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Tournament Rules 2017

1. The tournament shall be known as the Hughes Insurance Foyle Cup. It will be organized by a committee formed by the Derry & District Youth Football Association, which is an affiliated association with the Irish Football Association.

2. All players participating must comply with the following restrictions with respect to their date of birth. Any team found to contain an overage player or players will automatically forfeit all games in which the player(s) took part by a default scoreline of 3-0. The referee’s match card will be the sole record as to whether a player took part in any specific match. The age restrictions for 2016 are:

a. Boys Competitions
Age Group   Players born on or after
Under 19     1st January 1998
Under 17     1st January 2000
Under 16     1st January 2001
Under 15     1st January 2002
Under 14     1st January 2003
Under 13     1st January 2004
Under 12     1st January 2005
Under 11     1st January 2006
Under 10     1st January 2007

b. Ladies Competition – players shall be over 14 years of age or over in 2017.

3. Each player must have proof of his or her date of birth available at all times throughout the tournament. It must be available for inspection upon request by the Management Committee. If the document is not available within a reasonable period of time (2 hours is normally deemed reasonable) then it will be automatically assumed that a player or players are overage and results will be amended in accordance with rule number 2.

4. Squad sizes are strictly controlled. In mini soccer (Under 9, 10 , Girls 7 aside) a maximum of 14 players per squad is allowed. Under 11, 9 aside a squad maximum size of 16 players. In all other age groups a maximum of 18 players is allowed. Any team playing players in excess of these limits will automatically forfeit the games in which those players took part by a default score of 3-0.

5. All team lists must be submitted via official downloadable form on Foyle Cup website by 28th June.

a. Players MUST wear shirt numbers as per the registration form and use same number for duration of tournament.
b. Players who become unavailable between 28th June and the 17th July may be replaced. They will not be listed in tournament programme. To change them, edit the match card at opening game. Once a team has kicked off in their opening game then no further changes are permitted. Any changes after kick-off in first game will result in forfeiting the game in question by a score of 3-0.

6. The Hughes Insurance Foyle Cup is open to all club or representative teams. The Organising Committee has sole discretion and responsibility to accept or reject any application to compete in the competition.

7. By kicking off in opening game, all teams automatically accept all tournament rules and the decisions made by the Organising Committee for the duration of the tournament. These decisions are wide ranging and include logistics such as amended kick off times or venues as well as Disciplinary sanctions.

8. Applications for 2017 Hughes Insurance Foyle Cup shall be submitted in accordance with application form and associated process as available from Foyle Cup website. The entry fee is £150 per team entered.

9. Each team is required to notify the Organising Committee as to whether they will be staying in accommodation locally or if they will be travelling to and from games each day. Teams staying in local accommodation may liaise with Organising Committee to find out about availability in various lodgings. Only accommodation in the University of Ulster Halls of Residence is bookable via the Organising Committee.

10. The tournament format shall be as per tournament schedule which will be published on Foyle Cup website/ Torneo App in May 2017. Normally each age group will consist of Group games followed by knockout games in various classifications based on final position in the groups. All teams will continue to play classification games in accordance with tournament schedule even if defeated in a knockout game.

a. In Group stage games, 3 points will be awarded for a win and 1 point for a draw. 0 points are awarded for a defeat.
b. In the event of 2 teams ending the group on the same number of points then the result between the teams will be the first factor in deciding who placed higher in group. The factors to determine which team finished higher in group will be in order of application:
i. Result between the two teams
ii. Goal Difference (Goals scored – Goals conceded)
iii. Goals Scored
iv. If teams played each other in final group game then a penalty competition in accordance with Laws of the Game.
v. Fair Play – team with lowest number of points where a caution = 1 point and a dismissal = 3 points.
vi. Drawing of Lots. Lots will be publically drawn in tournament office 2 hours after official kick off time of the final round of games.
c. In the event of 3 or more teams ending the group on the same number of points then the factors to determine which team finished higher in group will be in order of application:
i. Goal Difference (Goals scored – Goals conceded)
ii. Goals Scored
iii. Fair Play – team with lowest number of points where a caution = 1 point and a dismissal = 3 points.
iv. Drawing of Lots. Lots will be publically drawn in tournament office 2 hours after official kick off time of the final round of games.

11. If any game in the knockout stages of the tournament ends in a draw then the result will be decided by penalty kicks in accordance with the Laws of the Game.

12. The duration of matches will be as follows:
Under 9, 10 & 11 and girls 11 / 13 Mini Soccer 15 minutes each way
Under 12, 13, 14 25 minutes each way
Under 15, 16 & Ladies 30 minutes each way
Under 17 & 19 35 minutes each way

13. The following regulations shall apply to match days.

a. All matches shall be played in accordance with the Laws of the Game as laid down by the International Football Association.
b. Teams must have adequate Insurance cover in respect of participation at this Tournament. Teams entering the Foyle Cup accept that the organisers accept no responsibility for personal injury or loss as a result of participation in the Foyle Cup tournament. Taking the field in their opening game is seen to represent acceptance of this rule.
c. All matches will be officiated by qualified and registered referees who are registered with a National Referee’s Association as of July 17 2017. All appointments will be made by a Referees’ Committee appointed by the Organising Committee and they will have sole discretion with respect to appointments for all games.
d. Teams are required to be at a venue 30 minutes prior to kick off.
e. Under 9, 10, 11 & 12, 13 shall use a size 4 football as provided by Organising Committee.
f. Under 14 and above shall use a size 5 football as provided by Organising Committee.
g. Unlimited substitutions (rolling substitutes) allowed at Under9, 10 & 11 and girls Mini Soccer. Referee must be informed before any substitution made.
h. 5 from a maximum 7 substitutes may be used in Under 12 and older age groups.
i. A completed team list must be handed to referee prior to every game.
j. Teams must have 2 sets of shirts available at every game. If agreement cannot be made between relevant managers with respect to colour clashes, then the right to play in first choice of kit shall be decided by toss of coin by a match official.
k. Games will be played at designated venues in Counties Derry, Tyrone and Donegal. The majority of venues are in Derry City. All venues and directions will be available on Foyle Cup website from May 2017.
l. Tournament programme is the official record with respect to venue and kick off time information. However, once the knockout stages are reached, teams are required to check official website/ app and/or Facebook page for official confirmation of their venue and kickoff time. Changes are sometimes required for logistical reasons and are at sole discretion of Management Committee.

14. Discipline & Control. The following regulations apply.

a. The Referees’ Committee is authorised by the Organising Committee to have sole authority with respect to Discipline & Control and any necessary sanctions against players, officials or teams at the tournament.
b. The Referees’ Committee will receive a report from match referee with respect to all dismissals and /or serious disciplinary incidents in a game and shall have authority to extend any suspension. The maximum sanction against a player is expulsion from the remainder of the competition. The maximum sanction against a team is expulsion from the remainder of the tournament and/or a recommendation that team does not compete in 2018 competition.
c. Any player dismissed by the referee in the game will be automatically suspended from taking part in his or her team’s next match in the tournament. Teams should accept this suspension is automatic as per FIFA regulations and they may not necessarily be notified by Organising Committee. If a lengthier suspension is recommended by Referee’s Committee then a team will be notified at earliest possible opportunity.
d. Any player cautioned in 2 different matches will be suspended from the game following the second caution. This is automatic and teams should not expect to be notified. The only exception to this rule is as follows:
i. Any player cautioned who avoids a subsequent caution in his or her next 2 matches shall have the initial caution cancelled from the records.
e. Any team fielding a player who should have been suspended in accordance with the conditions listed in 14c & 14d shall automatically forfeit game by a default scoreline of 3-0.
f. The Organising Committee reserves the right to refer any serious incidents of misconduct by players, officials, spectators to the Irish Football Association Disciplinary Committee for further consideration. Where applicable the Irish Football Association shall refer the report to the National Association of clubs not resident in Northern Ireland.

15. All teams have the right of protest against any team they suspect are in violation of rules 2 and / or 14 – namely the use of overage players or the fielding of suspended players. Protests must be in accordance with the following process and any deviation will result in a protest being rejected and any deposit lost.

a. All protests must be made in writing.
b. Protests must be received at tournament office no later than 2.5 hours after published kickoff time. (e.g. If a game is scheduled to kickoff at 5pm then the protest must be received by 7:30pm) Emails and faxes are acceptable only if authorised by Organising Committee due to the match in question being played at a venue greater than 25 miles from tournament office. Authorisation will be given if team telephones tournament office.
c. In mini soccer, protests relating to knockout games and/or which may affect classification are not restricted to the 2.5 hour time limitation if the teams involved are due to play sooner. In these cases protests must be made sooner – at least 20 minutes before kickoff of next match and by telephone to tournament office initially. Protest fee in this case should be given to a tournament referee at venue to allow protest to proceed.
d. All protests must be accompanied by a deposit of £50 STG (€65). Deposit will only be refunded if a protest is successfully upheld by the Disciplinary Committee – which will be the Referees’ Committee. The Committee’s decision is final and cannot be appealed.

16. Winners and Runners Up in all classification tournaments shall receive Trophies as well as medals or mementoes for players listed on official match cards. No additional medals will be available for non-playing squad members.

17. Any question of interpretation or any other matter not specifically covered by these rules will be determined by the Organising Committee on an ongoing basis and teams will be notified by appropriate means – normally via tournament website and/or social media channels.

April 2017






The field of play is divided into two halves by a halfway line. The centre mark is indicated at the mid-point of the halfway line. Maximum pitch size will be 65 x 45 meteres

Goal Size

Mini size goals will be used.

Ball Sizes

The ball should be size 4 for U 9 / 10 / U11 and girls competitions.

It should be safe and made of leather or other suitable material.

U9 and 10 will be 7 v7.

U11 will be 9v9.

Squad size is 14 maximum for U9 /10 / girls competitions. For Under 11 squad size is 16 players.


Any number of substitutes, may be used at any time with the permission of the referee. A player who has been replaced may return to the playing area as a substitute for another player.

All team members should receive equal playing time where possible, with a best practice recommendation of at least 50% per player for each game.

Must Be Worn

Players must wear shin guards and goalkeepers must wear a distinguishing

playing top. Shin guards must be covered entirely by the socks. Players must wear the appropriate clothing dependent on the weather. Correct footwear must be worn for the surface of the pitch e.g. no metal studs on artificial grass pitches.

The Authority of the Referee

Each match is controlled by a referee who has full authority to enforce the Laws for Mini-Soccer in connection with the match to which they have been appointed.

Furthermore, referees should also recognize their role is to facilitate the learning of the players, for example, allow young children to take a second attempt at a throw-in if the first is not within the Laws.

Match Length

Each game will consist of 2 equal halves of 15 minutes each way. In Knock out games  5 penalties will determine the outcome – no extra time to be played..

Starting / Restarting Games

A kick-off is taken at the centre of the playing area to start the game and after a goal has been scored. Opponents must be five yards away from the ball and in their own half of the field. The ball must be played forward. In Mini-Soccer a goal cannot be scored directly from a start or restart of play. Throw ins are taken as normal in football matches.

Special Circumstances

A dropped ball to restart the match, after play has been temporarily stopped inside the penalty area, takes place on the penalty area line parallel to the goal line at the point nearest to where the ball was located when the play stopped. No goal can be scored direct from a dropped ball.

There is no off side.

Normal rules apply, as per Laws of Association Football. However, in Mini Soccer all free kicks are direct. A free kick is awarded to the opposing team if the  goalkeeper:-

  • takes more than six seconds to release the ball from his/her hands
  • touches the ball again with his/her hands after it has been released from his/her
  • possession and has not touched any other player
  • touches the ball with his/her hands after it has been deliberately kicked to him/her by a team mate
  • touches the ball with his/her hands after he/she has received it directly from a
  • throw in taken by a teammate.

For all these offences, the free kick should be taken from the penalty area line, parallel with the goal line, at the nearest point to the offence.

For all free kicks opponents must be five yards from the ball.

The decision of the referee is final.