Age Groups

Please read the note from the FA at the end

Rule 8(C)

The Rule has been amended in line with FA Rule C4(A) following feedback from County FAs and youth leagues. Players are now permitted to play up an age group, regardless of format. It also provides for children to be able to play football as soon as they reach the age of 6, however it should be noted that children attaining the age of 6 during the playing season (i.e. after 31 August) may not play up an age group until the following season.

 

The Rule now states:

Rule 8(C)    A child who has not attained the age of six shall not play, and shall not be permitted or encouraged to play, in a match of any kind.

 

The relevant age for each player is determined by his or her age as at midnight on 31 August of the relevant playing season.

i.e. Children who are aged 6 as at midnight on 31 August in a playing season together with those who attain the age of 6 during the playing season will be classed as Under 7 players for that playing season. Children who are aged 7 as at midnight on 31 August in a playing season will be classed as Under 8 players for that playing season, and so on.

 

Notwithstanding the above, a child is permitted to play up in the age group above his or her chronological age group, irrespective of any changes of format or competition structure, save that a child who attains the age of 6 after 31 August is permitted to play only in the Under 7 age group, and may not play in the Under 8 age group, for that playing season.

 

The age groups that children are eligible to play in are set out in the table below, along with the permitted football formats for each of those age groups. Children shall not play, and shall not be permitted or encouraged to play, in a match between sides of more than the stated number of players, according to their age group:

 

Age on 31 August of the                                        relevant playing season

Eligible Age Groups

Maximum Permitted Format

6

 

Under 7

5v5

Under 8

7

Under 8

5v5

Under 9

7v7

8

Under 9

7v7

Under 10

9

Under 10

7v7

Under 11

9v9

10

Under 11

9v9

Under 12

11

Under 12

9v9

Under 13

11v11

12

Under 13

11v11

Under 14

13

Under 14

11v11

Under 15

14

Under 15

11v11

Under 16

15

Under 16

11v11

Under 17

Under 18

16

Under 17

11v11

Under 18

Open Age

 

Important Changes To Age Bandings

Following the AGM of The Football Association on Wednesday 21st May it is important to note some changes to the age qualification rules for youth football.

A child is now permitted to ‘play up’ above his or her chronological age by one year group, irrespective of any difference in format or competition structure. They cannot play in a match where a child is greater than two years as the rules previously stated. This is to allow children in many parts of the country to remain participating with existing peer groups, support family circumstances such as single parents, enable those in rural areas to play in available teams locally and support talented individuals.

With regards to defining who is a talented player, for example, this could be a young player that has been on trial, or released, from a Professional Club and a conversation locally would be expected utilising experienced coaching staff, such as FA Skills Coaches, FA Club Mentors and County FA Development Staff to support making this judgement.

If there is provision locally within their specific age group, or within their existing club, it is not expected children will play up a year group. Furthermore, the change in rules is not aimed at allowing an entire team to ‘play up’ an age group to play in a greater format of football as this goes against the principles of player development.

A further change to the entry age of youth football has been agreed by shareholders at the AGM. Previously, unless a child had attained the age of six before the 31st August as of the start of that playing season they were not permitted or encouraged to play in a match of any kind.



 

 

 

Cheshire FA
Wirral District FA
The FA