With the IFA 2022/23 Season coming to a close, the IFA Committee have been reviewing the season to see if there are any improvements that can be made to the IFA competitions and rules ahead of the 2023/24 Season. After multiple discussions and votes, the Committee has decided to make the following changes to come in to effect after the British Cup Final has been played and all 2022/23 IFA Competitions coming to a conclusion.
IFA British Cup Changes
In previous years, the IFA British Challenge Cup has been the IFA’s season-long cup competition with teams being drawn on a national basis and playing in a knockout format from the start.
For the 2023/24 Season, the IFA committee has decided that teams will be split into regional groups where English teams and Scottish teams will play against each other once, before progressing to one of two knockout competitions: The IFA Challenge Cup or the Glyn Price Vase. English and Scottish groups will then be drawn against each other and guarantee at least one knockout game for every team.
The Glyn Price Vase is a new IFA British Cup Competition and has been named after Glyn Price, who sadly passed away in November 2022. A Shrewsbury Town Supporter, Glyn was an integral part of the IFA Community for years, made a positive impact on many lives and is sorely missed. The IFA Committee felt that the introduction of this new competition would be a fitting tribute to a highly appreciated member of the IFA Community.
Games in the IFA British Cup competitions will also count towards the IFA British League, and, where the IFA Committee permit and other conditions are met, can count towards a regional league.
IFA League Changes
The IFA Committee unanimously decided that the 2023/24 season is to start as early as possible and finish as late as possible, so that teams have plenty of time to reach the 20 game limit for the IFA Leagues. Further to this, it was important that the season finished before July as the IFA Committee will be doing everything they can to ensure that WorldNet 2024 takes place in July and is the best that it possibly can be, especially after the disappointment of no WorldNet 2023.
General IFA Rule Changes
Off the pitch, all of our teams are expected to do their level best to travel across the UK to play games. The IFA was built on our teams playing one another in the morning on a day when their supported clubs are playing each other in the afternoon. With this in mind, a Double Header should always remain at the core of every team’s activities where possible and new rule 1.4 specifies that if a team rejects a Double Header, they are not permitted to play any other IFA fixture on the same date.
Similarly, the whole idea of the IFA is to play games and build relationships with opposition fans before watching your club in the afternoon, immediately after the morning game. This is because supporters would typically already be travelling to support their club, regardless of the location.
As a result it’s important that for Double Headers both teams can play against each other in the morning but still have more than enough time to get to support their respective clubs at the main game in the afternoon. The committee has therefor introduced rule 1.5, that Double headers must take place within a 60 minute journey of the main game.
With the majority of professional British football games being a 3pm KO on a Saturday, this gives everyone in the IFA the perfect opportunity to play games against each other in the morning, before going to watch their favourite team in the afternoon.
However, the IFA is fully aware that not every game is a 3pm KO on a Saturday. Further to this, the IFA wants to encourage games to take place as often as possible. As a result, the IFA Committee has decided that where there is no Double Header available, games are free to be arranged on Saturdays and Bank Holidays, and, with the prior permission of the committee in certain situations, games can be played on any day of the week.
The IFA committee is also removing the 90 minute rule for the 2023/24 season. The IFA wants to encourage games to take place and help teams reach the 20 game limit, to increase the level of competition within the league, especially at the end of the season.
The IFA is always happy to welcome new teams to the league, however it is important that teams are vetted and display the IFA Spirit, whilst on probation, before they are fully integrated into the league.