The following notes are intended to assist clubs, and are general information on the running of the London Legal League. Clubs are particularly reminded to check rule 10, dealing with fixtures.
Any fixtures queries should be directed to John Harkin (07968 856 299). Where possible we shall always try and give clubs at least two weeks' (often more, sometimes less, though we are sometimes at the mercy of pitch permits) notice of fixtures. If you have any potential problem dates (firm events etc) please let Iain know as far in advance as possible. He will try and accommodate problems, but the later you leave it the less likely he will do so. Ideally, he'll have enough warning to be able to swap your fixture to a different day that week.
Be aware that some of the slots are early (the 6.45pm at Battersea is particularly unpopular). Johnwill try and spread these around as much as possible, but you can't avoid some of these early slots during the season. If London had enough astro pitches that we could book 15 slots at 7.30pm (which is about the perfect KO time) we would do so, but unfortunately we can't. Until the time comes that someone turns Finsbury Square into two astros and makes them exclusively available to the Legal League we have to make do with what we can get!
Please check in advance of each fixture that there's no colour clash between the two sides (if there is a clash, the first named side is supposed to change). A quick email to the opposition could save significant stress later on!
Clubs are reminded that all players should wear shin-guards (no referee will allow you to play without them) and that players cannot wear tracksuit trousers (except for goalkeepers).
All kits should be numbered, and that clubs are not allowed to wear colours which may clash with referees (who must wear black).
Players should wear astroturf boots, or at a pinch, trainers on the pitches used in the London Legal League.
On new 3g surfaces player are allowed to wear moulded softground studs.
Please note that Battersea only allow the use of astros or trainers at their ground. If you turn up with unsuitable footwear referees will be instructed to not allow you to play.
Note the difference between "moulded" and "astro" boots. A moulded boot typically has a dozen or so rubber "studs" moulded into the sole, and is intended for a hard grass pitch. Astro boots have a hundred or so "dimples" for grip, and are intended for astroturf pitches. Some manufacturers may claim that "mouldeds" are suitable for astroturf pitches, but this isn't the case because they'll damage the pitches.
"Bladed" boots are even more unsuitable for astroturf pitches. Bladed boots are designed for the same conditions as a "full stud" - namely soft grass pitches.
Each club should take at least two balls suitable for match play to each game, and a couple of "warm-up" balls are a good idea as well. A pump is also often of use! Don't assume the opposition will bring balls and a pump, or there might be a problem!
All players and referees should be aware that the Football Association are placing increasing emphasis on ensuring the safety of players' equipment - particularly footwear and jewellery. However, the laws of the game are clear that "A referee is not held liable for any kind of injury suffered by a player, official or spectator... This may include a decision to allow or not allow a player to wear certain apparel or equipment".
Law 4 of the Laws of the Game has now been amended and states that "A player must not use equipment or wear anything which is dangerous to himself or another player (including any kind of jewellery)".
There is one exception:- "A player, who can satisfy the referee prior to the game that their PLAIN WEDDING BAND is unable to be removed, will be allowed to cover it with tape. (This only applies to a plain wedding band and no other type of jewellery).
Players should be clear that these items are their responsibility - it is not the referee's responsibility to provide tape to cover a wedding ring! Players are expected to ensure their equipment is safe when they step on the field, and the referee is simply there to police this.
Number of Players/Late Cancellations
You need a minimum of seven players to start a game. If you cancel games late because of lack of players you will be fined, concede games and have points deducted. It isn't fair on the opposition, and isn't fair on other sides within the league. Don't give up on a fixture if you're short of a few players, the opposition might well be too.
Don't leave it until the last minute to chase up your team - lawyers tend to be fairly busy people, so make sure people know in advance of the game when it's due to take place. "We have a game tonight, who's available" is a common recipe for disaster!
If you do have to cancel a game at short notice, please inform the opposition and John Harkin (07968 856 299) immediately. Make sure you actually speak to them - don't just leave a message and assume it'll be collected. Don't use email to communicate late cancellations - it isn't always instant!
Kickoff Times/Duration of Games
The times shown for fixtures are the times for kickoff. Encourage your players to arrive at least 30 minutes earlier (transport in and around London isn't exactly reliable!).
Be aware that many time slots are 90 minutes, so the referee will have to reduce the time of the game accordingly to fit in the game. As long as a referee can fit in a game of sixty minutes he will do so - in a 90 minute slot the typical game is about 37 minutes each way.
The league try to ensure that a referee and two assistants are appointed to every game, but this is not always possible. There is a shortage of referees nationwide and The London Legal League is the only AFA League than can even contemplate appointing referees and assistants to all games regularly.
If no referee shows up for a game (and be aware they are subject to the same work/travel issues that plague everyone else) then it is the responsibility of the two clubs to agree an official (or officials). If necessary, each club should referee half of a game each.
Please be clear that all substitutes must be named before kickoff (latecoming players in the starting eleven do not need to be named). This is laid down by FIFA, and referees are not permitted to "use common sense" or "be flexible". If you aren't sure whether a player is coming, name him as a substitute anyway. There's no problem if you name him and he doesn't show up, but there is if you don't and he does.
Rolling substitutes are not permitted in the London Legal League, again a stricture laid down by FIFA.
Each club is permitted to name a maximum of three substitutes, and all three may be used.
Payment of Officials
The fees for referees is £34.00, for assistants £27.00 (total £88.00). For league games the "home club" (the first named club on each fixture) should pay the referee and one of the assistants (total £61), and the "away club" pays the other assistant (total £27). For cup games each side should pay half of the total amount. Please try and ensure you have the right change for officials.
If one or more assistants fail to show, the "saving" in fees should be shared between the home and away club equally.
Both clubs involved should submit scorelines via SMS text message straight after games as soon as possible after games are played, and not later than Thursday lunchtime (Friday lunchtime for Thursday games).
Each club should give the scoreline, the name of the referee and his mark (out of 100, no fractions). In addition clubs should give a mark out of 100 for their opponents' sportsmanship during the game. Any club not reporting a scoreline or the mark for the referee will be fined.
Please take marking of referees seriously. Click here for some guidance notes. Please don't give a referee a bad mark simply because he gave a last minute penalty decision you didn't like (or a good one for one you did like). Please don't just "give him 70". The marks given to referees are used by the Referees' Secretary to monitor standards, and can affect a referee's promotion to higher classes. Take a minute to judge how the referee handled the game and give him a fair mark.