Football regulations for 2019 - 20 | Updated 1 October

FOO i The BUCS Football Championships shall be conducted in accordance with the following BUCS sport specific regulations, the BUCS general regulations, and the IFAB Laws of the Game.

FOO ii In the event that these regulations contradict the BUCS general regulations, these BUCS sport specific regulations will supersede, unless specifically stated otherwise.

FOO iii In the event that these regulations contradict those of the IFAB Laws of the Game, these BUCS sport specific regulations will supersede, unless specifically stated otherwise.


FOO 1 Affiliations All institutions must affiliate with their National Governing Body as per the requirements in the BUCS Sport Specific Affiliations Document by the deadline stated in the BUCS Sport Specific Affiliations Document. Failure to do so will lead to sanctions as outlined in the BUCS Sport Specific Affiliations Document and possibly further disciplinary action.

FOO 2 Minimum number of players for a fixture to start The minimum number of players per team required for a fixture to start will be seven.

FOO 3 There shall be separate Team Championships for Men and Women. The programme for each Championships shall include leagues and knockout competitions as per BUCS general regulations, Appendix 1 (‘BUCS Competition Offer and Associated BUCS Points’) and Appendix 10 (‘BUCS Promotion, Relegation and Knockout Information’).

FOO 3.1 In the Men’s Team Championships, for Tiers 4 and below, BUCS reserves the right to operate four leagues per Tier in a Conference (as opposed to the standard two) should entry levels permit. In such an instance, an institution would be permitted to have three teams in the tier, regardless of whether it is the bottom tier.

FOO 4 Duration of play The game shall consist of two halves of 45 minutes. Teams shall change ends at half-time. In all matches the half-time interval will not exceed 15 minutes.

FOO 4.1 Tie in knockout competition matches In the event of a tie after normal time, two periods of extra time (15 minutes each way) shall be played. If at the end of the normal playing period of extra time, the teams are still tying the winner shall be decided by the taking of kicks from the penalty spot as per the FIFA Laws of the Game.

FOO 5 Match officials Match officials should be appointed as per Appendix 5 (‘BUCS Match Officials Requirements’).

FOO 5.1 Assistant referees shall report to the referee prior to commencement of the match and will be provided with standard flags by the home team.

FOO 6 Matchday requirements The home team is responsible for providing a set of corner flags, and pegs for securing goal nets. Failure to do so may render the team liable to a fine and in the event of the match not being played due to lack of corner flags or pegs, the home team will be deemed to have not fulfilled the fixture.

FOO 7 Shirt numbers Players shall wear on the back of their shirts numbers which shall not exceed the number 99. All numbers shall be no less than 8” (20cm) in height and shall contrast with the colour of the shirt. No two players in a team may wear the same number in a single match.

FOO 8 Substitutes For Premier Tier/Championship and Tier 1/Trophy fixtures a maximum of three substitutions will be allowed from a maximum of five named substitutes. For Tier 2 and below leagues/Conference Cup, Plate and Bowl fixtures, a maximum of five substitutions will be allowed from a maximum of five named substitutes.

FOO 8.1 Players who have been substituted will not be permitted to return to the match, i.e. rolling substitutions are not permitted.

FOO 9 Discipline

FOO 9.1 All matches are played under the auspices of the International Football Association Board (IFAB). However, the discipline regulations and processes followed shall be those of the relevant Home Nation Football Association(s).

FOO 9.2 Temporary dismissals (Sin Bins) Temporary Dismissals, otherwise known as Sin Bins, are mandatory for matters of dissent by players across all BUCS Football.

FOO 9.2.1 Players will only go in the Sin Bin for dissent cautions. Dissent is the use of words or gestures questioning or undermining the referee’s decision. Examples of dissent are: Shouting at the referee, questioning the referee’s ability, slamming the ball into the ground, sarcastically clapping a decision.

FOO 9.2.2 Sin Bins will be indicated by the referee showing a yellow card and clearly pointing with both arms to the side lines. In grounds where there are technical areas, the player in question must go to their team’s technical area. Elsewhere, players must leave the pitch and watch from the touchline with other non-playing staff. A player in the Sin Bin is permitted to warm up.

FOO 9.2.3 Sin Bins will only be administered to those players on the field of play – substitutes or substituted players will be cautioned for dissent as per the standard rules.

FOO 9.2.4 For matches of 90 minutes, players spend 10 minutes in the Sin Bin. For matches of all other lengths, players spend 8 minutes in the Sin Bin. The Sin Bin period only commences when the referee restarts play, and the referee shall include in the Sin Bin period and time ‘lost’ for a stoppage for which ‘additional time’ will be allowed at the end of the half. If the Sin Bin period has not expired at the end of:

  • The 1st half: Continues into the 2nd half;
  • The 2nd half: Continues into extra time;
  • Extra time: Player can participate in penalties

FOO 9.2.5 The referee shall decide when a player can return to play.

FOO 9.2.6 A player in the Sin Bin cannot be substituted until their suspension period expires and cannot be substituted if all substitutions have already been made.

FOO 9.2.7 Whilst in the Sin Bin, if a player commits a yellow or red card offence, they cannot take any further part in the match and cannot be substituted.

FOO 9.2.8 If a player commits a yellow card offence on the field of play in addition to a period in the Sin Bin, they will continue to play.

FOO 9.2.9 If a player commits a second dissent caution and no other offences, they will receive a second Sin Bin after which they can’t take any further part in the match but can be substituted if the team has substitutions remaining.

FOO 9.2.10 If a player commits a second dissent caution and has already been booked, they will take no further part in the match and cannot be substituted.

FOO 9.2.11 There’s no limit on the number of players that can be in the Sin Bin at any one time. However, if a team is reduced to less than seven players due to Sin Bins, the match will be abandoned as covered under IFAB Laws of the Game.

FOO 9.2.12 Sin Bin yellow cards shall count towards a player’s seasonal tally of yellow cards.

FOO 9.2.13 Use of foul and abusive language is still a red card offence.

FOO 9.3 Suspensions A suspension issued against a player, club or team official as a result of a disciplinary matter in BUCS Football shall only apply to BUCS Football unless the suspension applied is advised by the relevant Home Nation Football Association to apply to ‘all football’. A suspension issued against a player, club or team official as a result of a disciplinary matter in any non-BUCS Football competition shall not apply to BUCS Football unless the suspension applied is advised by the relevant Home Nation Football Association to apply to ‘all football’

FOO 9.3.1 In Scotland, no player, club or team official may participate in any student football fixture while serving a ban from a recognised football association or affiliate body (to include student, amateur, junior or senior football). Any bans issued by Scottish Student Sport (SSS) will be enforced in student football only, although SSS retain the right to pass any serious misconduct cases to the relevant association or affiliate body.

FOO 10 Additional Premier Tier/Championship specific requirements

FOO 10.1 Playing facilities should be of an appropriate quality for Premier Tier/Championship matches and should comply with National Governing Body regulations for matches of this standard.

FOO 10.2 Pitches should, as a minimum, be roped off to prevent spectator encroachment. This can be down one length of the pitch provided all spectators watch the match from this side. In this instance all team substitutes and team officials must be on the opposite side to the spectators.

FOO 10.3 Matches should be played on grass or a FIFA approved artificial surface. It is the duty of the home team when confirming the fixture to advise the away team on any footwear restrictions and the type of surface to be used.

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