Analysing the FA WSL 2016 rules part 1

Here we are with our annual FA WSL rule analysis. Just a reminder that the FA does not make it available on the FA WSL website or even the FA one for some unknown reason. I am pleased to be able to provide a short analysis of the 68 pages booklet. I have kept the spelling mistakes from the file as well (in red). As the rules and regulations book is quite long I have split the analysis in four parts.


Number of teams

Chapter 2.6 confirms what we already know about two FA WSL 2 clubs promoted to FA WSL 1 at the end of the 2016 season.

Subject to Rule 2.7, the Competition shall allow for up to 19 member Clubs in the 2016 Playing Season and 20 member clubs thereafter. There will be 2 divisions which shall be called FA WSL 1 and FA WSL 2. Again subject to Rule 2.7, in the 2016 Playing Season, there shall be 10 Clubs in FA WSL 2 and 9 Clubs in FA WSL 1 and for each subsequent season 10 Clubs in each division.


Promotion from the FA WPL to FA WSL 2

Cardiff City cannot be promoted if they win the FA WPL play-offs as per article 6.1, 6.3 and 7.1

Notwithstanding any provision of The FA Rules, a Club must be incorporated in England and will not be entitled to participate in the Competition if it is not so incorporated. Any amendments to the Memorandum and Articles of Association of a Club must be notified to the Competition Secretary in writing within fourteen (14) days of the passing of the resolution together with a copy of the change(s).


A Club must be affiliated at all times to an County Association. Each Club shall notify the Competition Secretary of its affiliation number each year as soon as practicable after it has received the same and in any event, by no later than 1 July each year.


All Clubs shall have Grounds and headquarters situated in England. The Competition Secretary shall send the names and particulars for each Club’s ground to The FA annually by the date appointed by, and in the format required by, The FA.


Type of pitch allowed

Nothing new here, both type of pitches are allowed article 7.16

Competition Matches may be played on a:

Grass Pitch or

Football Turf (3G) Pitch.


Players’ registrations

Chapter 8 is a long one full of information and rules.

As usual no kids allowed to play in the FA WSL

No player shall be registered for the Competition until she reached her sixteenth (16th) birthday

Registration can happen at the last minute: 4 hours before kick-off on a midweek game and 4pm on a Friday for a week-end bank-holiday game

To be eligible to play in the Competition a Player must sign a registration form supplied by the Competition (such signature to be witnessed by a second person) which must then be completed and signed by a Club Official and approved and registered by the Competition and a registration number must have been allotted to the Player

To be eligible to play in a Competition Match, a completed registration form as referred to in Rule 8.3 and the Player’s transfer form or loan transfer form, must have been received by the Competition Secretary not less than four (4) hours before the scheduled kick-off time of the Competition Match in which the Player is required to play or, if the Competition Match is on a Saturday, Sunday or bank holiday, by 16:00 on the Friday before the Competition Match in which the Player is required to play, have been found to be in order and the Player registered. No Player whose registration form, including loan registrations, is received less than four (4) hours before the Competition Match in which she is required to play will be eligible. Any loan registration must also be approved by The FA before that Player can be considered eligible to play.


Registration forms must be sent to the Competition Secretary by email and the original form must be retained by the Club. The Competition Secretary has the power to call for inspection of the original form should she wish to do so. If a Club fails to comply with the provisions of this Rule, the Player shall not be eligible to play in the Competition. The original form, if sent to the Competition Secretary must contain the same information as the registration form that was sent by email. Any Club deemed to have falsified any registration form will be deemed to have played an ineligible player and will be dealt with in accordance with Rule 8.65.


The team that sign a new player is responsible with checking if the player is no longer registered with another team. If the old team does not deregister their player for some reasons, they can actually block a move?

It is the responsibility of the Club to ensure the Player is not registered with any other Club. When the Player was previously registered with another Club it is necessary for that Club to complete the standard Competition transfer form or to have completed the standard Competition cancellation of registration form prior to or at the same as the registration to the new Club.


On the player’s status

The status of a player may be:

Contract Player; or

Non-Contract Player.

A Contract Player must be engaged on the standard player contract as specified by The FA from time to time. All contracts and financial arrangements shall comply with Rule C1 of The FA’s Rules and be in the full name of the Club including the Club’s registered number.

A Non-Contract Player is only entitled to be reimbursed expenses actually incurred in relation to their playing for the Club and shall not be entitled to any other payment in relation to their performance for the Club. Payment of such expenses must be in accordance with Rule C2(b)(iii) of The FA’s Rules. The only exception to this Rule is in the event that a Club appoints a Non-Contract Player as a Youth Club Ambassador in accordance with the Club’s Club Licence in which case such Non-Contract Player may also be paid a sum in connection with her provision of services in her role as Youth Club Ambassador. Rule C2 of The FA Rules in respect of Non Contract Players shall apply to the Competition.


In the event of a Player changing her status with the same Club either from contract to non-contract or from non-contract to contract, that Player must sign a new registration form and be re-registered. If such a Player is not re-registered, the Player will be ineligible to play in a Competition Match and Rule 8.65 will apply in respect of Clubs who play a Player who has changed status without re-registering.


This is the rule that got Manchester City charged last season where the committee voted City not guilty by a majority.

A Contract Player whose registration under contract is cancelled by mutual consent and the same Player is immediately re-registered by the same Club or a different Club on a non-contract basis shall not subsequently be registered as a Contract Player with the Club for which her contract was cancelled, within three (3) months of the date of the cancellation except with the consent of the Management Committee.


Subject to Rule 8.17, the Management Committee shall have the power to apply to the relevant Affiliated Association for the Affiliated Association to refuse or cancel the registration of any Player charged and found guilty of undesirable conduct. Undesirable conduct shall mean incidents of repeated conduct which may deter others (including corporate entities) from being involved in the Competition.



Transfer windows

Nothing unusual here two transfer windows in the FA WSL

The Board shall nominate two (2) periods during each Playing Season in which Contract Player registrations and transfers are permitted. The first of which shall be prior to the commencement of each Playing Season (the “First Transfer Window”) and the second shall be during the Playing Season (the “Second Window”) (together the “Transfer Windows”). The Board shall notify the Clubs of the dates of the Transfer Windows each Playing Season.


Non contract players are free agents and can move at will.

Non Contract Players are permitted to transfer or register with any Club at any point during the Playing Season; transfers and registrations of Non Contract Players are not restricted to the Transfer Windows.

The transfer of a registration of a Non Contract Player from one Club to another can take place at any time, must be in writing, on the Competition transfer form, signed by the Non-Contract Player and the two Clubs, and the form must be forwarded to the Competition Secretary for approval and registration. Such Non Contract Player does not become eligible to play for the Club seeking her transfer until the form has been approved and registered by the Competition Secretary. A Non Contract Player whose registration for a Club is cancelled or transferred for any reason whatsoever cannot, without the consent of the Management Committee, return to her original Club until a minimum of fourteen (14) days has elapsed from the date of the cancellation or transfer

The FA has an exception rule for goalkeepers.

Notwithstanding the above, the Management Committee shall give reasonable consideration to a request from any Club for the transfer and registration of a goalkeeper outside of the Transfer Windows where, as a result of injuries, any Club only has one fully fit goalkeeper available for selection for Competition Matches. Where the Management Committee grants its consent to such a transfer and registration, this shall be subject to such limitations and restrictions as the Management Committee may determine in its absolute discretion and the goalkeeper so transferred and registered shall only be considered eligible to play in the Competition Matches for which permission has been granted by the Management Committee.

An absurd rule put in place by the FA, if a team wants to sign a player why wait for 14 days if they have signed another player from the same club.

Except when specific approval has been given by the Management Committee a Club cannot sign or transfer more than one Player, contract or non-contract, from any other Club at any one time unless a period of fourteen (14) days has elapsed between each signing.


Loans long and short terms

Short Term Loans and Long Term Loans of Contract players shall be allowed to or from Clubs in membership of the Competition or any other league authorised by The FA from time to time.

“Long Term Loan” means a loan transfer in excess of 93 days of a Player.

The maximum number of loans allowed is four, as an example Bristol with 3 players on loan from Chelsea, 2 long term ones and one short term one.

No more than four (4) Players engaged on Short Term Loan or Long Term Loan may join a Club from another Club (or club) in any Playing Season.

A Club can register up to a maximum of two (2) Players on Short Term Loans during a Playing Season.

A Club can register up to a maximum of two (2) Players on Long Term Loans during a Playing Season.

Long Term Loan transfers shall be:

for a full Playing Season; or

from any time prior to 5pm on the last day of the First Transfer Window for the remainder of a Playing Season.

A Player on Long Term Loan may not be recalled, except for a goalkeeper or where the Player is to be transferred permanently by the Club (or club) holding her registration. A Player other than a goalkeeper so recalled shall not be permitted to play for the Club (or club) holding her registration after such recall until the end of the Playing Season. Long Term Loan transfers will not count towards the number of Short Term Loan transfers entered into by a Club.


I will be back with part two, three and four  of the analysis later.


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