Frequently Asked Questions

Due to the large number of emails received by the ESFA National Competitions Department (NCD) you may experience a slight delay before we answer your enquiry.

Some of the enquiries are answered in the ‘Guidelines for 11-a-side National Cup Matches’ document which is published on pages 62 and 65 of the ESFA Handbook.

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions:

General Queries

How do I affiliate to the ESFA?

You affiliate to the ESFA via your local district. If you are unsure of which association you should contact, please go to www.esfa.co.uk/associations to check.

How do I check which competitions and fixtures I will be taking part in?

You can login to your ESFA account via the ‘schools’ tab on the ESFA homepage to check on your entries and individual fixtures. Alternatively, you can visit the competition home page and input your school name or postcode into the search bar to check on your entries.

What are the ESFA National Cup fixture deadline dates?

All ESFA National Cup fixture deadlines are published in the handbook and available online by either viewing the Schools page or the 'notes' section to each individual competition.

Competition Rules

Where can I locate the rules for ESFA National Cup competitions?

The complete rules for the competitions are published online at www.esfa.co.uk/rules and printed in the handbook. You will need to refer to the ‘General Competition Rules’ and also the rules stated under the specific competition title. Please pay particular attention to the age qualifications for each competition; we have had to withdraw a number of teams in the past because of this, which obviously causes disappointment to the young players concerned. Here are some brief points to remember when organising your matches:

Boys

U12

U13

U14

U15

U16

U18

Age Qualification
(only use year groups stated)

Year 7

Year 8

Year 9

Year 10

Year 11

Years
11 - 13

Format:

11v11

11v11

11v11

11v11

11v11

11v11

Match Duration

2 x 30
mins

2 x 35
mins

2 x 35 mins

2 x 40 mins

2 x 40
mins

2 x 45 mins

Extra Time

2 x 7
mins

2 x 7
mins

2 x 10
mins

2 x 10
mins

2 x 10
mins

2 x 10
mins

Penalties (no replays)

Size of Match Ball
(teams can mutually agree to use size 5)

4

4

4

5

5

5

Number of Substitutes / Substitutions
(R = Repeated subs are permitted)

5 (R)

5 (R)

5 (R)

5 (R)

5 (R)

5 (R)

Girls

U13

U14

U15

U16

U18

Age Qualification
(only use year groups stated)

Years
7 & 8

Years
8 & 9

Years
9 & 10

Years
10 & 11

Years
11 - 13

Format:

11v11

11 v 11

11v11

11v11

11v11

Match Duration

2 x 35
mins

2 x 35 mins

2 x 40
mins

2 x 40
mins

2 x 45
mins

Extra Time

2 x 7
mins

2 x 10 mins

2 x 10
mins

2 x 10
mins

2 x 10
mins

Penalties (no replays)

Size of Match Ball
(teams can mutually agree to use size 5)

4

4

5

5

5

Number of Substitutes / Substitutions
(R = Repeated subs are permitted)

5 (R)

5 (R)

5 (R)

5 (R)

5 (R)

Do I need a qualified Referee and where do I get one?

Yes, all ESFA National Cup matches should be officiatedby an FA qualified Referee. Your local Referees’ Association / County FA Referees’ Officeris available to assist you with this. Match Officials should be offered their expenses when officiating at your matches.

Do we need permission to play after the deadline date?

Yes. The deadline dates for completing each round are published online and in the handbook. The deadline dates must be strictly adhered to - Failure to comply with the deadline dates may result in your School / College being withdrawn from the competition or being charged an admin fee for submitting a late result. Extensions to deadline dates will only be granted in exceptional circumstances by the ESFA National Competitions Department. Any requests for an extension to a deadline date must be made via email detailing the reasons why the match cannot go ahead on time or if you have any issues regarding your fixtures please contact us via competitions@schoolsfa.com

If you would like to appeal any decision made by the National Competitions Department you can do so by emailing the National Competitions Manager - darren.alcock@schoolsfa.com

Arranging Competition Fixtures

What if our opponents do not return my phone calls/emails?

In this situation you should email the teacher concerned and offer several dates of when you are available to play the match, before the deadline date. A copy of the email should be sent to competitions@schoolsfa.com – by doing this you will register your attempts with the NCD to get the fixture organised. If this fails to raise a response then you should contact the NCD for further advice.

We cannot agree a date to play the match with our opponents – what do we do now?

Matches can be played in midweek where schools / colleges are mutually agreed. If both parties cannot come to an agreement then the match must be played on the Saturday deadline date that is published in the ESFA Handbook and on the website.

What if our ESFA National Cup fixture is postponed due to the weather?

If your ESFA National Cup fixture is postponed you must play the fixture by the following Saturday. You must inform the ESFA of any postponed fixtures to safeguard your place in the competition. If you are playing after the published deadline date, then the ESFA strongly advises the use of a 3G or 4G pitch to increase the chances of the game being played.

If the home team offers a 3G or 4G pitch on which to play our National Cup Fixture, do I have to accept it?

Yes, if the ‘home’ team offers a 3G or 4G pitch on which to play your National Cup fixture, then the visiting team is obliged to accept it, on the condition that enough notice has been issued to the away team in order to make arrangements for the use of suitable footwear.

Is there a register of 3G and 4G pitches in England?

Yes, go to http://3g.thefa.me.uk/

How do I report my results to the ESFA?

Go to www.esfa.co.uk/submitmyscore and login using your school’s unique ID number and password. Once you have logged in click “ESFA Team Fixtures” in the right hand margin menu. Then select the competition title for which you would like to report the result.

Alternatively, you can email competitions@schoolsfa.com with the competition title, fixture number, fixture date, venue, kick-off time and result. The goal scorers’ names of both teams would be helpful so that we can keep the website up to date.

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