Regulations relating to the relationship between schools and professional clubs.

When boys of school age are signed by professional clubs, there can occasionally be conflict over the availability of players for matches and training. The FA regulations on this topc are outlined below, together with the advice of ISFA. 

The Rules of the Football Association, under “Age Ranges and Provisions Relating to Players Under 16 Years of Age” (p73), state the following on “Priority for School Activities”: 

Priority must at all times be given to school or school organisation’s activities in accordance with the recommendations of the “Memorandum: Children of School Age and School Games” whilst a pupil is receiving full-time education in accordance with the Education Acts. 

All Clubs and Competition, excluding those whose matches are played on Sundays, shall include in their rules a provision to the effect that the availability of a pupil must be consented to by the Head Teacher.

The following extract from Paragraph (Registration) of the Rules relating to the Football Association Programme for Excellence refers to players signed with Academies: 

Players signed on Football Academy forms are not under any requirement to play football for teams provided by the player’s school, Schools FA or Football Academy. The player’s activities should be organised in the best interest of player’s technical, educational, academic and social welfare with the approval of the parents in conjunction with the player’s school and the Football Academy Director. 

The following extract from Paragraph 9.4 (Avoidance of Conflict) of the Rules relating to the Football Association Programme for Excellence refers to players signed with Centres of Exellence: 

It is hoped that conflict will be avoided between Schools' Football and Centres Football. 

It is recognised that the prime objective in the Programme for Excellence is to give more time for coaching talented young players and for those talented young players to play in coached games against other talented players. It is, however, recognised that in the early part of the season, September and early October, and the late part of the season, late February and March, priority will be given to Schools Football should there be a clash between Centres of Excellence coaching and Schools' matches.

Clearly, when conflict occurs, this should be resolved in the best interests of the pupil concerned. The advice of ISFA is that, wherever possible, schools should try to build a good relationship with the Welfare Officer of the Football Club concerned and that, where there is co-operation on both sides, the best interests of the players are most likely to be served. Schools unhappy with their relationship with a football club or with its handling of an individual player, are advised, following discussion with the parents, to request a meeting with the Director of the Academy or Centre of Excellence

Share this article


Wed 10th May
ISFA U11 Seven-a-Side Tournament
National Finals
(St. George's Park)