General Rules

1. Arranging Matches

1.1 Matches should be proposed between team organisers in writing via the IFA Team Area, WhatsApp or social media platforms a few weeks or months in advance.

1.2 Ideally the home team organiser will invite the away team to play in the morning on a day when their supported clubs are playing each other in the afternoon. Organisers will then canvas for available players, and if both receive enough interest the match will go ahead. Such matches are referred to as ‘Double Header fixtures’ and should try to be organised as soon as the main team’s fixtures are published for the season. 

1.3 In order to ensure teams are extending and replying to such invitations, the IFA committee will make regular spot-checks across the season. Team organisers must keep a record of all communications relating to these invitations, as failure to produce these when requested may result in action being taken against teams and/or team organisers.

1.4 A Double Header takes priority over any other fixture. If teams do are unable to fulfil a Double Header fixture, they are not permitted to play any other IFA fixture on the same date without the permission of the IFA committee.

1.5 Double headers must be within 60 minutes travel time of the game unless prior permission is granted by the IFA committee. When organising matches, every effort should be made to ensure supporters can make any main team game that is happening on the same day.

1.6 When accepting a home fixture, all IFA teams are expected to use best endeavours and every possible effort to return the fixture during the same IFA season. The same spot-check process detailed in Rule 1.3 will be used to ensure teams are travelling to as many games as possible.

1.7 IFA games should aim to be played on the day of the main team’s game allowing time for IFA players to get to the main team’s game after. However, the IFA is aware that not all main team’s matches will take place on Saturdays at 3pm in the modern game.

Where there is no double header available, IFA games are free to be arranged on Saturday or Bank Holidays.

Teams wishing to play on another day of the week must seek approval from the IFA Committee. Exceptions which could be granted by the committee are where weather or pitch unavailability have led to games being unfulfilled earlier in the season necessitating a different day of the week being used.

2. Communication

2.1 Continued communication via the IFA Team Area, email, message or social media is extremely important in the run up to a game. If you cannot arrange contact, you should not arrange games. Managers from both teams should liaise with each other in writing to ensure the pitch, referee and players are all available.

2.2 It is the responsibility of both managers to make sure that all lines of communication are open. This includes the exchange of phone numbers in case of last-minute issues.

2.3 Team organisers must keep a record of all communications, as failure to produce these when requested may result in action being taken against teams and/or team organisers.

3. Determining the Type of Match

3.1 The option of whether games are classified as IFA League games or friendlies is by agreement of both sides when the game is organised.

3.2 A third league meeting between two teams can only take place from the first weekend in April in a season, only where a team can demonstrate that they have been unable to secure fixtures against other IFA sides through sharing copies of communications kept as per Rule 2.3 with the IFA committee. A third meeting between two teams will otherwise be deemed a friendly.

3.3 A match cannot be a League game for one team and a friendly for the other team. 

3.4 Friendly matches are to be encouraged to help teams develop, especially for new teams, even after a team has completed its quota of League-qualifying matches for a season.

4. Reporting of Matches

4.1 Matches must be announced using the IFA Team Area. To announce a fixture either team can propose a fixture and the other must accept, this must be done no later than the day before the match..

4.2 Following the game, results must be announced on the IFA Team Area within 48 hours of the fixture being played. Both teams MUST complete the result announcement, failure to do so may result in action being taken against teams and/or team organisers.

4.3 Any game that does not take place as announced, for whatever reason, should also be communicated to the IFA committee within 48 hours of the fixture date. Both teams MUST communicate the reasons for the cancellation, failure to do so may result in action being taken against teams and/or team organisers.

4.4 The IFA Team Area is the only format we will accept for announcing fixtures and results and can be found HERE

5. Match Conditions

5.1 The minimum number of players required by a team for the match to be eligible is eight. Any team turning up with less than eight players, or indeed not turning up at all, will automatically forfeit the game. See section 6 for rules relating to eligible players.

5.2 Any team turning up after the agreed kick-off time without good reason may forfeit the game. The IFA committee will review reasons for late arrival.

5.3 Any team failing to turn up will forfeit the match and a 3-0 victory will be awarded to their opponents. The IFA committee may apply further sanctions.

5.4 Matches should be played under the standard Laws of the Game, with the exception being a system of “rolling subs”, which allows for unlimited substitutions to enable all available players to participate and for players who have been substituted to return to the field later in a match. 

5.5 The match duration should be 90 minutes unless previously agreed between the two sides. If a match is shortened, reasons for this should be included when completing the result announcement form noted in Rule 4.2.

6. Eligible Players

6.1 Players selected to play in IFA matches must be supporters of the club they are representing. The whole purpose of the IFA is to allow supporters of teams to represent the club they support against “rival” teams in friendly games to build bridges between fans. Selecting and playing players who do not support the team you represent is against the IFA Spirit.

6.2 Players should be recruited and chosen for matches regardless of ability. Any team who is considered by the committee to be attempting to gain a sporting advantage by selecting and recruiting based solely on ability will be considered to be in breach of the IFA spirit.

6.3 While we understand that a late drop-out would require a quick replacement to be found, we would actively encourage all teams to use a player that is a supporter of your team, irrelevant of ability, where possible. When this is not possible at short notice, a recruited player should not, under any circumstances, receive priority over a genuine supporter.

6.4 If a team is struggling for players in the days leading up to a match, they are encouraged to “loan” players from other IFA teams and/or the opposition team. This helps to foster relations between teams and encourages the inter-mingling of fans, which is what we’re all here for.

6.5 Should any team arrive for a game with more than 8 but less than 11 players, or if injury during a game leads to either team playing with less than 11, the opposing side are expected to offer replacements from their substitutes if they have them, to bring both sides up to a full complement of players and ensure the fixture takes place. If both teams are short, managers should use their initiative to ensure both sides have equal numbers.

7. Referees and Officials

7.1 The IFA is renowned for the friendly spirit in which matches are played. Although we do not specify that a qualified official should referee matches, the use of one obviously allows players to concentrate on the game and for the game to progress smoothly and as such every effort should be made to secure a qualified official.

7.2 In the situation that the host team is unable to provide a qualified official, they must inform the travelling team and give the away team the option to source one or reclassify the fixture as a friendly, although this is strongly advised against and both teams are strongly recommended to adhere to Rule 7.3 below.

7.3 In the absence of a qualified referee, where both teams have a full complement of players and substitutes, each team should referee a half each.

7.4 If the home team has recruited a referee for the match, it is their responsibility to ensure that the referee is briefed on ALL aspects of Rules 7 and 8 BEFORE the game commences.

7.5 Players are also reminded that all referees will make honest mistakes. Dissent is unnecessary and in direct contradiction to the IFA spirit. Referees on-field decisions are final and should be respected at all times.

7.6 Common sense and honesty are called for on behalf of the players in order to assist the referee.

7.7 In matches where there are insufficient people to supply assistant referees, it is generally accepted that referees should be the sole arbiter in deciding offside decisions, and as such he or she may decide to only penalise “very obvious” infringements. Players should be sympathetic towards the referee in this situation and should not seek to take advantage of his or her lack of 47 eyes.

8. Discipline

8.1 It is the responsibility of team managers/organisers/captains to ensure that all team staff, players and supporters follow the agreed standards of behaviour noted in the IFA Spirit both on and off the pitch. The IFA is a friendly organisation and is no place for “hotheads”. People wishing to behave in such a manner should seek their entertainment elsewhere.

8.2 Team managers/organisers/captains are expected to work with their opposite numbers before, during and after games to ensure that flash points are kept to an absolute minimum and disagreements are quickly resolved.

8.3 Team managers/organisers/captains are responsible for ensuring there are no circumstances in which players are sent off and should make their best efforts to  remove any “hothead” players from the field of play for a period of time at their discretion until they have calmed down, using the IFA policy of allowing rolling subs noted in Rule 5.4, before such time as the referee would need to issue a red card. 

8.5 In the event of a red card being issued, a substitute MUST NOT be brought on in place of the offending player.

8.6 Any red cards that are issued and the reasons for the dismissal MUST be reported by both teams when completing the comments section of the result announcement form noted in Rule 4.2.

8.7 By entering the IFA, teams have agreed to be responsible for their own actions, so there should be no need for the intervention of the IFA Committee. There will be no warnings on behaviour; the Committee will take strong and immediate action if they feel the need to. This should not happen because you are sensible and will be playing games in the spirit they are intended.

9. Equality, Diversity & Inclusion

9.1 We gladly welcome all participants regardless of race, religion, gender,  sexual orientation or any other protected characteristic. The abuse of any participant or official, either in person or on social media platforms, will not be tolerated under any circumstances. 

9.2 Any participant or team that fails to accept and adhere to this is not welcome at IFA events and will be immediately excluded from the IFA.

10. Social Media

10.1 We all have a presence on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and most teams follow each other on these platforms. All teams and associated players must respect each other at all times, both on the pitch and on social media networks.

10.2 Any player or team seen to be disrespecting the IFA as an organisation, their opposition or another IFA side will be investigated with any individuals involved and their team facing expulsion from IFA competitions in extreme cases.

10.3 If anybody sees a member of their team commenting in this manner, it is down to the manager to proactively resolve the issue before it escalates.

11. Game Cancellations

11.1 Other than for adverse weather conditions or extreme situations, cancelling a game within 24 hours of kick-off should never happen. Not only is there a cost involved but potentially a lot of players travelling long distances. The committee will investigate and take the appropriate action in this event.

11.2 Any team withdrawing their availability for a match within 7 days prior to the game may be subject to sanctions after an investigation by the committee.

11.3 Any team found to be in breach of Rule 11.1 will forfeit the match 1-0.

11.4 Any team found to be in breach of Rules 11.1 and/or 11.2 will also be liable for any payments already made or cancellations fees (pitch fees, referee expenses, etc).

11.5 Team organisers must keep a record of all communications relating to cancelled matches, as failure to produce these when requested may result in action being taken against teams and/or team organisers.

11.6 Any game that does not take place as announced, for whatever reason, should also be communicated to the IFA using the result announcement form within 28 days of the fixture date as per Rule 4.3

12. IFA Cup Matches

12.1 IFA Cup matches will also count towards the IFA British League. IFA Cup Matches can also count towards a regional league, as long as:

  • the IFA committee is informed
  • both teams agree
  • the teams would not normally meet for a double header or their double header fixture was not fulfilled

13. Regional Cups

13.1 IFA Cup ties take ultimate priority over regional cup competitions due to the potential distances involved. By their very nature, regional cup matches should be much easier to arrange.

13.2 Any team who wishes to arrange a double-header fixture should also get priority over any regional cup-tie.

13.3 Regional cups are organised by local IFA members and as such, competition rules may differ slightly between regions, but all IFA general rules must be adhered to.

14. Injuries

14.1 The IFA and its competitions are not registered or affiliated to the FA or any other body, and as such is not covered under the FA’s general insurance terms. The IFA cannot be held responsible for any injury or loss sustained by individuals taking part in IFA competitions. All players compete at their own risk and by taking part accept that this is the case. Players may wish to consider taking out individual insurance cover in the event that they may suffer such injury or loss.

15. New Teams

15.1 The IFA are always delighted to hear from any team that meets our criteria and would like to join the organisation.

15.2 Existing teams are also encouraged to find new teams, as this benefits everyone.

15.3 New teams will be added to the IFA League on a probation based system.

They can organise and play matches, which for their opposition will count as league games, however whilst on “probation”, the team on probation will not be visible in league tables or goalscorer charts.

Once they arrange and play three games, receive an average IFA Spirit score of three or higher and opposition organiser reports are positive, they are removed from “probation” and their previous results are added to the league tables.

Should reports be generally positive but do not achieve the Spirit score of three or higher, the team on probation should continue to play games to achieve the required IFA Spirit score, at which time they will be removed from “probation”.

Negative reports from opposing organisers will be discussed on a case by case basis by the IFA Committee.

15.4 In the first instance, please could any teams interested in joining sign up in the IFA Team Area.

Last update: 11 June 2023



League Rules

These rules are specific to the IFA League and run alongside and in addition to the General IFA Rules above and the IFA Spirit

1. Format

1.1 The IFA League is open to any member team of the IFA. Member Teams are all supporters teams.

1.2 The IFA committee reserves the right not to accept a team into the IFA and its League.

1.3 The IFA league season 2023/24 will start on 1st July 2023 and run until 29th June 2024.

1.4 Competing teams may play up to 20 matches to count for Regional League records during this timeframe.

1.5 Any team wishing to travel to the same venue twice during the course of the season is able to count the second meeting as their ‘home’ game, if the other team is in agreement.

1.6 Fixtures and results must be announced in full accordance with IFA general rule 4, without exception.

1.7 Points are allocated based on the score after “normal” time (applicable where a match is scheduled to count towards a League and Cup competition simultaneously) as follows:

  • 3 points for a win
  • 2 points for a draw
  • 1 point for playing

1.8 The League Table, maintained by the IFA committee on the IFA website, is sorted in order of points, goal difference, goals scored and alphabetically.

2. IFA English and Scottish Leagues

2.1 The IFA English and Scottish Leagues run alongside the IFA League and all fixtures between two English or two Scottish teams will count towards the regional tables, as well as the IFA League.

2.2 All three tables will be maintained by the IFA committee on the IFA website and will also be sorted in order of points, goal difference, goals scored and alphabetically.

2.3 Cross-border games will only count for the IFA British League.

2.4 Welsh clubs are welcome to join the English League if they so wish, as the majority of their games will be played against English teams.

2.5 Fixtures and results must be announced on the IFA Team Area in full accordance with IFA general rule 4, without exception.

2.6 The English and Scottish league seasons run from the same dates as the IFA league. Competing teams may play up to 20 matches to count for League records.

3. “Second” Teams

3.1 Any participating Member Team wishing to enter a second team into the League must first seek the permission of the IFA Committee.

4. League entry

4.1 In order to enter the IFA League, all teams will be required to sign up via the IFA Team Area, which also confirms that the rules and IFA Spirit have been communicated to all players.

4.2 Any team who has not signed up will not be able to participate in IFA League matches until they have done so.

Last update: 11 June 2023



Cup Rules

These rules are specific to the IFA British Cup, and run alongside and in addition to the General Rules above and the IFA Spirit

1. Format

1.1 The IFA British Cup consists of a regional groups in the first round, with English and Scottish teams playing each other once before progressing to two knockout competitions; the IFA Challenge Cup and the Glyn Price Vase. All teams who enter the group stage will enter the knockout round of either the Challenge Cup or Glyn Price Vase. Where a group stage doesn’t complete all fixtures, tables will be decided in the order of Points, Games Played, Goal Difference.

1.2 Where possible, all knockout rounds of the IFA British Cup are drawn on a national basis, encompassing teams in both the IFA English League and IFA Scottish League, meaning all teams understand that they may be drawn for at least 1 cross border tie and may result in a long journey before applying to enter.

1.3 Each round has a deadline by which ties must have been played (barring any weather problems), and failure to agree dates, times and venues will be scrutinised by the IFA Committee.

1.4 Where in group stages these can class as regional league games as per General Rule 12.1, teams may decide which is the home and away side as per their league fixture. In all other fixtures, teams are drawn neutrally. Where an agreement cannot be reached on a team “hosting”, teams must work together to find a suitable venue of reasonably equal travel time.

1.5 All organising of fixtures should be done via the IFA Team Area, email, message or social media and records kept. The tie will be forfeited if one of the teams has not cooperated fully in agreeing match arrangements.

1.6 Ties must be reported as per Rule 4 of the General IFA Rules.

1.7 The deadline for first round ties to be played will be confirmed when the draw is made. Deadlines for the remaining rounds will be communicated in due course.

1.8 Semi-Final ties will be played at neutral venues.

1.9 The Final ties will take place at an IFA specified neutral venue.

2. Match Conditions

2.1 Each tie must be played over the full 90 minutes unless both teams agree before kick-off.

2.2 No extra time will be played. If scores in knockout rounds are level after 90 minutes, a penalty shoot-out will take place.

3. Cup entry

3.1 In order to enter the IFA Cup, all teams will be required to submit their details via the Entry Form on the IFA Website, which also confirms that the rules and IFA Spirit have been communicated to all players.

3.2 An entry fee of £25 will be charged to all teams who enter

3.3 Any team who has not submitted an entry form will not be included in the draw until they have done so.

Last update: 11 June 2023