The ISFA Code of Conduct sets the standards which schools are expected to follow in all ISFA matches. 

It is the role of ISFA to promote association football in independent schools, to oversee its development and to ensure that the Corinthian values that inspired the game at the time of its creation are still followed in the 21st Century.  Good sportsmanship and fair play must remain at the heart of the game.


a) Fixture details should be discussed by respective Masters i/c at least one week in advance of the match date. Decisions should be reached, at this time, on the duration of the game, team colours (in case of a colour clash), the number of substitutes allowed and whether rolling substitutes are to be used. It is also important that schools provide an accurate, and clearly stated, contact number in case of weather problems, postponements or travel difficulties. 

b) On match day, the vehicle bringing visiting teams should be met by the member of staff i/c and, where possible, the team captain at the least. 

c) All teams should be escorted to the changing rooms, or the dining facilities, as appropriate. Clear information should be provided about the collection and safe keeping of valuables for visiting teams. 

d) School uniform is recommended, and a high standard of behaviour is expected, whether in or around the school, in dining areas, on the pitch, or when waiting to board the coach. 

e) Visiting staff should be given details of the medical arrangements in place at the pitch side as well as the location and nature of the School’s Medical Centre/Sanatorium 

f) Spectators should watch matches from the touchline and not the goal line. Where a number of spectators is anticipated consideration should be given to roping off pitches to prevent spectators encroaching onto the field or interfering with assistant referees by standing on the touchline. 

During the match 

Medical matters

a) The home school has a responsibility to provide appropriate access to medical facilities and medically qualified personnel. 

b) Each team should have ready access to a first aid kit. 

c) There must be a telephone available at the ground in case emergency services have to be contacted. 

d) There should be clear access for emergency service vehicles in case of serious injury 


a) An independent referee should take charge of all 1st XI (U18) fixtures and where possible the line should be run by the schools. 1st XI (U18) games should be 40 minutes each half; younger teams usually play shorter halves by agreement. Visiting referees should be clearly briefed about the standards of behaviour expected in ISFA matches.  

b) Referees (whether visiting or from the home school) should be advised of the following: 

i) They must check the studs of all players before kick-off and at any stage in the match should there be concern that any footwear might have become dangerous. A substitute’s studs must be checked before being permitted to enter the field 

ii) They should not permit any foul, offensive or insulting language, aggressive behaviour or open dissent from players on either side. If such behaviour occurs and players do not respond to the attempts of the referee to stop it, the referee should stop the match and request to see both captains and both coaches irrespective of which side is most to blame.  In ISFA matches, the system of temporary dismissals (sinbins) is in place for all yellow cards issued for dissent.

iii) If necessary, the captains and coaches for both sides may be asked to speak to their respective teams;  if behaviour does not improve, the referee may be forced to send players off.  Yellow/red cards should be issued to coaching staff if necessary. 

iv) In a most extreme case, the referee should abandon the match.  In all cases, the referee should carry out the sanctions outlined here in the knowledge that his actions will be supported by the school authorities and ISFA.

c) The conduct of members of staff must be beyond reproach: 

i) The team coach’s emphasis should be on encouragement: public chastisement of players, particularly from the touchline, should be avoided. The coach should be discreet, positive and constructive. 

ii Coaches must never undermine the authority of the referee. On no account should adverse comment be made towards the referee in public or in front of players. Only in the exceptional circumstance that a coach believes the safety of the pupils is at risk, should the referee’s attention be attracted so that the coach can speak to the referee. Any subsequent conversation should be out of earshot of the players and must avoid abusive or aggressive language. 

iii The team coach bears the ultimate responsibility for the behaviour of his/her team. 

d) All players must be made aware of the Laws of the Game, competition rules (where applicable) and any recent Law changes. All players must be instructed in good sportsmanship and in the standards of behaviour expected by ISFA. 

i) Any player sent off by the referee must either stand by the side of the team coach or be sent to the dressing room. The player must not be allowed to wander at will nor shout from the touchline. 

ii) Players must be instructed not to question the decisions of the referee or assistant referee nor appeal against off-side penalties etc. 

iii) Players should be discouraged from appealing for throw-ins, goal kicks etc… 

iv) Appropriate kit should be worn. There must be no dangerous studs, earrings, necklaces or rings. If rings can not be removed they must be taped up and not represent a danger to anyone, including the player himself. The Laws of the Game require shin-pads to be worn (and covered by the socks) throughout the match. 

e) Spectators often add to the atmosphere of the occasion. Particularly in cup-ties, positive support, cheering and singing can play a part in creating excitement and atmosphere. Foul or offensive language/comments, booing and abusive chants and gesticulation towards opposing supporters are not appropriate at a school match. To avoid abuse or intimidation of the goalkeeper, supporters must watch matches from the touchlines and must not be permitted to watch from behind the goal. 

i) Where it is likely that there will be a number of spectators, the pitch be roped off so that spectators are kept well back from the touchlines. 

ii) It is the home school’s responsibility to ensure that matches are adequately policed by members of the teaching staff on the touchline. 

iii) Where necessary, the requirement for high standards of behaviour should be stressed to spectators, including parents. 

After the Match 

a) Home teams are expected to discharge their duties as hosts by offering adequate changing and bathing accommodation to visiting teams and match officials and, particularly in cases where the visiting team has travelled a long distance, suitable refreshment. The vehicle carrying the visiting team should be seen off by at least the member of staff i/c and, where possible, team captains. 

b) In the case where a player is been sent off during a match, the school, as a minimum, must conform to FIFA and FA regulations and suspend the player from the next School match.** (see below) Schools are expected to follow the FA guidelines on suspensions and impose more than one match for serious offences involving violence or abuse
** The ISFA U18, U16, U15 and U13 Cup Competitions have their own separate disciplinary sanctions so schools are not required to suspend a player sent off in a match immediately prior to an ISFA Cup tie, although they may feel it appropriate to do so. 

c) As a courtesy, ISFA expects a school to inform their opponents of any disciplinary action taken following an incident on or off the pitch involving his/her pupils. 

d) In the event of a serious concern about a match official, this should be expressed in writing by the Head (and by no other member of staff) to the Head of the opposing school or, in the case of ISFA Cup matches, to the Chief Executive of ISFA.  Such concerns should be made only if there is a genuine concern about the safety of players.  Complaints should not be made about individual fouls and free-kicks given during the game or other subjective decisions. 

e) Problems between schools should be able to be resolved by the respective Heads. If a resolution is not able to be achieved, a letter should be sent by the Head(s) to the Chief Executive of ISFA.

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