This document has been written to help improve the League, providing a clear blueprint for accepted rules and expected conduct for both players and clubs. The document does not cover every eventuality and as the London Unity League continues to develop, so will this document via feedback and suggestions by clubs partaking in its running.
The rules contained in this document cannot by themselves bring about the exemplary code of behaviour, which is often referred to as “The Spirit of the League”. If the London Unity League is to continue to flourish and expand, then those who take part in it must maintain its spirit and ethos.
Each Full Member Club must uphold and support the rules of the London Unity League set out herein, and adhere to the FA Respect Code of Conduct, as published by the Football Association.
All Member Clubs, players and officials are advised to read these rules and the FA Respect Code of Conduct thoroughly to ensure that they are familiar with them.
The official name of the league shall be the London Unity League, herein referred to as “the League”.
The League will informally operate with the title “LUL”.
The League shall be managed by a committee formed of one representative from each Full Member Club (the League Managers’ Committee, “the Committee”). Decisions shall be made by majority vote. A Chair may be appointed by the Committee and shall hold the casting vote in the event of a tied vote.
The Committee may decide to appoint an official, or officials, or a sub-committee to administer the running of the League on its behalf and at its discretion (“Appointed Representatives”). The Committee may decide to appoint some or all of the Appointed Representatives to the Committee in which case they shall be given a vote.
In respect of Rule 2.04, should the League Managers’ Committee appoint an official, or officials, or a sub-committee to administer the running of the League on its behalf, the Committee may delegate any powers, privileges and responsibilities for the running of the League to those Appointed Representatives for a period of one season – 1st August to 31st July, notwithstanding the Committee’s prerogative to remove and appoint Appointed Representatives during the course of the season. Ordinarily the Appointed Representatives will include a League Secretary and a Treasurer.
The League shall additionally appoint a Football Development Officer, whose role is to promote increased participation and inclusion in the League and its clubs and potentially beyond. The Football Development Officer will work with the League committee and individual clubs to plan engagement and activities aimed at bringing in new players and other participants across all clubs, and to support their involvement and development. If funds allow, such as if appropriate sponsorship is received, their role may include outreach work internationally to forge links with LGBT+ football.
The aims of the League shall be to augment football within the LGBT community across London and beyond, by seeking:
a) to manage and facilitate the League impartially and with the utmost fairness, taking into consideration the sole interests of the member teams and their competing players.
b) to enable LGBT football players of all abilities to play football in a friendly and inclusive atmosphere, and to meet and socialise with other LGBT footballers and their friends across the capital and beyond.
c) to encourage the formation of LGBT-friendly football teams in London and beyond.
In pursuance of its aims and objectives, the League may associate or affiliate with such other organisations as may be necessary or desirable to the Committee.
Any team may apply for Full Membership to the League, provided they agree with (and subsequently uphold) the aims and objectives set out in section 3, and abide by the Rules of the League as set out in this document. Any decision on membership applications shall be made by the Committee and may be subject to certain conditions being met.
Full Membership entitles a Club to compete in the League and any cup competitions that are arranged and administered by it. A Full Member Club may enter more than one team in any competition subject to the approval of the Committee or its Appointed Representatives.
There is no appeal or recourse in any decisions made in respect of rejected applications. Feedback will be provided via written correspondence from the League Secretary.
Applications for Full Membership must be made to the League Secretary before 30th June in any year, for inclusion the following season.
Any team that is not already a Full Member of the League may apply for Associate Membership of the League, provided they agree with (and subsequently uphold) the aims and objectives set out in section 3. Associate Membership is aimed at newly-formed teams and teams that might want to become Full Members of the League or participate in the Cup competition.
Associate Membership of the League entitles a team to:
a. Priority Full Membership of the League (subject to successful application) ahead of non-Associate Member teams, based on date of Associate Membership: longest continuous Associate Membership having first priority, then second longest having second priority and so on.
b. Priority invitation to enter the LUL Cup, in the same terms as the immediately above.
c. Presence on the LUL website, including basic information about the club and contact details. Inclusion in appropriate League communications and observer status at the AGM and similar League meetings.
A Club shall cease to be entitled to be members of the League if they provide written notice at any time to the League Secretary of their intention to withdraw their membership or the Club is expelled from the League by the Committee (or any sub- committee appointed on its behalf).
If, for any reason, a Club ceases to become a Full Member of the League during a season, the Club will be removed from the League standings, all their results shall be expunged, and all their points removed.
In respect of Rule 5.01, a Full Member Club ceasing to be a Full Member shall be automatically removed from any other LUL competition.
The cost of Full Membership and Associate Membership, per season, shall be determined by the Committee or its appointed representatives.
The Committee or its appointed representatives shall adjust membership fees to cover the running costs of the League.
Membership fees shall be communicated to all Full Member and Associate Member clubs before 1st August preceding each season.
All Full Member and Associate Member clubs must pay their fees by September 30th for the season. Any outstanding monies owed by any Club shall be dealt with in accordance with the section detailing disciplinary proceedings, which may include preventing a team from competing in the League until such time as the overdue monies are received.
The exact format of the League competition shall be decided by the Committee or its Appointed Representatives at a meeting held no later than 30th June preceding the new season. This meeting shall also consider any membership applications and proposals from Full Member Clubs to enter more than one team into any competition.
The winner of a League match shall score three points. Each team participating in a League match which is drawn shall score one point.
The position of teams in the table shall be determined by the number of points scored in that season, the team having scored the highest number of points being at the top of the table and the team having scored the lowest number of points being at the bottom.
If any 2 or more teams have scored the same number of points their position in the table shall be determined on goal difference, that is to say, the difference between the total number of goals scored by and against a team in League matches in that season, and the higher or highest placed team shall be the team with the higher or highest goal difference.
If any 2 or more teams have scored the same number of points and have the same goal difference the higher or highest placed team shall be the team having scored the most goals in League matches in that season.
If 2 or more teams are still tied after implementing rule 7.05, then the team which has recorded the most victories shall be classified as the higher placed team.
If 2 or more teams are still level after implementing rule 7.06, then the head-to-head result(s) of that season shall be used to calculate the higher placed team – using an aggregate scoring system if the teams played each other twice.
In the event that 2 or more teams are still tied, the team placed highest in the Fair Play Table shall be deemed the higher placed team in the league competition.
The team which is at the top of the table at the end of the season shall be classified as League Champions, unless a play-off system is introduced in respect of rule 7.01.
The League Champions shall receive a trophy at the end of the season, which it shall return to the League Secretary in good order and condition no later than the following 15th April.
Any damage to the league or cup trophies shall be paid for by the respective holders of the trophy.
Any engraving shall be carried out on the instruction of the Committee or its representatives. Winning teams are not permitted to carry out any engraving of their own accord.
The League Champions shall further receive 18 commemorative medals.
Additional medals may be ordered at the request and expense of the League champions.
The dates of League matches for the new season shall be fixed and published by the League Secretary no later than 6 weeks before the first match of the new season.
The League Secretary shall endeavour to formulate a fixture list that avoids clashing with established tournaments and weekends classified as GFSN National League fixture dates.
Fixtures are scheduled on Sundays but may be played on a Saturday if both teams come to an agreement and the League Secretary has no objection.
Teams should endeavour to complete all League fixtures in a season before 1st June. Where severe fixture congestion occurs, teams should consider playing midweek games to achieve this. The League Secretary reserves the right to award a forfeit in respect of any game not scheduled by 1st June.
Teams should inform the League Secretary regarding the arrangement or rearrangement of non-LUL fixtures and tournaments they’re involved in at the earliest possible opportunity.
The League Secretary reserves the right to postpone, reinstate, or alter any fixture giving a minimum of 21 days notice for the sole benefit of administering the League.
Teams have two windows of opportunity to make themselves unavailable on weekends of their choosing in the calendar, subject to the approval of the League Secretary:
a) From the publication of the fixture list until 21 days before the first fixture.
b) From 16th December until 7 days before the first fixture in the new year.
If a team has any doubts about being able to fulfil a fixture with at least nine players, the League Secretary must be contacted no later than 72 hours before kick-off.
Outside of the dates in rule 9.07, fixtures should only be postponed in circumstances beyond a club’s control. The League does not consider the number of available players to be a circumstance outside clubs’ control.
Fixture postponements are only allowed with the consent of the League Secretary. The League Secretary must be included in all communication between teams regarding requests for postponement and/or rearrangement of matches.
If a postponement is allowed by the League Secretary, a new fixture date must be agreed by the teams and published by the League Secretary no later than seven days after the postponement occurred. Clubs are reminded to work together and assume good faith when attempts are made to arrange/rearrange fixtures.
Home teams should give the away team five days’ notice of the date, location and kick-off time of the match – i.e. no later than the Tuesday immediately preceding the fixture date for a Sunday match.
If a club fails to do so, the League Secretary reserves the right to levy a £20 fine for each instance.
The Committee or its Appointed Representatives shall decide during their pre-season meeting (as stipulated in rule 7.01) whether to hold a cup competition to supplement the League for the following season.
At the full discretion of the Committee or its Appointed Representatives, clubs who are not Full Member Clubs may be invited to take part in the competition upon payment of an appropriate fee.
All Full Member Clubs are automatically entered into any cup competition, unless they send written communication to the League Secretary advising of their intention not to compete no later than the date of fixture publication.
The winners of any cup shall receive a trophy, which it shall return to the League Secretary in good order and condition not later than the following March 30th.
The winners of any cup shall further receive 18 commemorative medals.
The winners of the any cup may request additional medals may be ordered at the request and expense of the cup winners.
The cup final shall be held at a neutral venue to be decided by the Committee or its Appointed Representatives. The cost(s) of the neutral venue shall be met by the League.
Rule 11.06 shall apply for the final of any cup.
The cost of the three match officials for any cup final (or any other notable match, as indicated by the Committee or its Appointed Representatives) shall be split evenly by the two competing clubs.
In respect of Rule 10.09, the Committee or its Appointed Representatives have complete discretion in classifying a League or cup match “notable”, and their decision is final.
A coin toss 7 days before the final shall decide who shall be deemed as the “home” side in the final. The side winning the toss shall have first choice of kit colour in the event of a clash.
For League and cup matches, it is the responsibility of the designated home club to source the services of a qualified referee, unless the League Secretary invokes Rule 11.07. The home club should lodge the name and contact details of appointed referees with the League Secretary no later than 48 hours before kick-off.
The League Secretary reserves the right to impose a £10 fine if this is not done.
It is the responsibility of the referee to ensure that they are familiar with the league rules contained herein. The club or other person appointing the referee shall ensure that the referee has obtained a copy of these rules.
If the services of a qualified referee cannot be secured, a competent volunteer may be used with the prior approval of both teams and the League Secretary. In such circumstances, the League Secretary must be contacted at least an hour before kick-off and the volunteer’s name and contact details passed over.
Teams are to identify referee training opportunities, with a view to each participating club having a least one qualified referee.
Wherever competent volunteers are available, the referee must appoint linespersons to assist with the officiating of the match. Where practical, each competing side must provide one competent volunteer.
Where volunteers aren’t available or the referee does not deem the volunteers to be competent, the referee has the right to officiate the match without linespersons.
The allocation of match officials for the final of any cup competition shall be independently made by the League Secretary.
The League Secretary reserves the right to appoint an independent referee to any League or cup match at their discretion, providing written notice to the home club no fewer than 7 days before the date of the match.
At his or her absolute discretion, a referee may contact the League Secretary wishing to rescind a yellow or red card issued during a game.
This request must be made no later than 48 hours after the final whistle, whereby the League Secretary will endeavour to collate enough reports and evidence to justify rescinding the yellow or red card.
The League Secretary reserves the right to refuse any request made by a match official in respect of Rule 11.09.
In the case of a yellow or red card being issued in a case of mistaken identity the League Secretary, at his or her absolute discretion, can agree to transfer such card to the correct individual.
The London Unity League fully supports The FA’s “Respect” campaign. Abuse of referees will not be tolerated and any such instance of abuse of referees will be treated severely by the Committee in line with its disciplinary policy.
The London Unity League will maintain a list of the names and contact details of qualified referees to help clubs ensure they can meet their obligations in respect of Rule 11.01.
A team should not use the same referee for more than 50% of its home games in the League and Cup. The League Secretary reserves the right to impose a £30 fine for each match refereed in breach of this rule.
It is the responsibility of each Full Member Club to notify the League Secretary with details of their teams’ kit colours prior to the commencement of a new season.
Where a kit colour clash occurs between two teams, the designated away team will change into an alternative colour.
It is the responsibility of the away team to ascertain and confirm the colours of the home club in advance of any fixture.
In the event of any dispute with regard to the kit to be worn by either team in advance of a match, the League Secretary’s decision shall be final.
On the day of the match, the referee has sole discretion on any kit clash and, at his or her absolute discretion, order a side to change their kit.
Subject to Rule 13.02, all League and cup matches must be scheduled and played on a natural grass pitch or FA approved football turf pitch listed in the FA Register of Football Turf Pitches http://3g.thefa.me.uk/?countyfa=any.
It is the responsibility of the home club to communicate any changes of pitch details or pitch surface to the opposition club in good time, to ensure the opposition bring the correct footwear (i.e. astroturf boots) .
The home team must ensure any pitch booking includes the use of changing / showering facilities for players and officials, within their control.
Each team must have a booking for, and the explicit permission of, the owners and/or custodians of the pitch being used for a League or cup match.
Clubs are not permitted to play on pitches without a booking / permission and must produce, on demand of the match official, the Committee or its Appointed Representatives, proof of pitch booking.
Should any team be unable to fulfil a fixture giving fewer than 72 hours notice, they shall forfeit the match – unless it can be proven that the non-fulfilment of the match is due to circumstances beyond their control. Where a match is postponed due to inclement weather, the game shall be rescheduled for a later date. The League does not consider the number of available players to be a circumstance outside clubs’ control.
Where inclement weather is anticipated, the home team should be in regular contact with the pitch provider and must ensure any postponement is communicated to the opposition as soon as possible – ideally before 9am for a 2pm kick-off. Travelling times for away teams should be taken into consideration to prevent wasted journeys.
The appointed referee has the authority to inspect the pitch before a match and decide whether the match conditions are playable. To reiterate, the referee is the final arbiter of whether a game is played having regard to rule 13.04.
In respect of Rules 14.01 or 14.02, where it is decided the reasons were within the control of the team, the opposing team shall be awarded a 3-0 victory.
If the forfeited match is a second-leg cup match, the opposing team shall automatically progress to the next round regardless of the scoreline carried over from the previous leg.
The League Secretary reserves the right to investigate any forfeited, postponed, or abandoned match and report his/her findings to the Committee or its Appointed Representatives. They reserve the right to impose further sanctions on top of Rules 14.04 and 14.05 at their absolute discretion.
If the League Secretary is satisfied that postponement of a match occurred due to circumstances beyond a team’s control, a new fixture date must be agreed by the teams and published by the League Secretary no later than seven days after the postponement occurred. Clubs are reminded to work together and assume good faith when attempts are made to arrange/rearrange fixtures.
All parties must endeavour to ensure that a match is played or finished wherever possible, however the safety and welfare of players is of paramount importance to the League.
The referee is the sole judge of whether it is safe to continue a match having regard to Rule 13.04.
If a game is abandoned and 59 minutes or fewer have been played, the game shall be replayed.
Any replay will be played at the home venue of the designated home team.
In respect of rules 14.09 and 14.10, if both Clubs agree that replaying the fixture is not worthwhile or is considered impractical, the scoreline at the time of the abandonment shall be taken as the final result.
In respect of Rule 14.12, the Committee or its Appointed Representatives reserve the right to veto any agreement and demand the fixture is fulfilled for any reason.
If a game is abandoned on or after the 60th minute, the game will finish and the current scoreline at the time of the abandonment will be taken as the final result.
There will be no recourse or appeal regarding any abandonment.
The match referee is the sole arbiter of time keeping, in respects to abandonments.
Any abandonment must be communicated to the League Secretary within 24 hours of the match.
The match is played by two teams of not more than eleven players, one of whom is the goalkeeper.
A match cannot commence or continue if either team consists of fewer than seven players.
Any person may play for a team without prior registration, subject to that individual not being suspended, banned, or under the age of 16 years old.
A player has the freedom to represent any number of teams during a league season, without restriction subject to Rule 15.05
A player is not permitted to represent more than one team in any cup, or any other knock-out cup competition organised by the League.
A player who features for a team in any cup competition (regardless of the outcome of the match) is cup-tied to that team until the conclusion of that year’s competition.
In respect of Rule 15.06, it is the responsibility of each Club and their managers to ensure any player representing their team in a match is eligible.
The Committee or its Appointed Representatives reserves the right to investigate any breach of Rule 15.05 and commence disciplinary proceedings against the club in question, with reference to Rule 15.07.
Any club wishing to play an individual under the age of 18 years old is responsible for gaining parental consent to play the individual, and in doing so the club agrees to hold harmless the London Unity League, the LUL officials, the match officials, the opposing team or any officer of the above, for any liability arising out of playing an individual under the age of 18 years old.
Clubs are not permitted to field an individual who is under the age of 16 on the day of a League or cup match.
There is no maximum age for a player in the League or cup match subject to the Club to which the player belongs being satisfied with the fitness of that player.
The maximum squad size for a League or Cup match is 18.
Rolling substitutions are permitted in all League and Cup matches.
The referee has the right to refuse the a substitution if the referee feels the team in question is abusing the rolling substitution rule for any reason, unless it can be proven that the player being substituted is injured.
All League and cup matches shall last two equal periods of 45 minutes.
Allowance is made in either period for all time lost through substitutions, assessment of injury to players, removal of injured players from the field of play, wasting time or any other cause.
If a cup match is played over two legs, the scoreline shall be aggregated to decide the winner. Away goals are not applicable at any stage of the competition.
Should a cup match scoreline be tied on aggregate, extra time shall be two equal periods of 15 minutes.
The equal periods of extra time in a cup match may be reduced if mutually agreed by both managers and the match official(s), before commencing the first extra time period.
The equal periods of extra time in a cup match may be disregarded, if mutually agreed by both managers and the match official(s) before the commencement of extra time. In such case, the match shall proceed straight to penalty kicks.
Should a LUL cup game remained tied after the second period of extra time, a penalty shoot-out shall determine the winner in accordance with The Laws of the Game by FIFA.
Each team shall be permitted 5 penalty kicks (and sudden death if required), with the winners being the team to score most kicks.
On the day of the match and only under exceptional circumstances, both managers and the referee may agree to shorten the length of any League or cup match to a mutually agreeable length. A half time must still occur.
17.10 In respect of Rule 17.09, the match official may veto any agreement between two competing teams to shorten the length of a match.
The length of a half time period shall be no longer than 15 minutes.
The London Unity League adheres to the Laws of the Game as issued by FIFA, except where competition rules as identified in this document explicitly supersede them. The League website contains a link to the FIFA website detailing the Laws of the Game.
Referees can issue cautions and dismissals during London Unity League games in accordance with the Laws of the Game.
It is the responsibility of the referee to inform the League Secretary of any yellow or red cards players have accrued after each match. Home clubs must ensure their appointed referee is aware of this. If a club fails to do so, the League Secretary reserves the right to levy a £20 fine for each instance.
If a player receives a second yellow card in the same match, he will be shown a red card and must leave the field of play. If a player receives a straight red card, the player leaves the field of play. Referees should apply the FA’s ‘sin bin’ rule to deal with dissent.
In respect of rules 18.02 and 18.04, where a player receives a red card with an offence code of S4, S5 or S7, the player is automatically banned from the next competitive London Unity League or cup match.
When the red card offence code is S1 or S6, the player is automatically banned from the next two competitive London Unity League or cup matches.
When the red card offence code is S2 or S3, the player is automatically banned from the next three competitive London Unity League or cup matches.
On receiving three yellow cards in one season, a player will serve a one match ban, applicable to the next London Unity League or cup match. Two sin bin dismissals are equivalent to one yellow card for these purposes.
A player who accrues 5 yellow cards or two straight red cards in a season shall be required to attend a disciplinary hearing held by the Committee or its Appointed Representatives.
In respect of Rule 18.07, the Committee or its Appointed Representatives may impose further sanctions at its absolute discretion, in line with the Disciplinary Section of this document.
All yellow cards for the current season shall expire at the end of the same season, however a record of cautions/dismissals shall be kept on file by the League Secretary, and maybe referred to during any future disciplinary hearing.
Where a player is serving (or is still to serve) a suspension, this will be carried over to the following season.
Where a player is banned or suspended from any other leagues (FA-affiliated or otherwise) the Committee or its Appointed Representatives reserves the right to bar a player from competing in any League or cup match at its absolute discretion, until such time that the suspension has been served.
If a player is issued with a red card, the Committee or its Appointed Representatives reserve the right to investigate the seriousness of the incident and, if necessary, hold a disciplinary meeting to decide whether any further sanction[s] are required.
At its absolute discretion, the Committee or its Appointed Representatives reserve the right to pass on information of any suspensions or bans to other LGBT-friendly leagues, any FA Leagues and any other tournament organiser(s).
Each team shall accrue “points” throughout the season relating to the number of red and yellow cards they receive.
Penalty points per offence are detailed in Rules 19.05 and 19.06
The total number of points over a season shall be tallied up and divided by the number of games that team has played in League & cup matches. This will give the club an “average” fair play score.
The team with the lowest average score shall be awarded with the London Unity League Fair Play Trophy for that season.
For each yellow card or sin bin dismissal, a team shall accrue one disciplinary point.
The following table shall define the points [and fine] each team shall receive for receiving a red card.
Red Cards Points
S1 – Serious Foul Play, 4 + £10 + 2 game ban
S2 – Violent Conduct, 6 + £20 + 3 game ban
S3 – Spitting at an opponent or any other individual, 6 + £30 + 3 game ban
S4/5 – Denies an obvious goalscoring opportunity, 2 + £0 + 1 game ban
S6 Using offensive, insulting or abusive language, 4 + £20 + 2 game ban
S7 Second Cautionable Offence, 1 + £0 + 1 game ban
It is the responsibility of each Club to pay any fine that is payable to the league – responsibility does not lie with the player.
Any fine must be paid within 28 days of being notified by the League Secretary.
Failure to pay any fine as set out above will result in disciplinary action against the representative Club.
Any fines collected shall be allocated to the general running costs of the London Unity League.
Where it is proven, or there is an admission of guilt, of an offence as stipulated in Rule 19.06 – but the match officials did not act upon the offence or issue a Red card during the match – the Committee or its Appointed Representatives at their absolute discretion, may charge a player retrospectively for the offence and proceed with disciplinary proceedings.
It is the responsibility of the referee and a representative from the home club to notify the League Secretary of a match result within 24 hours of the final whistle by whichever method(s) the League Secretary has communicated.
The referee’s notification of the result must also include the details of any players who received a yellow or red card in the match, including the FA offence code for each red card.
The League Secretary reserves the right to impose a £10 fine on the home team if they or their appointed referee fail to notify the League Secretary of match results within 24 hours of the final whistle.
All disciplinary hearings shall be heard by a panel of at least three persons selected from and by the Committee or its Appointed Representatives, and to include and be chaired by the League Secretary and/or Chair.
If the League Secretary and/or Chair is unable to chair a disciplinary hearing, or it is deemed inappropriate for him/her to serve as chair, the Committee or its Appointed Representatives will nominate another individual to chair the meeting.
Any player or team facing disciplinary procedures shall be entitled to make a written or verbal submission to the panel.
The panel shall endeavour to collate as much evidence, written reports, witness statements and any other document(s) ahead of any disciplinary hearing.
The panel shall be wholly responsible for determining any sanctions against any player or club deemed to have breached the Rules of the London Unity League.
The panel has the power to impose (but not be limited to) the following sanctions to any Club or individual player:
a) Written warning to player or Club
b) Suspension of player, to be served or suspended for a period of time.
c) Annulling a result
d) Forfeiting a match
e) Ordering a replay of a match
f) Deducting points from a team
g) Ordering a club to pay the expenses of another Club
h) Relegate a Club to a lower division should the League have more than one division.
This list is not exhaustive.
The Committee reserves the right to remove any Full Member Club or Club participating in any cup which is in breach of the Rules of the London Unity League where this is an appropriate sanction.
There is a right of appeal to any disciplinary decision made by the panel. This must be made in writing to a member of the Committee in writing within 7 days of receipt of the panel decision. The appeal will be considered by the Committee, excluding any member representing a Club that is the subject of the hearing, whose decision shall be final.
The League Secretary shall keep records of all results and disciplinary issues on file and reserves the right to refer to previous records when making disciplinary decisions.