceptional circumstances exist
6.10 FINANCIAL ARRANGEMENTS
6.10.1 Subject to clauses 6.10.2 to 6.10.7 and to the Rules and Regulations of The FA, a Club may negotiate a financial arrangement with its Players.
6.10.2 All Players under a written contract must be registered with the Competition and The FA.
6.10.3 All payments and benefits due and/or made to the Player must be shown in the contract.
6.10.4 All payments made to Players must be made by the Club and fully recorded in the accounting records of the Club.
6.10.5 All salaried payments (whether to Contract or Non-Contract Players) must be subject to PAYE and National Insurance.
6.10.6 All salary payments due on written Contracts must be stated gross, before PAYE and National Insurance deductions.
6.10.7 Any Players paid expenses should be reimbursed via an expense claim form. The club should retain all expense records in a format acceptable to the HM Revenue and Customs.