Youth Cup Rules – S7


New look competition

This season’s Youth competition is going to be a little bit different to previous seasons.

We will still have two stages:

  1. Group stage
  2. Knockout stage

Group stage

Traditionally, teams are seeded by average player ratings into groups so that there is one strong team in every group, one weak team, and four somewhere in between. This arrangement virtually guarantees that the strong teams qualify and the weak teams get thrashed in every game, rendering many games meaningless and dull.
This season, we are going to put all the best teams together in one elite group, and all the weakest teams together in another not-so-elite group, and the rest in between. 
All the groups, therefore, will contain six teams who are relatively evenly matched in terms of their average player ratings. 
This should make for many more competitive games for all teams. Some of the stronger teams will fail to qualify for the knockout stages of the Cup, but some of the weaker teams who win their groups will qualify. 
The Group fixtures will start on Saturday 20 January, and will be played every following Saturday to complete 10 home and away fixtures on Saturday 24 March.

Knockout stage

Stage 2, the knockout rounds, has traditionally comprised of seeded Cup and Shield competitions, with the best placed group teams (usually the strongest teams) getting byes and home draws in the Cup, and the best of some of the rest competing for the Shield.
This season, we will continue with that format, except that the draws will not be seeded, they will be random, like the FA Cup.

The Youth Cup

The knockout rounds for the Youth Cup will begin on Saturday 31 March:
  1. Round of Sixteen. One-legged ties. Losers go into the second round draw of the Youth Shield (see below).
  2. Round of Eight. Two-legged ties. Losers are knocked out.
  3. Semi-Finals. Two-legged ties.
  4. Final, over two legs, on 5 and 12 May.

The Youth Shield

The format for the Youth Shield will be as follows:
  1. Round of Sixteen. One-legged ties. Losers go into the second round draw of the Youth Spoon.
  2. Round of Sixteen Again. One-legged ties. Includes losers from first round of the Youth Cup.
  3. Round of Eight. One-legged ties. Losers are out.
  4. Semi-Finals. Two-legged ties.
  5. Final. Two-legged tie.

The Youth Spoon

We will also introduce a new third trophy, the Youth Spoon, for those teams who failed to qualify for the Cup or Shield, to give them something to play for after the completion of the group games.
  1. Round of Sixteen. One-legged ties. Losers are out.
  2. Round of Sixteen Again. One-legged ties. Includes losers from first round of the Youth Shield.
  3. Round of Eight. One-legged ties. Losers are out.
  4. Semi-Finals. Two-legged ties.
  5. Final. Two-legged tie.

Eligibility of Players

All players must be 21 or under on 31st December 2017. 
Any player who turns 22 on 1 January 2018 or after, therefore, is eligible to play.

Loans

You can loan players to or from other clubs as normal, either for the season, or just to play in Youth Cup/Shield/Spoon Group and Knockout stages.

Once the Group Stage is complete, no new loans are allowed.

Penalties for playing overage players

All teams will be checked for overage players, and it’s a good idea if opposing managers can do this for each of their games to help out.
If you play an overage player or players, you will automatically forfeit the game and a loss of 0-3 will be recorded against your team and a 3-0 win in favour of your opponent. 

You will no longer receive a 1 point deduction as in previous seasons. 
If you have Gold Membership, you can save your Youth Team and First Team, which makes team selection less of a headache. 
Group Admins will send out reminders to managers, but at the end of the day it is down to individual managers to select their teams appropriately.

Penalties for failing to arrange fixtures

It is the responsibility of both home and away teams to arrange their fixtures. Obviously, the home team has to send out a friendly request to the away team. But the away team is expected to contact the home team to remind them or ask them to resend the invite if necessary, and to do so at least 24 hours before kick-off, so there is time to see the message and act on it. Similarly, the home team should contact the away team to remind them to accept the invite, if necessary.
Group Admins will also endeavour to remind managers to send out or respond to invites, but ultimately, it is down to individual managers. It is all part of managing a team in this Game World.
If you forget or otherwise fail to arrange your fixtures, you will automatically forfeit the game and a loss of 0-3 will be recorded against your team.
If your opponent also forgets or otherwise fails to contact you to remind you or ask you to resend or accept the invite at least 24 hours before kick-off, they will also forfeit the game 0-3. If they can show that contacted you to remind you, etc., they will be awarded a 3-0 win.

Fictional Extra Time

In the knockout stage, if the scores are level at full-time (and over two legs, if the scores are level taking into account away goals advantage), Fictional Extra Time comes into play:
  1. One goal scored for the team with most possession.
  2. One goal scored for the team with the most shots on target.
  3. One goal scored for the team who scored first in normal time.

Other rules

That’s pretty much it, other than to say that as I’m organising the competition this season, I will have the final say on any other disputes. I will endeavour to do so fairly and to consult with Frank, Stephen, Dan and/or others before making a decision.

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