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FA National League System Rules - Season 2015/16

List of Rules:
  1. Definitions
  2. Membership Requirements
  3. Membership - Annual Subscription
  4. Power of the Board
  5. Interests in More Than One Club
  6. Players
  7. Club Colours
  8. Playing of Matches
  9. Registered Intermediaries
  10. Financial Records
  11. Football Creditors
  12. Result/Report Forms
  13. Champion, Relegation
  14. Insolvency Provisions
  15. Match Officials
  16. Withdrawal of Clubs
  17. Protests, Appeals
  18. Misconduct of Clubs, Officers, Players
  19. Trophy
  20. Alterations to Rules
  21. Admission Charges
  22. Long Service
  23. Centenary Awards
  24. Playing Surfaces
  25. Insurance
  26. Medical Personnel
  27. Player Transfers Between Clubs
  28. Provision for Membership Form to be Signed By Each Club Each Playing Season
  29. Provision for Full and Associate Members
  30. Promotion Agreements
  31. General Meetings
  32. Management Board
  33. Competition Officers

34-38. Miscellaneous

Latest Rule Changes

1. DEFINITIONS
1.1 In these Rules:

“Affiliated Association” means an Association accorded the status of an affiliated Association under the Rules of The FA

“AGM” shall mean the annual general meeting held in accordance with the Articles of the Competition.

“Appointing Authority” means The FA or the Competition

“Articles” means the Articles of Association of the Company and reference to a number of following the word “Article” is a reference to an Article so numbered in the “Articles”

“Board” means a sum of money deposited with the Competition as part of the requirements of membership of the Competition

“Board Directive” means an order or instruction issued by the Board

“Bond” means the Board of Directors of the Company appointed in accordance with the Articles or, in the case of a Competition which is an unincorporated association, the management committee elected to manage the running of the Competition

“Club” means a Club for the time being in membership of the Company (including a Club which has had a transfer of membership approved under Rule 2.7 below)

“Control” means the power of a natural person, legal entity or any other body to exercise, or to be able to exercise or acquire, direct or indirect control over the policies, affairs and/or management of a Club, whether that power is constituted by rights or contracts (either separately or in combination) and having regard to the considerations of fact or law involved, and, without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing, Control shall be deemed to include:

(a) the power (whether directly or indirectly and by any means including without limitation by way of those that in the opinion of the Board are acting in concert) to appoint and/or remove all or such of the members of the board of directors of the Club as are able to cast a majority of the votes capable of being cast by the members of that board; and/or
(b) the holding and/or possession of the beneficial interest in, and/or the ability to exercise the voting rights applicable to, shares (or other equity securities) in the Club (whether directly, indirectly (by means of holding such interests in one or more other persons) or by contract including without limitation those that in the opinion of the Board are acting in concert) which confer in aggregate on the holder(s) thereof 30 per cent or more of the total voting rights exercisable at general meetings of the Club;

For the purposes of the above, any rights or powers of a nominee or of an associate (as defined in the Rules of The FA Challenge Cup) of a person shall be attributed to that person. “Criteria Document” means the document entitled “National Ground Grading Document” issued by The FA from time to time and shall, unless stated to the contrary, mean the latest edition of the document.

“Company” means the Toolstation Northern Counties East Football League which administers the Competition and shall, where the Competition is an unincorporated entity, include that entity

“Competition” means the Toolstation Northern Counties East Football League

“Competition Match” means any match played or to be played under the jurisdiction of the Company

“Competition Office” means the registered Offices or addresses where League business is transacted

“Competition Secretary” means such person or persons appointed or elected to carry out the administration of the Competition

“Contract Player” means any Player (other than a Player on a Scholarship) who is eligible to play under a written contract of employment with a Club

“Criteria Document” means the document entitled “National Ground Grading Document” issued by The FA from time to time and shall, unless stated to the contrary, mean the latest edition of the document

“CVA” shall mean an agreement reached by a Club under a Company Voluntary Arrangement (under the Insolvency Act 1986) or a Scheme of Arrangement (under the Companies Act 1985 or Companies Act 2006)

“Day” means any day on which the Competition Office is open for normal business but excluding, unless the Board determines otherwise, a Saturday, a Sunday or a Bank or Public Holiday

“Embargo” means a ban placed by the Board on a Club in respect of player registrations, as more fully defined in Appendix G

“Embargoed Club” means any Club subject to an Embargo

“Fees Tariff” means a list of fees approved by the Company at a general meeting to be levied by the Company for any matters for which fees are payable under the Rules

“FIFA Quality Concept” means the:

(a) FIFA Quality Concept Handbook of Requirements for Football Turf Surfaces (January 2012 Edition); and
(b) FIFA Quality Concept – Handbook of Test Methods for Football Turf (January 2012 Edition), and any amendment or modification thereof.

“FIFA Recommended One / IATS or Two Star Certificate” means the certificate of that name awarded by FIFA following compliance with the applicable requirements of the FIFA Quality Concept

“Fines Tariff” means a list of fines approved by the Company at a general meeting to be levied by the Company for any breach of the Rules

“Football Creditor" means any one of the following:

• The Football Association Limited
• Any Club affiliated with an Affiliated Association
• Any League sanctioned by The Association or an Affiliated Association
• Any full time or part time employee of a Club, or former full time or part time employee of a Club, in respect of sums due to such person by way of arrears of remuneration or expenses.  This excludes for these purposes all and any claims for redundancy, unfair or wrongful dismissal or other claims arising out of the termination of the contract or in respect of any period after the actual date of termination
• The Professional Footballers’ Association Limited
• The Football Foundation
• Any Affiliated Association
• Any pension scheme or plan administered by or on behalf of the Competition

“Football Turf (3G) Pitch (FTP)” means a field of play (as that term is defined in the Laws of the Game) that has, following installation and prior to the commencement of each subsequent Playing Season, been awarded a FIFA Recommended One Star / IATS (International Artificial Turf Standard) or Two Star Certificate and which otherwise conforms to the requirements of the Laws of the Game

“Grass Pitch” means a field of play (as that term is defined in the Laws of the Game) that is natural grass, predominantly natural grass or intended to be predominantly natural grass and which conforms to the requirements of the Laws of the Game

“Ground” means the ground on which the Club’s first team plays its Competition fixtures

“Insolvency Event” means any one of the following:

(a) entering into a Company Voluntary Arrangement pursuant to Part 1 of the Insolvency Act 1986 (“the 1986 Act”) or a compromise or arrangement with its creditors under Part 26 of the Companies Act 2006 or any compromise agreement with its creditors as a whole; or
(b) lodging a Notice of Intention to Appoint an Administrator or Notice of Appointment of an Administrator at the Court in accordance with paragraph 26 or paragraph 29 of Schedule B1 to the 1986 Act, an application to the Court for an Administration Order under paragraph 12 of Schedule B1 to the 1986 Act other than paragraph 12(1)(c) or where an Administrator is appointed or an Administration Order is made in respect of it (“‘Administrator” and “Administration Order” having the meanings attributed to them respectively by paragraphs 1 and 10 of Schedule B1 to the 1986 Act); or
(c) an Administrative Receiver (as defined by section 251 of the 1986 Act), a Law of Property Act Receiver (appointed under section 109 of the Law of Property Act 1925) or any Receiver appointed by the Court under the Supreme Court Act 1981 or any other Receiver is appointed over any assets which, in the opinion of the Board, are material to the Club’s ability to fulfil its obligations as a member of the League; or
(d) shareholders passing a resolution pursuant to section 84(1) of the 1986 Act to voluntarily wind up; or
(e) a meeting of creditors is convened pursuant to section 95 or section 98 of the 1986 Act; or
(f) a winding up order is made by the Court under section 122 of the 1986 Act or a provisional liquidator is appointed under section 135 of the 1986 Act; or
(g) ceasing or forming an intention to cease wholly or substantially to carry on business save for the purpose of reconstruction or amalgamation or otherwise in accordance with a scheme of proposals which have previously been submitted to and approved in writing by the Board; or
(h) being subject to any insolvency regime in any jurisdiction outside England and Wales which is analogous with the insolvency regimes detailed in (a) to (g) above; and/or
(i) have any proceeding or step taken or any court order in any jurisdiction made which has a substantially similar effect to any of the foregoing.

“Intermediary” means any natural or legal person who carries out or seeks to carry out Intermediary Activity and has registered with The Association in accordance with The FA Intermediaries Regulations

“Intermediary Activity” means acting in any way and at any time, either directly or indirectly, for or on behalf of a Player or a Club in relation to any matter relating to a Transaction. This includes, but is not limited to, entering into a Representation Contract with a Player or a Club. For the avoidance of doubt, a Club Official is not acting as an Intermediary when he carries out any Intermediary Activity in relation to any matter relating to a Transaction for or on behalf of that Club. Similarly, a Lawyer is not acting as an Intermediary when he solely and exclusively undertakes or provides Permitted Legal Advice in relation to any matter relating to a Transaction

“Long Term Loan” means a loan transfer in excess of 93 days of a Player who is a qualifying Player within the terms of the Rules

“Match Officials” means the referee, the assistant referees and any fourth official appointed to a Competition Match

“Membership Year” means the period in each calendar year from the holding of one annual general meeting of the Company to the holding of the next annual general meeting

“National League System” means the system of competitions controlled by the FA where promotion and relegation links exist between participating Leagues.

“Non Contract Player” means any Player (other than a Player on a Scholarship) who is eligible to play for a Club but has not entered into a written contract of employment

“Officer” means an individual who is required to make an Owners' and Directors' Declaration by The FA

“Owners’ and Directors’ Declaration” means a declaration to The FA required from an Officer from time to time

“Paid in Full” shall mean when a Club has either

• paid (in cleared funds) to the supervisor of its CVA or its administrator, sufficient funds to pay all its creditors in full (100p in the £) and to cover the costs of the CVA or the administration and confirmation of this fact has been received in writing from the supervisor/administrator; or
• paid (in cleared funds) sufficient to settle in full (100p in the £) any debts owed to creditors outside a CVA

“Pitch” means a Grass Pitch or Football Turf Pitch

“Pitch Test” means the test(s) conducted by a FIFA accredited field test institute or UKAS accredited test institute in accordance with the requirements of the FIFA Quality Concept or IATS

“Player” means any Contract Player, Non Contract Player or other Player who plays or who is eligible to play for a Club

“Players’ Agent” means a person who, for reward, represents, negotiates on behalf of, advises or otherwise acts for a Principal in the context of either the transfer of a Player’s registration, the terms of a contract between a Player and a Club or the terms of a contract between a manager and a Club

“Playing Season” means the period between the date on which the first league fixture in the Competition is played each year until the date on which the last league fixture in the Competition is played. For Clubs participating in play off matches this does include the period when play off matches are played

“Play Off Position” means the position of a Club in the table at the end of each Playing Season which is provided for in Rule 13 as qualifying the Club to take part in a play off match to qualify for promotion to the next step of football for the next Playing Season

“Principal” means a Club, a manager, an official of a Club, or a Player employing an Agent for one of the purposes set out in the definition of Agent above

“Rules” means these rules under which the Competition is administered

“Satisfied” shall mean that a creditor has consented, and provided evidence of such, to accept a sum in full and final settlement of its debt from a Club. For the avoidance of doubt, a vote to approve a Company Voluntary Arrangement (‘CVA’) by the creditors of a Club, held in accordance with Insolvency Law in operation from time to time, shall deem those debts admitted to the CVA as being Satisfied. The Board shall determine at its absolute discretion whether an amount is Satisfied under the Rules.

“Scholar” means a player aged sixteen or over who has signed a Scholarship with a Premier League or Football League Club or licensed Football Conference Club, and who has completed a registration form for Scholars in accordance with FA Rules and Regulations.

“Scholarship” means a Scholarship as set out in Rule C 3 (a) (i) of the Rules of the FA

“Secured” shall mean that one of the following legally recognised undertakings has been provided for the payment of the specified sum in full by the AGM at the end of the Playing Season in which the transfer of membership takes place:

(i) A solicitor’s undertaking for the full amount outstanding;
(ii) A bank guarantee is held for the full amount outstanding;

In each case to be paid and satisfied in full by no later than the AGM at the end of the Playing Season in which the transfer took place.

The Board shall determine at its absolute discretion whether an amount is Secured or Satisfied under the Rules.

“Short Term Loan” means a loan transfer for a period of no fewer than 28 days and no more than 93 days in any one season.

“Significant Interest” means the holding and/or possession of the legal or beneficial interest in, and/or the ability to exercise the voting rights applicable to, shares or other securities in the Club which confer in aggregate on the holder(s) thereof ten (10) per cent or more of the total voting rights exercisable in respect of the Shares of any class of Shares of the Club. All or part of any such interest may be held directly or indirectly or by contract including, but not limited to, by way of membership of any group that in the opinion of the Board are acting in concert, and any rights or powers held by an Associate (as defined in the Rules of The FA Challenge Cup) shall be included for the purposes of determining whether an interest or interests amounts to a “Significant Interest”

“SSAP” means a sporting sanctions appeal panel to be appointed to determine an appeal against a deduction of points under Rule 14

“Team Sheet” means a form provided by the Competition referred to in Rule 8.11.1

“The FA” means The Football Association Limited

“Transaction” means any negotiation or other related activity, including any communication relating or preparatory to the same, the intention or effect of which is to create, terminate or vary the terms of a player’s contract of employment with a Club, to facilitate or effect the registration of a player with a Club, or the transfer of the registration of a player from a club to a Club (whether on a temporary or permanent basis). A completed Transaction is one that has so achieved the creation, termination or variation of the terms of the player’s contract of employment with a Club, the registration of the player with a Club or the transfer of the registration from a club to a Club

“Work Experience Player” means a Player whose registration is held by a competition other than the Competition and is registered under a Scholarship. The Club taking the Player on work experience will register the Player Non Contract with a league in which they take part to fulfill the football element of the Scholarship, not the educational part 

“written” or “in writing” means the representation or reproduction of words or symbols or other information in a visible form by any method or combination of methods, whether sent or supplied in electronic form or otherwise


1.2 Words or expressions used in these Rules shall, if not inconsistent with the subject or context, bear the same meanings as in the Articles


1.3 All Clubs shall adhere to the Rules.  Every Club shall be deemed, as a member of the Company to have accepted the Rules and to have agreed to abide by the decisions of the Board in relation thereto, subject to the provisions of Rule 17


1.4 The Competition will be known as “The Toolstation Northern Counties East Football League” (or such other name as the Company may adopt).  The Clubs participating in the Competition must be members of the Company.  A Club which ceases to exist or which ceases to be entitled to play in the Competition for any reason whatsoever shall thereupon automatically cease to be a member of the Company


1.5 The administration of the Competition under these Rules will be carried out by the Company acting (save where otherwise specifically mentioned herein) through the Board in accordance with the Rules Regulations and Practices of The FA


1.6 The Company shall be part of the National League Structure established by The FA and shall sign such documents as are required from time to time to confirm such membership.

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