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Competition Regulations

1 Description and Form

The Competition shall be called "The Thames Valley Invitation League" or some such other name as the Membership in general meeting shall decide upon and is hereafter referred to as the "League."

2 Objective

The objective of the League is to provide competitive rugby union football for players in and around Berkshire who play little or no first team football and so play few if any matches within the Rugby Football Union league structure.

3 Membership

The League shall be open to such clubs in membership with the Rugby Football Union as shall be accepted by the Members as participants in the Competition. The Membership shall consist of those clubs with teams participating in the League so long as they remain such. Participation shall not be unreasonably denied to clubs affiliated to the Berkshire Rugby Football Union or to other clubs whose playing facilities are situated within 25 miles of Reading town centre.

4 Affiliation

The League is an affiliate of the Berkshire Rugby Football Union which is ultimately entitled to make any ruling it reasonably thinks fit as to the regulation, administration and existence of the League.

5 Committee

The Committee, which shall consist of a President, Chairman, a Secretary and a Treasurer and six Divisional Representatives, shall be responsible for administering the League. The Officers and other members of the Committee shall be elected annually by the Members in general meeting. Casual vacancies may be filled by appointment of the Committee for the period up to the next following annual general meeting. The Committee may delegate such powers to any person or persons as it deems fit; its decisions shall be binding and final on any matter not provided for in or on the interpretation of these Regulations.

6 Finance

Members must pay an annual subscription of £60 for each of their teams entered in the Competition but £50 per team will be deemed to constitute full payment if such a sum for each team entered by the Club is in the hands of the League Treasurer by 30th September during the season or so much as the Members in general meeting agree. Clubs wishing to leave the league will be liable to pay the subscription if they do not give notice of their intention by the 1st May prior to the commencement of the season. Proper books of account shall be kept and accounts prepared at least annually for the consideration of the Members in general meeting.

7 Structure

The League shall consist of teams below the first and second-team level of Members, although first and second teams may be admitted if, inter alia, the Members agree that such admission is likely to further the objective stated above. Members shall nominate which of their own teams that they wish to play in the League but the nomination of a team that failed to fulfil four of its fixtures during the previous season may be refused by the Members in general meeting or by the Committee. The League shall be divided into Divisions consisting of teams agreed by the Members in general meeting as most likely to provide fair competition. No Member may enter more than one team in any one Division and membership does not guarantee that every team nominated will be admitted to a place in the League.

Members shall arrange for each of its teams participating in a Division to play each of the other teams in its Division at home and away once within the season. All fixtures must be arranged and notified to the League Secretary or First Eleven by 1 September and no original fixtures will be acceptable for dates after 31 March during the season. Teams not having informed the League Secretary or First Eleven by 30th September may be deemed to have withdrawn from the Competition. In entering a team for the competition Members accept that League fixtures, whether on original or on re-arranged dates, take priority over other fixtures.

8 Team Positions

The position of a team shall be established by awarding four League points for a win, two for a draw and an additional point for having fulfilled or having been able and willing to fulfil the fixture. One bonus point will be awarded for scoring four tries and for losing by seven points or less. Where the committee agrees to two fixtures being played as a double header the normal points will be awarded as if the matches had been played separately with the exception that only one point will be awarded for the playing of one game and not two. Persistent failure to comply with the rules regarding arranging, re-arranging or reporting results may be punished by the League Committee by forfeiture of points. If two or more Clubs have the same number of League points at the end of the Season, final league positions shall be determined firstly by the number of wins achieved, then the number of draws and then on the basis of match points scored. If there is still no difference they shall be declared to be equal and any prizes based upon the resultant team position shall be equally divided between or among the tying teams. There shall be no automatic promotion or relegation but the composition of the Divisions shall be decided upon by the Members at the annual general meeting prior to the season in question.

9 Unplayed, Postponed and Abandoned Matches

If weather conditions prevent a match being played or a match is abandoned because of such conditions with less than sixty minutes having been played, the match shall be deemed to have been drawn unless the Members concerned agree to re-schedule the game within the same season and they both inform the League Secretary of the re-arranged date within fourteen days of the original fixture. If a decision as to the fitness of the ground for the playing of a match is necessary within 1.5 hours of the scheduled start of the match the match should proceed if both captains agree. If a match is abandoned because of weather conditions when sixty or more minutes have been played then the score at the moment of abandonment shall stand and be deemed to be the final score in the match. The referee's decision as to the necessity for abandonment and the number of minutes played shall be final. If the referee finds it necessary to abandon a match for any reason other than weather conditions, then, irrespective of the number of minutes played the Committee may determine the result of the match and the points to be awarded to each team or request that the match be re-played. Any team whose club is suspended from playing rugby union football for disciplinary reasons will not be permitted to re-arrange any League fixtures falling to be played within the period of the suspension. The effects thereof on the non-offending teams in the Divisions affected shall be dealt with by the Committee.

If both teams wish to re-schedule a match for any reason, the League Secretary shall be informed and his consent obtained three days before the new date. If a match is not played and not re-scheduled to the satisfaction of the League Secretary within 28 days of the original fixture the matter shall be determined by the Committee.

In the event of a team failing to fulfil its fixtures for reasons unacceptable to the Committee or if a team voluntarily withdraws from the Division or if a team is expelled or suspended from participating in the Division, the results of all its matches played shall be deleted and the final Division table positions determined from all League matches played between the remaining teams in the competition.

When a match is postponed, for reasons other than the weather, if the fixture has not been re-scheduled within 4 weeks of the original date, a team wishing to claim the points must do so in writing or e-mail within a further 7 days with a copy to the opposition. After April 1st in the season the game must be re-arranged or claimed by the 1st May or within seven days, whichever is the later.

Teams cancelling or postponing after 2pm on the day before a match will be fined 2 points.

10 Medical Safety

Wherever possible, the home team should ensure a doctor or other medically qualified person is in attendance throughout the match.

11 Composition of Teams

No player-registration system will operate but teams shall consist of bona fide players from the Member club concerned or its opponents on the day who normally play at about that team level. There is no limit on the number of players standing by but only five players may be substituted during a match.

Extra or rolling substitutes may be used with the agreement of both captains. Once agreement is made the referee should be informed and this agreement should then remain in force for the whole game.

In the event of an injury that appears to the referee to be bona fide, a player previously substituted may be re-instated but a team may not make such a re-instatement more than twice in a match.

Where a team has less than 15 players, it is in the spirit of the competition for the opposition to assist in providing players so that the game can take place. There will be no more than ONE man advantage to any team (excluding those caused by yellow or red cards). In the case of injuries players can be returned but still keeping no more than one player difference. Should a team have less than nine players, then the match will be awarded to their opponents. When, at the start of the game, a side provides additional players to assist the opposition to fill their team, these are not considered to be replacements. In addition, with the agreement of the opposition, players can also be provided as replacements for the opposition.

12 Uncontested scrums

Provided the teams start the game with suitable front row players, if the game goes to 'uncontested scrums' the result at the final whistle will stand. If a game starts with ‘uncontested scrums’, then scrums become ‘contested’ the result at the final whistle will stand. If a game starts with ‘uncontested scrums’ and they remain ‘uncontested’ for the rest of the game, the non-offending team will be awarded five match points. The home club should note this in the comments box on the electronic match card, with the final result. It is the result on the match card that will be taken as final for league administration purposes. A game can only go to uncontested scrums if one side does not have enough front row players and the opposition are not able to offer players for that position either.

13 Notification of match result

At the end of the match the home team shall be responsible for informing First Eleven Sports Agency of the result and, if there were unopposed scrums from the beginning of the match, why this was so by telephoning the agency on 01491 712 014 by 6pm on the day of the match and by completing the on line result card within 48 hours of that time. There will be a fine of £15 for a home team not reporting the score or the postponement of the match to First Eleven by 6pm. Failure to submit the Match Result Card no later than 48 hours following the game will also result in a further £15 fine.

14 Disciplinary Powers

The Committee shall have the power to expel any team from the Competition or any club from Membership or to impose such other penalty (including without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing the deduction of League points) as is considered appropriate on any team or Member in breach of these regulations. For the avoidance of doubt, points may be deducted if fines remain unpaid.

In the event of a club having more than 1 team in the TVIL the higher team will always have priority over a lower side regarding the playing of fixtures. E.G.if a 3rd XV cancels a game and its 4th XV fulfils its fixture, the Committee will have the discretion to award the 4th team’s game to its opposition.

15 Complaints

Any complaint under these regulations shall be referred to the Committee by telephone within 48 hours of knowledge of the occurrence giving rise to the complaint and thereafter submitted in writing within a further 48 hours. The complaining Member shall also send a copy of such complaint if applicable to any Member complained of. The Committee on receipt of the written complaint shall require the other party to the complaint if applicable to answer the complaint within seven (7) days of the receipt of the written complaint and the Committee shall give a ruling within a further seven (7) days and that ruling shall be final and binding.

16 Omissions and Interpretations and Further Regulations

The Committee shall have the absolute and unfettered discretion to decide on any matters not provided for and on the interpretation of these Regulations and/or make any further or alternative regulations for the Competition where there is a requirement therefor. The Committee's decision shall be final and binding.