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Rules

[Supplementary Grand Masters Rules are available here – pdf]

RULES AND CONSTITUTION OF THE LONDON HOCKEY LEAGUE

Membership and Management

1. The League shall be called the LONDON HOCKEY LEAGUE (‘the League’).

2. Membership of the League is open to any Club provided it has a 1st Team playing in the National Hockey League or a feeder League to it, and to any other Club wishing only to play in the Veterans, Super Veterans and/or Grand Masters sections of the League, subject to the approval of not less than two-thirds of the current members of the League voting in accordance with Rule 14.5.

3. The management of the League shall be vested in the League Management Committee (‘the League Management’). The League Management may from time to time delegate any of its functions provided for in these Rules to the League Administrator (‘the Administrator’). The League Management and/or the Administrator may from time to time issue guidance or notes concerning the operation and interpretation of these Rules.

Structure and Fixtures

4. The structure of the League shall be as follows:

4.1. The League shall be divided into Divisions between which there will be promotion and relegation (i.e. an “open” league structure). The top two teams and bottom two teams in each Division at the end of the season will be eligible for promotion and relegation respectively to the Division above or below, as appropriate. Divisions with 10 teams or less may, at the discretion of the League Management, have only one team promoted/relegated. The Divisions will be named, in merit order, as the Premier Division and such numbered Divisions as the number of available teams permits and the League Management shall from time to time decide.
4.2. There will also be sections at Veterans, Super Veterans and Grand Masters levels.
4.3. The Premier Division will consist of 12 teams. The remaining teams will be divided on merit (as equally as possible) between Divisions 1 and below with a maximum of 14 teams per Division and a minimum of 8 teams per Division. At the discretion of the League Management new Divisions may be added or existing Divisions divided, regionalised or eliminated depending on teams participating, subject to such rules as to promotion and relegation as the League Management may think fit.
4.4. The age qualification date for league/cup competitions for Veterans (40+), Superveterans (50+) and Grand Masters (60+) will be December 31 st of the calendar year in which the season ends, (i.e. for the 2019-20 season is 31 st December 2020). In the Veterans league/cup competitions, all players must be 40 or over on the qualification date, except that no more than TWO players aged 37 or over but under 40 may be on the field at any one time. In the Superveterans league/cup competitions all players must be 50 or over on the qualification date except that no more than TWO players aged 47 or over but under 50 may be on the field at any one time. In the Grand Masters league/cup competitions all players must be 60 or over on the qualification date except that no more than FOUR players aged 58 or over but under 60 may be on the field at any one time. The above age concessions will be reviewed on an annual basis. At the discretion of the League Management limited dispensation on the age restrictions in the Veterans, Super Veterans and Grand Masters sections may be given provided that any Club wishing to have such a dispensation must, prior to permitting any ineligible player to play in a match, obtain permission from the League Management.
4.5 The number of Divisions in the Veterans, Super Veterans and Grand Masters sections shall be in the discretion of the League Management. The League Management may from time to time publish additional Rules for the Veterans, Superveterans and Grand Masters sections.
4.6 No more than two teams from any one Club may participate in any Division, save in exceptional circumstances, at the discretion of the League Management.
4.7 The League Management shall from time to time arrange Cup/Trophy competitions for teams in any Division or section of the League to be played on such dates and subject to such terms as the League Management may decide.

5 The winner of each League Division will be the team with the highest number of points in that Division. There will be 3 points for a win and 1 point for a draw. Should points totals be the same at the end of the season then the following in order of priority shall determine the team to be placed higher. 1 – goal difference. 2 – goals scored.

6 Matches in all competitions will be on fixed dates scheduled by the Administrator. Teams in all Divisions will play each other twice, home and away. This may be varied for Divisions of less than 10 teams at the League Management’s discretion.
6.1 All matches must be played as scheduled by the Administrator and on the dates published on the League Website.
6.2 The only exception to this Rule is where a game cannot be played due to adverse weather conditions prevailing or a postponement authorised in advance by the League Management. In the latter case any mutual agreements for postponements must be made at least two weeks before the scheduled date.
6.3 All cancellations must be agreed verbally and not just left as unanswered emails or answerphone messages. Any appointed umpires must also be notified verbally and by email.
6.4 Rearrangement of matches not played on the scheduled date shall be completed within 14 days of the postponement from the original date and the Administrator notified. Matches not so arranged will be left to the discretion of the Administrator to determine the date and venue of the rearranged match.

Cancellation

7 The following shall apply where a game is cancelled or for any reason is not played at the scheduled time:
7.1 All teams must be ready and willing to start League matches within 15 minutes of the appointed starting time. In the event of any team being unwilling/unable to start a match within 15 minutes of the appointed starting time or cancelling before the day of the game, the League Management shall be empowered to award the match to the opposing team by a score not exceeding 5-0 except in exceptional circumstances at the discretion of the League Management. Where a match has not been cancelled prior to the day of the match but one team is not ready to start within 15 minutes of the appointed starting time, the team ready to start the game is entitled to claim the match, and, if it wishes to do so, the captain must as soon as possible inform the opposing captain and at least one of the umpires due to umpire the match.
7.2 Where a match is cancelled by the other team on or prior to the day of the match the captain of any team wishing to claim the match shall immediately inform the opposing captain of such a claim. Any claim under this rule must be made to the Administrator as soon as possible. 7.3 Save in exceptional circumstances, at the discretion of the League Management, any team cancelling a match after 8pm on a Tuesday preceding the scheduled date, or not having cancelled the match is unwilling/unable to start the match within 15 minutes of the appointed
time, will incur a 3 point deduction as well as forfeiting the game under Rule 7.1. The additional three points will not be deducted, at the League Management’s discretion, if the opposition has been contacted before the above deadline and made aware of the potential situation.
7.4 ANY team failing to honour 3 league games during the season without adequate explanation to the League Management may, at the League Management’s discretion, be removed from their Division for the remainder of the season. As a consequence, any results for that team will be deleted from the Division’s League table.
7.5 The League is aware that some Clubs may incur costs if the opposition cancels on or before the day of the match or fails to turn up for a match, consequently Clubs can, in such instances, pass onto their opposition such costs as are reasonable and unavoidably incurred due to the late cancellation. The League Management will adjudicate where Clubs cannot come to a mutual agreement on compensation in circumstances where any team in any division cancels on or before the day of the match or fails to turn up on the day of the match, except where a postponement has been authorised under Rule 6.2.

8 All matches in all Divisions must be played on artificial grass pitches. The home team shall decide whether the pitch is fit for the match to be played. Once a match is started the decision as to whether the conditions are fit to continue rests solely with the umpires. If a match is cancelled or postponed the home club must immediately inform their opponents and the Administrator. Both Clubs must inform any appointed umpires.
9 Clubs MUST publish the start time and venue of all home games in their fixture list and/or website including the fixture list on the League website. This information must also be in the hands of opposing Clubs and the Administrator no later than 14 days before the start of the season as defined by the first Saturday on the Premier League program.
9.1 Such publication shall constitute the confirmation of the fixture times and venues. Any subsequent changes to the date, time and venue of any fixture must be notified to the opponents and the Administrator at least 10 days before the new date of every match.
9.2 Any starting times outside the period of 10.30am to 4.30pm must be advised at least 28 days in advance, subject to the right of appeal to the Administrator in extreme circumstances.
9.3 In determining the start times of their home fixtures Clubs must take into account the distance and travelling times of their opponents. As a guideline allowing a normal travel time and half an hour before and after the game for changing etc., no team should be expected to have to leave their Club premises for an away match before 9am or be expected to arrive back at their club premises after 7.30pm.
9.4 It is a mandatory requirement that all home team captains are responsible for reporting the results of their home games as soon as possible after the game and no later than 7pm on the day of the game. The Administrator shall from time to time publish on the League website the procedure to be followed when reporting results.

Umpiring

10 Clubs must use their best endeavours to ensure that umpires for Premier Division and Division 1 matches are appointed by County Umpire Associations. Clubs must immediately inform the Umpire Appointments secretary of any error, or alteration in the fixture list affecting their Club. In the event of a County Umpire Association being unable or unwilling to appoint umpires for a match in the Premier Division or Division 1, the matter must be brought to the attention of Administrator immediately, and the onus is on the home club to provide two umpires of a suitable standard (at least Level ‘1’). In the case of difficulty, the home club may ask the away club if they can provide one umpire, but there is no obligation for the away club to do so.
10.1 In matches other than Premier and Division 1, Clubs should provide one umpire each unless otherwise agreed. All matches in Divisions other than the Premier Division and Division 1 must be umpired by umpires at least qualified to Level ‘1’ standard.
10.2 In the event of a team failing to provide an umpire, that team shall withdraw one player from their side who will act as umpire.
10.3 League matches shall not be controlled by a single umpire.
10.4 Every Club shall meet the requirements of the appointing Umpires Association regarding acceptable starting times and notification of starting times and venues to umpires and umpires’ expenses.

Player eligibility and selection

11. All players must be ‘bona fide’ members of the Club for which they are playing. No player shall play for more than one Club in League matches in any one season without first obtaining written permission from the League Management. Save for teams playing in the Veterans, Super Veterans and Grand Masters Sections of the League, the following is the policy to be adopted by all Clubs for the selection of teams:
11.1. No player may play for more than one team in the League on any one day without prior approval of the opposing captain.
11.2. A Club wishing to avoid the consequences of a breach of either Rules 11.3 or 11.4 must apply by email to the League Management not later than 48 hours before the particular match day for a dispensation, explaining sufficiently the reasons why a dispensation is requested,
and, if the dispensation is granted, the opposing captains of any team affected by the dispensation must be informed prior to the beginning of the Club’s match against that team.
11.3. Save where a dispensation is granted under Rule 11.2, on any match day a Club should identify its top ELEVEN players. The 2nd team squad can then only be selected from the remainder of the available players and so on down the teams. This means that 1st team ‘bench’ players may play for the 2 nd team (including on the same day, if required), and similarly onwards down the lower teams in the Club (subject to Rule 11.1). For example a Club’s 3 rd team squad may only be selected from player number 23 onwards.
11.4. Save where a dispensation is granted under Rule 11.2, on a match day when a Club has insufficient players available or is otherwise unable to field a team for any match that is scheduled to be played in the League, and any other League, the Club shall select the teams to play by allocating the available players first to the higher teams (whether or not the teams are playing in the London League) so that, if any match is to be cancelled due to insufficiency of players, it shall be the lowest team or teams scheduled to play on that particular day.
11.5. The League Management may from time to time publish further Rules and/or guidance to ensure that Rules 11.1 to 11.4 inclusive can be enforced and the spirit of the Rules adhered to.
11.6. In the event of any Club being in breach of any of Rules 11.1, 11.3 or 11.4 the League Management may, at its discretion, deduct three points from such team or teams as it thinks appropriate in all the circumstances in addition to any penalty imposed under Rules 7.1 and 7.3.
11.7. Any Club wishing to allege a breach of any provision of Rule 11 must make the allegation by email to the League Management within 3 days of the alleged breach. The League Management reserves the right to consider and if necessary impose appropriate penalties at any time in respect of any such breaches as it may, in its absolute discretion, think fit.

Administrative provisions

12. Each Club shall appoint a League Representative and shall supply name, address, telephone number(s), and email address to the Administrator by 1st July each year. Similar information shall be provided for each Club’s Fixture Secretary, Treasurer and back-up to the League Representative. Notification of the League affairs to member Clubs will be made to the Club’s appointed League Representative.
13. All League matches shall be played in accordance with the Rules of Hockey as directed from time to time by England Hockey.
13.1. Where two Clubs play in similar colours the away team shall change its colours.
13.2. Teams playing in the Premier Division, Division 1, and in the finals of any League Cup or Trophy competitions shall wear numbered shirts.
13.3. County Association appointed umpires (Rule 10) should report teams not wearing a full set of individual numbered shirts in Premier and Division 1 games to the League Administrator. Similarly, Club umpires officiating Premier and Division 1 games in the absence of appointed umpires must also report all incidents of teams in these Divisions not wearing a full set of individually numbered shirts to the League Administrator.
13.4. Clubs whose teams are reported under Rule 13.3 for not wearing a full set of individually numbered shirts will be subject to fines imposed by the League Management.

Annual General Meeting

14. There shall be an Annual General Meeting of the League held not later than 31 st July each year. Fourteen days written notice of such meetings and an agenda shall be sent to all member Clubs. The Chair of the League, or six full members acting through the Administrator, may call for a general meeting and similar notice, as above, shall be given of such a meeting to member Clubs. During the season a minimum of two meetings of the Committee and Club representatives shall be held in addition to the AGM.
14.1. The Annual General Meeting shall appoint the following officers:
(a) Chair
(b) Administrator
(c) Hon. Treasurer
14.2. The League Officers shall form the Committee of the League (the ‘League Management’). The League may at any time appoint additional persons to the Committee.
14.3. The Annual General Meeting:
(a) shall appoint a President. The President of the League is an honorary title. A person appointed President may (with his/her consent) be re-appointed from time to time at an Annual General Meeting.
(b) may appoint one or more Vice-Presidents. A Vice-President of the League is an honorary title. Having been appointed, a person shall remain a Vice-President for life unless he or she requests to be removed as a Vice-President or is removed by the League at an Annual General Meeting.
14.4. At any meeting a third of member Clubs shall form a quorum. Any member Club unable to attend may appoint the Chair, Administrator or Hon. Treasurer to act as a proxy in voting on any item on the agenda. Proxies shall not be taken into account when calculating a quorum.
14.5. Resolutions and matters to be voted on at any meeting shall require the following majority of member Clubs of the League present at the meeting and voting (proxies to be included and each Club having one vote):
(a) For any alteration to these Rules or a vote under Rule 2, not less than two thirds.
(b) In any other case, a simple majority, with the Chair having a casting vote.
14.6. The Chair of the meeting is empowered to vote as he/she thinks fit on behalf of any absent Club that has not given a proxy.
15. The annual League subscription payable by Clubs shall be fixed at the Annual General Meeting. Such subscriptions shall be paid to the Hon. Treasurer not later than 30th November in each season.
15.1. The Hon. Treasurer shall submit an annual account for approval at the Annual General Meeting. A majority of Clubs present may call for an audit of such accounts.

Breaches of the Rules and Appeals

16. All questions of interpretation and implementation of these Rules shall be referred to the Administrator for a decision by the League Management. The League Management will endeavour to make decisions on the basis of these Rules or, where matters are not covered, in its discretion as it sees fit according to the circumstances.
17. Any decision of the League Management shall be final save that any Club affected thereby may Appeal a Decision, the procedure for which shall be as follows:
17.1. The Club must email notice to the Administrator of its wish to Appeal (‘the Appeal Notice’) within 3 days of the Decision that is the subject of the Appeal being published on the League website or emailed directly to the Club’s League Representative, whichever is the sooner.
17.2. The Club shall pay a deposit of £100 to the League, in such manner as the Administrator shall direct, within 3 days of the date of the Appeal Notice. Such deposit may be refunded to the Club at the discretion of the Appeal Panel that decides the Appeal.
17.3. As soon as possible after receipt of the Appeal Notice, the League Management shall appoint a Panel of not more than three individuals, one of whom shall be the Chair, to consider the Appeal. Any individual appointed to the Appeal Panel may be a member of a Club in the League provided that an individual so appointed shall not be a member of any Club that is party to any dispute that might be the subject of the matter referred to the Panel.
17.4. The Chair of the Appeal Panel will issue such Directions as he/she thinks fit, having regard to the subject matter of the Appeal, for the conduct of the Appeal.
17.5. Any Appeal will usually be decided on the papers alone, but if the Appellant Club requests an oral Hearing, the Chair of the Appeal Panel may direct an oral Hearing, but the costs of such Hearing, if the Appeal is unsuccessful, shall be paid by the Appellant Club.

General

18 All member Clubs of the League shall be deemed to have accepted these Rules and to have delegated authority to the League Management for the interpretation and implementation of these Rules.
19 These Rules replace all former Rules and Constitutions of the London Hockey League.