ESFA National Cup Competitions 2016/2017 – Entry Now Open!

Monday 20 June 2016By ESFA Office

Last Updated:
22/06/2016 16:09:56

The English Schools’ FA National Competitions Department are delighted to announce than entry for our 2016/17 National Cup Competitions is now open! Please find below all the information you will need for the upcoming season’s competitions, sponsors and entry information!

What the ESFA Offers

The ESFA offer National Cup competitions for all secondary schools and further education colleges in England, so don't let your pupils miss out on the fantastic experience of entering English Schools’ FA Cup competitions for 2016-2017! The competitions we run are some of the world’s largest football competitions and over 7,000 secondary school and college football teams competed last season! We firmly believe that ESFA gives pupils an educational experience of competing against schools outside of local District and County Cup competitions. The draw is structured so that the early round matches are drawn regionally to save on travel costs, however we also offer flexibility for you to choose to play out of county fixtures, wherever possible, right from the start of the season if you so wish!

Last season our fantastic 15 PlayStation Schools’ Cup finals, from the Under 12 to Under 15 age group were played at Reading Football Club, over three consecutive days in May. The event included personal appearances by Danny Rose, Jason Puncheon, Alex Iwobi, Steph Houghton and commentary from John Scales and Clive Tyldesley. The PlayStation Schools' Cup is a fantastic partnership between PlayStation and the ESFA and provides opportunities for schools and pupils throughout the season to get involved with events and competitions highlighting the importance and the fun of Schools' Football! 

To see full matches and highlights you can visit our YouTube channel.

Our 4 x Under 16 Premier League Schools’ Cup Finals were played at Manchester City’s Academy Stadium, whilst other finals were hosted at Premier League Champions’ Leicester City FC, Nottingham Forest, Doncaster Rovers and Birmingham City FC amongst others. Most matches were broadcast live online with full commentary via and 353 Photography were in attendance at all finals, so each moment was captured for our players and schools to keep.

This season we are launching a new partnership with Hudl, who are now sponsoring our five U18 competitions. Hudl are proud to partner with the English Schools’ Football Association for the 2016-2017 season. While the focus of this partnership is the rebranding of the U18 girls', boys' and Elite competition to the Hudl Cup, they aim to help teams in every age group improve with their affordable, easy-to-use video platform - Analysis isn’t just for the pro’s! Find out how Hudl can help you win next season by emailing Matt Cook and visiting their website.

What’s New in Competitions?

The ESFA reviewed its national competition structure earlier in the season. This included a consultation process with our member schools which has allowed us to form the basis of any changes that we have made to our National Programme. The following changes have been made, subject to approval at the English Schools’ FA AGM, later in the year:

  • Select your fixture preference – local fixtures, out of county or no preference
  • The U13 Girls’ Cup will now become 9v9 (no longer 11v11)
  • A maximum of 3 Academy / Centre of Excellence players can participate in a Schools’ Cup or Small Schools’ Cup fixture. There are no restrictions in place regarding the number of academy / centre of excellence players that can participate in an Open Schools’ Cup fixture. Schools can compete in both as long as the rules of the competition are upheld
  • A new Under 18 ‘Elite’ Cup has been created that is specifically designed to cater for schools and colleges that offer a football academy programme at sixth form level. Students that have enrolled at the school or college as part of a football academy programme are ineligible to participate in Under 18 Schools’ Cup or Under 18 Colleges’ Cup.
  • Player registration will be instigated free of charge at the last 64 of each competition (last 32 for the smaller competitions). This will hopefully alleviate issues regarding player eligibility
  • Hudl will proudly sponsor the 5 x U18 Schools’ & Colleges’ Cup for Season 2016-2017
  • The Under 17 Schools’ Cup will not be offered this season

ESFA Competitions

If you are registered as a contact for your school or college on our database, you will have received an email directly with your login details. Once you have followed the instructions on screen, you will be able to select the competitions you would like to enter for this season. Please find below a description of the competitions available – this explains the eligibility for each competition, please ensure you fully understand the parameters for entry as we do have to remove teams if they are found to be ineligible.

Schools’ Cup Eligibility

This is the main category of boys’ competition that we offer to our member schools. In individual school/college competitions, a maximum of three players who attend an FA Licensed Academy/Centre of Excellence can participate in a match

Schools’ Cups Age Groups

  • U12 9-a-Side Schools’ Cup (Year 7 only)
  • U13 Schools’ Cup (Year 8 only)
  • U14 Schools’ Cup (Year 9 only)
  • U15 Schools’ Cup (Year 10 only)
  • U16 Schools’ Cup (Year 11 only)
  • U18 Elite Cup (Years 11 – 13 only)
  • U18 Colleges’ Cup (Years 11 – 13 only)
  • U18 Schools’ Cup (Years 11 – 13 only)
  • U18 Regional League (Years 11 – 13 only)

Open Schools’ Cup Eligibility

This is open to all schools and there is no restriction on the number of academy / centre of excellence players that can be fielded in a fixture. Schools can enter both the Schools’ Cup and Open Schools’ Cup as long as they abide by the rules of the respective competitions.

Open Schools’ Cup Age Groups

  • U14 Open Schools’ Cup (Year 9 only)
  • U15 Open Schools’ Cup (Year 10 only)
  • U16 Open Schools’ Cup (Year 11 only)

Small Schools’ Cup Eligibility

To be eligible to enter the Small Schools’ Cup the school must have fewer than 65 boys on roll in the specified age group.

Small Schools’ Cup Age Groups

  • U13 Small Schools’ Cup (Year 8 only)
  • U14 Small Schools’ Cup (Year 9 only)
  • U15 Small Schools’ Cup (Year 10 only)
  • U16 Small Schools’ Cup (Year 11 only)

The U12 9-a-side Small Schools’ Cup (Year 7 only) will be run after Christmas. The entry forms for this competition will be circulated in November.

B Team Schools’ Cup Eligibility

If your school has entered a team into the Schools’ Cup, Open Schools’ Cup or Small Schools’ Cup, then it is eligible to enter an additional ‘B’ team into the same age group to compete in a separate competition. Players that play in the ‘A’ team will not be eligible to compete in the ‘B’ Cup. Players that are registered within the programme for excellence are not eligible to participate in the B Team Schools’ Cup competitions

B Team Schools’ Cup Age Groups

  • U12 9-a-Side B Team Cup (Year 7 only)
  • U13 B Team Cup (Year 8 only)
  • U14 B Team Cup (Year 9 only)
  • U15 B Team Cup (Year 10 only)

Girls’ Cup Eligibility

Girls are eligible to play in any boys’ competition up to the Under 18 age group. However, the ESFA runs the following competitions to specifically support the development of the girls’ game

Girls' Cup Age Groups

  • U13 Girls’ Cup (Years 7 – 8 only)
  • U14 Girls’ Cup (Years 8 – 9 only)
  • U15 Girls’ Cup (Years 9 – 10 only)
  • U16 Girls’ Cup (Years 10 – 11 only)
  • U18 Schools’ Cup (Years 11 – 13 only)
  • U18 Colleges’ Cup (Years 11 – 13 only)

The Under 12 Girls’ 9-a-side Schools’ Cup (Year 6 & 7 only) will be run after Christmas. The entry forms for this competition will be circulated in November.

Under 18 Regional Leagues

The ESFA will offer regional leagues to schools and colleges across England. It is expected that each league will host 8-10 teams, with each team playing each other once within the league. Schools that currently enter local leagues run by the County Schools’ FA will be expected to fulfil their commitments in the local league. It is not the ESFA’s intention to compete directly with the County Schools’ FA as this competition is designed for those schools that do not currently have a local league to play in.

Schools wishing to enter leagues organised by external providers, must seek sanction from the ESFA before entering.

All match reports and photos from the 2015/16 National Finals can be found on the News page of our website so you can see the experiences laid on for teams this past season, we hope that the possibility of reaching a National Final is a fantastic motivation for schools and players alike!

The English Schools’ FA are constantly seeking to improve existing and create new partnerships so stay up to date with our plans via our Website and Twitter Account!

Good luck for 2016/17!

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June 2016


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