GHFA By-Laws

8. COMPETITIVE FOOTBALL FORMAT

This By Law defines how competitive football is structured and conducted for each season. It is intended that Clubs ensure matches can proceed even when registered members of a team may not be available by allowing players of an appropriate standard from other teams within the Club to play in the match.

8.1. GENERAL PROVISIONS

8.1.1. The Association competitions will receive precedence during the season over Club organised events.

8.1.2. All matches of competition football shall be conducted under the FIFA Laws of the Game, except where specifically varied in the By Laws.

8.1.3. All teams competing in competitive football are expected to play in the Championship or Pennant Competitions (where Pennant Competition is part of the specific competition structure). Any team which does not complete their responsibility in this regard shall be liable to a forfeit fine as specified in By Law 13 per game forfeited.

8.1.4. The Premiership Competition shall be suspended on the Easter Weekend.

8.1.5 Where ANZAC Day falls on a Saturday the Premiership Competition shall be suspended, except Premier League and Super League shall take place

8.1.6. In Premiership, Championship and Pennant Competitions, competition points shall be accumulative and allotted as follows:-

                Win  3 points
  Draw 1 point
  Loss 0 points
  Bye 3 points, with result being given as three (3) goals to nil (0)
  Win by forfeit 3 points, with result being given as three (3) goals to nil (0)
  Loss by forfeit 0 points, with result being given as nil (0) goals to three (3)

8.1.6.1 In the U12-U16 age groups, scores will be recorded in the competition table as a maximum 8 goal difference.

8.1.7. At the completion of the Premiership, Championship or Pennant competitions, should there be two or more teams equal on points their competition table position shall be decided by

8.1.7.1. Greater goal difference (i.e. goals against subtracted from goals for).

8.1.7.2. If goal difference is the same, then the greater number of wins,

8.1.7.3. If goal difference and number of wins is the same, the team with the greatest number of goals scored for.

8.1.8. At the completion of the Premiership Competition, the team finishing in first position in the competition table after the application of By Law 8.1.7 shall be declared Premiers.

8.1.9. After the completion of the Premiership Competition, the top four teams in each competition table shall play in the Championship Competition and the remaining teams shall play in the Pennant Competition (where such Pennant Competition is played).

8.1.10. Premiership Competition games washed out by rain or unplayable due to ground unavailability shall be replayed at the discretion of the Competitions Director. No application for deferred games shall be considered.

8.1.11. In Championship and Pennant Competitions, except for Premier League and Super League Championship Competition, in the event of any Round being washed out, that Round will be rescheduled prior to any subsequent round, until the washed-out Round is played or until the remainder of the Round Robin is cancelled.

8.1.12. The Championship and Pennant Competitions are to be played at the discretion of the Competitions Director if the Premiership competition is affected by wet weather.

8.1.13 The size of the matchball in the various grades shall be:

                   Under 12 to Under 13 Size 4
  Under 14 to All Age Size 5
  Over 35 and Over 45 Size 5
  Premier & Super League Size 5

8.1.14. The duration of matches in the various grades shall be 2 equal periods of -

                   Under 12 25 minutes
  Under 13 to Under 14 30 minutes
  Under 15 to Under 16 35 minutes
  Under 17 to All Age 45 minutes
  Over 35 and Over 45 45 minutes
  Premier & Super League 45 minutes

 separated by a five (5) minute half time break.

8.1.15. Except where specifically varied in these By Laws, no addition is to be made to the duration of either half of the game in the event of time being lost due to injury or any other occurrence that causes play to be suspended.

8.1.16. If the commencement of a match for grades up to and including Under 17 is delayed, a shorter period of time must be played in equal halves. For grades Under 18 and up, the correct match duration should be preserved where reasonably possible, avoiding encroachment into subsequent match times. However, for 1.00pm games, no shortened times will be played unless the game commences half an hour or more late.

8.1.17. Players taking the field of play in any game must have shirts with unduplicated numbers within their team, including any upgraded players. Shirt numbers for all players in each team shall correspond to the number appearing on the team sheet for that player.

8.2. COMPETITION STRUCTURE (EXCLUDING PREMIER LEAGUE & SUPER LEAGUE)

8.2.1. All competitive football shall consist of a Premiership Competition and Championship/Pennant Competitions, subject to By Law 8.1.12.

8.2.2. For grade Under 12, corner kicks are to be taken 7 metres out from the penalty area.

8.2.3. For grades Under 12 and Under 13, at the taking of a goal kick, the attacking team shall remain at least 25m from the defending team's goal line until: the goal kick is taken and is touched by a second player of the defending team; the ball travels beyond the 25m line; play is stopped for any other breach of the rules; or the ball goes out-of-play.

8.2.3.1. If an attacking player encroaches within the 25m boundary in breach of the conditions of Clause 8.2.3 then play shall be stopped and the goal kick retaken.

8.2.3.2. If an attacking team player repeatedly encroaches as per By-Law 8.2.3.1, that player shall be cautioned by the referee.

8.2.4. Premiership Competition:

8.2.4.1. Eight (8) team competitions to form the basis of all competitions except at the discretion of the Grading Committee.

8.2.4.2. 10 Team Competitions: Will play fourteen (14) rounds to be drawn at the beginning of the season, playing each opponent at least once.

8.2.4.3. 8 Team Competitions: Will play fourteen (14) rounds, playing each opponent twice.

8.2.4.4. 6 Team Competitions: Will play fifteen (15) rounds, playing each opponent three times. The fifteen (15) rounds will be drawn in calendar order through the year, including any additional round scheduled on a date determined by the Competitions Director.

8.2.5. Championship Competition

8.2.5.1. The Championship competition shall be a Round Robin structured as follows:

                            1st Round   2nd Round 3rd Round
   1 v 4  1 v 3 1 v 2
   2 v 3  2 v 4 3 v 4

8.2.5.2. Championship Finalists shall be the teams finishing first and second on the Championship competition table as per By Law 8.1.7. Where teams are equal on points, goal difference, number of wins and goal scored at the conclusion of the Championship Competition the Championship Finalists shall be decided by:-

8.2.5.2.1. Position on the Premiership table.

8.2.5.2.2. If still equal, at the discretion of the Competitions Director.

8.2.5.3. In Championship Finals for grades Under 17 and lower, where two teams are drawn at full time, ten (10) minutes extra time each way shall be played, except for matches played in 25 minute halves where the extra time shall be five (5) minutes each way. During that extra time, the first team to score will be declared the winner. If no score is recorded during the extra time, the teams shall be declared Joint Champions.

8.2.5.4. In Championship Finals for grades Under 18 and higher and Over Age grades, where two teams are drawn at full time, the winner shall be decided by a penalty shootout.

8.2.6. Pennant Competition:

8.2.6.1. 10 Team Competitions: Round Robin competition as follows:-

                           1st Round  2nd Round   3rd Round
   5 v 10  5 v 9  5 v 8
   6 v 9  6 v 8  6 v 10
   7 v 8  7 v 10  7 v 9

8.2.6.2. 8 Team Competitions: Round Robin competition as follows:-

                           1st Round  2nd Round   3rd Round
  5 v 8 5 v 7 5 v 6
  6 v 7 6 v 8 7 v 8

8.2.6.3. 6 Team Competitions: Round Robin competition as follows:-

The 2 teams will play for the pennant. If possible the Competitions Director will organise a special competition with other six (6) team competitions in the same grade, or other similar standard grade/divisions.

8.2.6.4. In the event that the Round Robin is reduced to only one (1) round, the games will be played as friendly games but no Pennant shall be awarded.

8.3. COMPETITION STRUCTURE FOR PREMIER LEAGUE & SUPER LEAGUE

8.3.1. There will be a Premier League and Super League competition both comprising of First Grade and Reserve Grade teams.

8.3.2. Premier League and Super League competition shall consist of a Premiership Competition and Championship Competition.

8.3.3. Premiership Competition:

8.3.3.1. Ten (10) team competitions to form the basis of Premier League and Super League competitions, except for Super League which may be an eight (8) team competition if there are insufficient nominations received by the due date in By Law 2.4.2.

8.3.3.2. 10 Team Competitions: Will play eighteen (18) rounds, playing each opponent twice.

8.3.3.3. 8 Team Competitions: Will play fourteen (14) rounds, playing each opponent twice.

8.3.3.4  Stoppage time will be played in all Premier League First Grade and Super League First Grade Premiership games.

8.3.4. Championship Competition

8.3.4.1. The Championship competition shall be a finals series competition structured as follows (for both First Grade and Reserve Grade):

              Semi-Final 1: 1 v 2 
  Semi-Final 2: 3 v 4
  Final: Loser Semi-Final 1 v Winner Semi-Final 2
  Championship Final: Winner Semi-Final 1 v Winner Final

8.3.4.2. If rain causes the Championship Competition to be reduced the Competitions Director will decide how this series will proceed depending on time available.

8.3.4.3. If in any game of the Championship Competition the score at the end of full time is drawn then ten (10) minutes each way will be played. If at the end of extra time the score is still drawn then a penalty shoot-out will occur.

8.3.4.4. Stoppage time will be played in all Premier League and Super League Championship games.

8.3.5. Premier League and Super League players may be freely transferred between first grade and reserve grade, except for the final five (5) games of the Premiership Competition

8.3.5.1. For the final five (5) games of the Premiership Competition, those players who play in first grade three (3) of the final five (5) games will be ineligible to play in reserve grade for the balance of the Premiership and Championship Competitions.

8.3.5.1.1. Any breach of By Law 8.3.5.1 will result in a forfeit by the Reserve Grade team, and subject to fines as per By Law 13

8.3.5.2. A player is deemed to have taken the field and played in a match if the player is listed on the team sheet, in accordance with By Law 8.8.

8.3.5.3. A player that is ineligible to play in reserve grade under By Law 8.3.5.1, is permitted to play as goalkeeper in any subsequent reserve grade game/s, but that player is not permitted to play in any position other than goalkeeper in the reserve grade game/s.

8.3.5.4. Goalkeepers must be marked as "GK" on the team sheet.

8.3.6. The team finishing last in the Premier League First Grade premiership to be relegated to Super League. The team finishing first in the Super League First Grade Premiership to be promoted to Premier League and the team finishing last in Super League First Grade to be relegated to the All Age competition.

8.3.7. In the event of a Club being unable to provide sufficient players to take the field in both the reserve and first grade games and therefore wishing to forfeit one game, the Club can only forfeit the reserve grade game.

8.3.7.1 Should a Premier League or Super League squad forfeit 2 or more games in a season due to insufficient available players, the Club must present a case to the MC for their inclusion in the Premier League or Super League Competitions for the following season. The MC will then determine if the said Club be relegated to the All Age Competition for the following season.

8.3.8. No Club shall be represented by more than one team in the Premier League and Super League competitions.

8.4. SUBSTITUTION & INTERCHANGE

8.4.1. "Interchange/Substitution zone" will be an area one metre either side of the half-way line.

8.4.2. An interchange/substitution is one which is made when the ball is out of play and for which the following conditions shall be observed –

8.4.2.1. The referee must be informed before any proposed interchange/substitution is made.

8.4.2.2. The player leaving the field shall do so from the touch line crossing over at the sector called the interchange/substitution zone.

8.4.2.3. The player entering the field shall do so from the interchange/substitution zone but not until the player leaving the field has passed completely over the touch line.

8.4.2.4. A player nominated for interchange or substitution shall be subject to the authority and jurisdiction of the referee whether called upon to play or not.

8.4.2.5. The interchange/substitution is completed when the player who was off the field, enters the field.

8.4.2.6. For games where interchange applies, the number of interchanges made during the match is unlimited and can be made at any time during the match, subject to the authority and jurisdiction of the referee. A player who has been replaced may return to the field for another player.

8.4.2.7. For games where substitution applies, substitutions can be made at any time during the match, subject to the authority and jurisdiction of the referee. Once a player has been substituted he/she may not retake the field.

8.4.2.8. If during an interchange or substitution, an interchange/substitution player enters the field before the replaced player has completely left the field, the referee shall ensure the replaced player leaves the field, caution the interchange/substitution player and then restart the game.

8.4.2.9. If during an interchange/substitution, an interchange/substitution player enters the field or a replaced player leaves it from a place other than the interchange/substitution zone, the referee shall caution the offending player.

8.4.3. In "Over Age" grades unlimited player interchange is permissible at any time during the game. No more than eighteen (18) players may participate in any match for any one team. More than eighteen (18) names appearing on a team sheet will constitute a fine against that team as per By-Law 13. Where the opposition Manager believes that a team has actually played more than eighteen (18) players, he shall inform the Referee who shall note this on the team sheet. The team playing more than eighteen (18) players may be subject to a forfeit at the discretion of the GPT.

8.4.4. In grades Under 12 to All Age, unlimited player interchange is permissible at any time during the game. No more than sixteen (16) players may participate in any match for any one team. More than sixteen (16) names appearing on a team sheet will constitute fine against that team as per By-law 13. Where the opposition Manager believes that a team has actually played more than sixteen (16) players, he shall inform the Referee who shall note this on the team sheet. The team playing more than sixteen (16) players may be subject to a forfeit at the discretion of the GPT.

8.4.5. In Premier League Reserve Grade and Super League Reserve Grade, unlimited player interchange is permissible at any time during the game. No more than sixteen (16) players may participate in any match for any one team. More than sixteen (16) names appearing on a team sheet will constitute a forfeit against that team.

8.4.6. In Premier League First Grade and Super League First Grade, player substitution is permissible at any time during the game. No more than sixteen (16) players may participate in any match for any one team.

8.5. PLAYER IDENTITY CARDS:

8.5.1. All competitions are played under the Photo ID system.

8.5.2. Only current year Photo IDs issued by the Association are permitted to be used.

8.5.3. Each team manager shall present the Photo IDs for every mentioned player on the team sheet to the opposition manager for checking prior to the commencement of the game. The opposition manager has the right to sight any or all of the players for verification against the Photo ID photograph. If the opposition manager contests the identity of a player, the manager should note on the back of the teamsheet that they contest the identity of the player, noting the name and ID of the player from the teamsheet.

8.5.3.1. If Photo IDs are not available for inspection prior to the start of the match, the game shall be forfeited by the offending team. The opposition manager must advise the referee of the situation and at that time the referee shall write on the team sheet that the Photo IDs were not produced making sure he/she signs the notation. The teams may then play a friendly game.

8.5.4. No protests will be accepted regarding player eligibility and identity if Photo IDs are not checked prior to the start of the game.

8.5.5. Should a Photo ID not be available for an individual player, then said player shall not be eligible to take the field in any game.

8.5.6. Photo IDs for players, substitutes and interchange players that arrive after the opposition manager has sighted the team Photo ID, must be produced to the opposing manager before the player, substitute/interchange player takes the field of play, provided that the team's Photo IDs were checked prior to the commencement of the game.

8.5.7. A manager has the right, at any time during the game, to request from the opposition manager the Photo IDs for that particular team if he/she has any doubt about the eligibility of any player on the field, provided that the Photo IDs were checked prior to the commencement of the game.

8.5.8. Photo IDs may be inspected by any Director of the Association at any time during the game.

8.6. PLAYING OUT OF GRADE

8.6.1. A player may play for his/her Club in a higher grade or in the same grade and higher division than the one which he/she was originally registered provided that-

8.6.1.1 No more than five (5) players that are registered to play in the FNSW Regional Conference in any age group, may play in any single match.

8.6.1.1.1 Any team proved to have breached By-Law 8.6.1.1 shall forfeit that match as per Clause 8.7.5. For the purpose of this Clause, any player who’s name appears on the teamsheet, and not suitably deleted as per Clause 8.8.6.1 or 8.8.6.2, shall be deemed to have participated in the match.

8.6.1.2. Upon playing up a sixth game in a higher grade/division, a player shall continue to play in the higher grade/division he/she played in on the sixth occasion and shall not be permitted to revert to any lower grade/division.

8.6.1.2.1 Where a player that is registered to play in the FNSW Regional Conference is required to register in a higher grade/division as per Clause 8.6.1.2, the Club shall register that player in a higher grade/division than he/she played on the sixth occasion, or register other players that are registered to play in the FNSW Regional Conference in a higher grade/division, such that there is no breach of Clause 2.3.1.

8.6.1.3. Except for Premier League and Super League, a limit of five (5) players shall be allowed to play up in a match for the same team per round as conducted by this Association.

8.6.2. Any player playing out of grade in a higher grade or the same grade in a higher division than his/her registered team, must have his/her name, ID number, and registered grade and division noted in the appropriate place on the team sheet

8.6.3. It is the responsibility of all Clubs to keep a record of all players playing out of grade. The Club must then notify the Association in writing when a player has played his/her 6th game out of his/her original grade/division and also the grade/division in which the player played his/her sixth game. The Association will then issue a new Photo ID for that player.

8.6.3.1. To facilitate the administration of this provision, the Association shall notify a Club in writing whenever the Association becomes aware that one of the Club's players has played in a higher grade/division four (4) times out-of-grade in the season.

8.6.4. During Championship/Pennant matches, a player in Under 11 to Under 17 grades may only play out of grade in a division higher than or equal to their own registered team's division if playing in the next higher grade. These players can play in any division, if playing two grades higher than their own team's registered grade.

8.6.5. Players registered in Over 45 Division 1 are not permitted to play out of grade in any Over 35 Division except Over 35 Division 1.

8.6.6. Players in Over 35 Division 1 are not permitted to play out-of-grade in All Age Division 5 or lower.

8.6.7. Players who are over the age of 40 on 31st December in the previous year who register as players in the Over 35 or All Age competitions will be noted by the Association as an "Over 40" player.

8.6.7.1. "Over 40" players that are not registered in Over 35 Division 1 or All Age Division 1, will be eligible to play for their Club as a substitute/interchange player in any division of Over 35, except for any Championship or Pennant Competition matches.

8.6.7.2. "Over 40" players registered in All Age Division 1 will only be eligible to play for their Club as a substitute/interchange player in Over 35 Division 1. "Over 40" players registered in All Age Division 1 are not eligible to play for their Club as a substitute/interchange player in Over 35 Division 1 in any Championship or Pennant Competition matches.

8.6.8 Players who are over the age of 50 on 31st December in the previous year who register as players in the Over 45, Over 35 or All Age competitions will be noted by the Association as an "Over 50" player.

8.6.8.1 "Over 50" players who are not registered in a Division 1 team, will be eligible to play for their Club as a substitute/interchange player in any division of Over 35 and O45, except for any Championship or Pennant Competition matches.

8.6.8.2 "Over 50" players registered in All Age Division 1 are eligible to play for their Club as a substitute/interchange player in Over 35 Division 1 and O45 Division 1, except for any Championship or Pennant Competition matches.

8.6.9. A maximum of five (5) eligible upgraded players can be used by an Over 35 or Over 45 team in any one game. Of these five (5) upgraded players a maximum of two (2) are eligible to play "down" in grade or division as an "Over 40" player (By-Law 8.6.7 for Over 35 games) OR as an "Over 50"player (by Law 8.6.8). For the purpose of this By-Law, a player who is both an Over 35 player registered with a lower Over 35 Division, and an "Over 40"player OR an "Over 50" player, shall be considered an upgraded Over 35 player.

8.6.10. To avoid doubt, By Law 8.6.1 applies to all Over 35 matches.

8.6.11. Players eligible to play in the Over 45 competition but who are registered in Over 35 or All Age competitions will be noted by the Association as eligible "Over 45" players. Subject to this By Law, these players will be eligible to play for their Club as a substitute/interchange player in any division of Over 45 equal to or higher than the Over 35 Division or All Age Division in which they are registered.

8.6.12. No more than two (2) Over 45 players (as per By Law 8.6.11) can play in any one Over 45 game.

8.6.12.1. If an Over 45 team is significantly affected by injury, the Club may put a letter to the Competitions Director requesting approval to play in that team more than the two Over 45 players from an Over 35 team permitted by By Law 8.6.12. The Competitions Director will approve a request under this By Law only in exceptional circumstances, and the Competitions Director's approval will specify whether approval is given for a particular game or a specified period.

8.6.13. To avoid doubt, By-Law 8.6.1 applies to all Over 45 matches

8.7. FORFEITS

8.7.1. Matches shall be played on the ground set down by the Association and shall commence at the official kick-off times. Any team failing to play its match as set down shall be deemed to have forfeited the match. Where a club is aware that a team will forfeit, the club must notify the Office of the Association of the forfeit by 4.00pm on the Friday immediately preceding the game.

8.7.2. In all grades, if a team is unable to field at least seven (7) of its registered players at the scheduled starting time, then such team will be deemed to have forfeited the match. No grace period shall be permitted.

8.7.3. Where a team loses enough players in a match that are unable to return to the field due to injury, send-off etc, such that it can no longer field seven (7) of its own registered players then the game shall cease and the referee must record the fact on the Team Sheet. The result of the match shall be at the discretion of the Competitions Director.

8.7.4. Teams forfeiting on two consecutive occasions without satisfactory reason may be removed from the competition by the GPT.

8.7.5. Any team that forfeits a match shall be fined in accordance with By-Law 13. A forfeit fee will not apply where three (3) business days advance notice is given to the Association

8.7.6. Any team which plays an ineligible player, suspended player, or a player who is not registered with the Association shall be deemed to have forfeited that match.

8.7.7. Where a team forfeits a match, such match shall be treated as a game by the opposing team for all purposes of these By Laws and Schedules.

8.7.8. State Competitions: Where a club which has agreed to represent the Association in a State Competition forfeits a State Competition match, the Club will be charged any amount imposed by FNSW in respect of the forfeit.

8.8. TEAM SHEETS

8.8.1. In all competition matches, except Championship Finals, the first team mentioned in the draw shall, at least five (5) minutes before the scheduled start of the match, hand to the Referee a team sheet duly completed by both teams. If using electronic team sheets, both teams must ensure they have confirmed their team sheets before the scheduled start of the match.

8.8.2. In Championship Finals, each team shall complete the team sheet held by the Association Officials at the ground with their own team's information at least thirty (30) minutes prior to kick-off.

8.8.3. A player may take the field at any time during a game subject to the authority of the Referee. If the player's details are not noted on the team sheet, the player must ensure they are noted at that time, or as instructed by the Referee.

8.8.4. All paper team sheets, if used, are to be posted or delivered to the Association following the completion of each game and are to be posted so as to reach the Association no later than the mail each Tuesday following the weekend game.

8.8.5. If using paper team sheets, prior to the manager signing the team sheet at the conclusion of the game, the referee shall enter on the said team sheet, beside the name of players, the code for any caution and/or send off issued during the game. If using electronic team sheets, the referee shall enter the code for any caution and/or send off issued during the game against the appropriate players.

8.8.6. All upgraded players listed on the team sheet will be deemed to have played in the match.

8.8.7. Players entered onto the team sheet, but who will not participate in the game, must be crossed off the team sheet. If using paper team sheets, the manager shall, before handing the team sheet to the referee, do so by ruling a line completely through the entire row containing the player’s name. If using electronic team sheets, the manager must, as soon as practicable, confer with the opposing team manager to make the necessary changes to the team sheet.

8.8.7.1. Players entered onto the team sheet, but who do not take the field in the game, may be crossed off the team sheet after the completion of the match. If using paper team sheets, the manager shall, in the presence of the referee, do so by ruling a line completely through the entire row containing the player’s name. If using electronic team sheets, the manager must, as soon as practicable, confer with the opposing team manager to make the necessary changes to the team sheet.

8.8.8. In Premier League and Super League all players listed on the team sheet will be deemed to have played in the match.

8.8.9 In the event of a discrepancy in any match details, information entered into electronic team sheets will take precedence over paper team sheets.

8.9. REFEREES

8.9.1. Where possible, a referee shall be appointed for each match by the Referees Association, or by this Association.

8.9.2. Where no official referee is available, it shall be the duty of the two team managers to reach a decision and appoint a substitute referee or referees (one each half). If no decision can be reached, each manager must referee half a game. Both managers should sign the team sheet after the match if using paper team sheets. If using electronic team sheets the names of the unofficial referees must be entered on the team sheets..

8.9.3. The person or persons who referee the match have the same authority and rights as an official referee, including, but not limited to, cautioning or sending off a player and submitting incident reports. The person or persons who referee the match should, if paper team sheets are being used, sign the reverse side of the team sheet, noting any cautioned players, players sent from the field or incidents as appropriate, and return same to the home Team Manager who shall ensure that it is returned to the Association by the following Tuesday. If electronic team sheets are being used, the person who referees the match should note their name in the appropriate space, note any cautioned players, and players sent from the field or incidents as appropriate.

8.9.4. Where an active, qualified member of the Referees Association is present at the ground, that referee has the right to referee the match, providing that the match is at the level of game the Referees Association member normally covers.

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