Player Substitutions - in the Under 7, Under 8; Under 9; and Under 10 age-groups (only)

As you will be aware, for some 20 years since the Combination was formed, member clubs have voted each year to agree to implement a substitution policy, such that two substitutes would be used in each match by each team; on a rolling basis at set times.

This was a policy also operated by many development leagues around the country and was applauded by many coaches and parents alike as the right thing to do for these age-groups, to maximise football each week and to be equitable to those players as to the playing time they played; so that the emphasis was on enjoyment, team participation and the development of football skills and techniques.

In recent years, the above policy has not been followed by all member teams (by the majority but not by an increasing minority), despite the agreement being re-confirmed on an annual basis.
That has caused unnecessary disputes to arise between teams, which on occasions has resulted in unsatisfactory behaviour being noted.
As you can imagine, it is also almost impossible for the Combination to enforce this policy agreement, where the application of any penalty would be almost meaningless and really just financial in nature – which does not serve the purpose of development football at all.
Since the start of this season, we have been in liaison with The Football Association (at Wembley) who have been insightful and worked closely with us to seek a way forward. We have also consulted with a number of member clubs and other stakeholders on this as well.
We have monitored the matter closely in match weeks 1 to 4 in Phase I and the position has not changed/improved.

So - for the good of the players (our main priority), parents, coaches, clubs and the Combination (as one of the top-ten premier providers of youth football in England), we have decided to ‘rescind’ the above agreement with IMMEDIATE EFFECT.
This decision has not been taken lightly as you can see above, and we would still promote the use of two substitutes in each match and at set times.
However, if coaches and parents (and maybe ‘parent power’ prevails!) do not wish to do this then the following applies from hereon-in.

Under 7 and Under 8 – 5 vs 5 football (no change); and up to 5 substitutes who can play on a rolling basis at any time.
This means that you can now play between 5 (minimum) and 10 (maximum) players in a match at your discretion.
Under 9 and Under 10 – 7 vs 7 football (no change) and up to 7 substitutes who can play on a rolling basis at any time.
This means that you can now play between 7 (minimum) and 14 (maximum) players in a match at your discretion.
nb – these numbers accord with the standard code of rules for youth leagues.

- ‘ALL’ players ‘must’ be registered players for the ‘team’ in question; and
- Players’ duly stamped registration counterfoil cards ‘must’ be in the team’s possession before a player can play; and
- ‘All’ players who ‘play’ in the match ‘must’ be recorded on the on-line match result form.

We hope that the above is clear and finds general favour with member clubs.

If you have any questions or require clarification please email:

HSC Management Committee
26th October 2016