Rules of the South Hockey Mens League
1. Structure of League and Divisions
- The League shall be divided into:
- A Premier Division 1 and two equal Premier 2 divisions, the latter divided geographically each
season by the League Committee.
- Three regional leagues of two sequential divisions each from:
- Middlesex, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire
- Five separate County areas being Hampshire (four divisions), Kent (two divisions),
Sussex (one division), Surrey (three divisions), and Middlesex, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire,
and Oxfordshire (MBBO) (five divisions).
2. Control of League & Rules
- The control of the League shall be vested in the central League Committee ('the Committee')
which may delegate powers to league area secretaries ('relevant secretaries').
- The League Committee shall consist of one member appointed by each of the eight southern
counties and by the Southern Counties Hockey Umpires Association and such committee shall at
its first meeting after the end of every season appoint its officers, being a Chairman,
Secretary, Treasurer, Press Officer, together with a representative to Southern Counties
Hockey Association and secretaries for each division. Five members present shall form a quorum.
- Such members including the appointed members shall have equal votes of those being present with
the Chairman if necessary having a casting vote.
- The Committee shall meet at least five times a year, normally the second Monday in every other
month from January. Secretaries of County Open Leagues shall be invited to committee meetings.
- Changes to the rules may be made by the Committee and normally only between League seasons and
with notice to participating teams.
- The League follows the provisions of the England Hockey Welfare Policy and England Hockey Equity Policy.
3. Eligibility of Teams & Players
- Participating teams must be affiliated to the Southern Counties Hockey Association and to one of its
constituent counties but not necessarily be within its geographical area.
- No team shall play a League match whilst its club for no acceptable reason the same day cancels or does
not play a scheduled league match of a higher team in any league.
- Teams shall comprise up to sixteen of the best available male bona fide full members of their club having
had their thirteenth birthday available on the day and assuming that any higher club team shall have already
been selected from available players, whether or not such higher team/s have fixtures. A player not
available for his normal team shall not be entitled to play that day for a lower team without permission
from the relevant secretary.
- No person shall play on the same day in more than one outdoor adult league match in any league at any level
anywhere unless it be for the same team playing twice or as a goalkeeper under rule 3e and save that in
exceptional circumstances approval may be granted by the officers. In such event and for the purposes of
rule 12b, a person playing first for a higher placed team shall
have breached the rules in only the second match but a person playing first for a lower placed team shall
have breached the rule in both matches and
penalties will apply for both matches. No person may play on a Sunday in a lower team than the one for
which he played the previous day.
- In the event of the selected goalkeeper without prior knowledge or warning becoming unavailable or
incapacitated on the day of the match, another goalkeeper may play two league matches on the same day
provided the relevant league secretary is notified promptly.
- No person may play in a league match after 1st February who has not on or before then
become a bona fide member of and played for the relevant club unless he be playing hockey for the first
time in that season and with prior permission of the relevant secretary. No person may play South League
hockey if he has played during the season league hockey for any other club anywhere worldwide unless he
has made a genuine change of clubs. Any person joining and playing
league hockey for a second club during a league season may have only played league hockey for one other
club during that season and must have made a bona fide change of clubs before 1st February. No change is
permitted after 1st February save in exceptional circumstances with prior approval by the relevant receiving
secretary after consultation with the officers.
- A regular 1st team member who is not selected when such team is playing indoor hockey in place of a normal
league fixture may not that day play in a lower team league.
- Teams playing in Premier Division 1 must comply with the current England Hockey League
rules relating to 'overseas' players.
- A person playing in a 1st XI National League match may not play a second match for another club team in the
South Hockey League in the same week. For this purpose, a week shall be deemed to run from Monday to Sunday
in any one week.
- If a National League 1st XI is not playing, a notional 1st team must be selected which may not play in any
South League match on that day. Additionally on such day no person may play in the 2nd XI who has not played
in 50% of 2nd XI League matches to date.
- No more than two teams from the same club may play in the same division. If potentially caused by relegation
from the division above, a club team in the receiving division shall be relegated. If potentially caused by
promotion from below, that otherwise promoted team shall not be promoted.
- Participating teams must be numbered to reflect their position in their club in numerical standard.
4. League Membership
- Membership is by application and acceptance. It may be refused, suspended or terminated by the Committee
acting in the interests of the League.
Each team by its entry is deemed to have consented to and be bound by the rules of the League and by any
decisions of the Committee.
property of the League. Failure to so so shall render teams and clubs liable to penalties under rule
- The relevant secretary shall arrange and administer League fixtures for his division which, unless agreed by
the Committee, shall consist of twelve teams playing each other twice
- The relevant secretary shall send to each team details of its fixtures for the next season as soon as
practicable and in any event before 1st July.
- League fixtures will normally be played in two equal blocks commencing on the last Saturday in September and the
second Saturday in January and within those periods for divisions having less than twelve teams. The following
Saturday for the first block and the following two for the second block will be used as slip dates which shall
- Notwithstanding rule 5c, Universities if applying in good time will
be granted a postponement of any match on the first league date which fixture must then be played on or before
the week after the first league block. Further, universities may apply to the relevant league secretary for
postponement or preponement of any other match outside its university term which application will normally be
granted if made in good time.
6. Matches and Condition of Play
- All matches shall be played in accordance with the rules of hockey as approved by England Hockey.
- The home team shall be responsible for the provision of an adequate supply of suitable hockey balls for each
- Each team player shall wear a shirt bearing in the centre of the back in Arabic/English numbers of at least
nine inches (23 centimetres) in height and contrasting in colour to the shirt clearly visible to relevant officials
with no two players wearing the
same number. Returning substitutes shall wear the same number previously used by them. Breaches of this rule
shall normally incur a fine of £10 per shirt up to a maximum of £50 for a whole team.
- In the event of a potential clash of colours of shirts and/or socks, unless otherwise agreed, the away team
- All matches shall be played on acceptable artificial pitches. Floodlights may be used if acceptable to the
appointing umpiring association.
- A match may be started at any time between 10.00 am and 4.30 pm provided that no team is required to leave
its home area before 9.00 am or arrive back after 7.30 pm or 6.30 pm on Sundays after adding thirty minutes
to the estimated normal travelling time.
- Games shall have a duration of 35 minutes in each half but if for good reason time is restricted, teams
may agree a shortened playing time period for a game but not less than 50 minutes in total.
- The minimum number of players to start or continue a game shall be eight. Players injured or suspended during a
game shall be counted as part of that number. However teams are expected to field a minimum of eleven players and
penalties may apply if they do not, particularly if lower teams play with full numbers.
- If a member of a team bench is removed or suspended by an umpire (other than by green card), a playing member of
the relevant team must be similarly removed or suspended.
- Each home team shall notify the opposing team contact person as soon as possible the match time and venue and
in any event more than ten days before the match.
- Once such notice has been given, no change may be made without the consent of both teams (or, in exceptional
circumstances, at the direction of the relevant secretary) and, if relevant, the consent of the appointing
- The result or non-playing of each match, and if required the names of the goalscorers, shall be speedily notified
in accordance with any directions of the relevant secretary. Failure to do so will normally result in a financial
- Notification of results shall be by publication on the League website.
- Inter-club communication by acknowledged e-mail shall be acceptable for all League purposes.
- Teams wishing to join or withdraw from the League shall give notice to the relevant secretary by 1st May for the
- Each team shall advise the relevant secretary of a designated contact person for that team.
- If so required by the relevant secretary or by the League Committee, teams must complete,
sign and submit match team sheets with match result and return as directed:
- teams or their club must provide the names of their players in any particular league match and/or the name
and contact number of any umpire appointed by their club to a league match
- clubs must supply the names of all players representing that club and when necessary supply details of any
additional members as and when they join
- teams in Premier Division 1 must complete and sign match team sheets with match result and return as directed.
In all other divisions, secretaries may direct similarly if wished.
- Relevant league secretaries may require match team sheets from another division with the consent of the
secretary of such other division.
- Teams down to County Divisions 2 must make application for an appointed umpire as directed by any relevant umpires
association that normally appoints.
- If an appointed umpire is not present at the starting time of a game then that game may, if practicable, be delayed
for up to thirty minutes or longer, if both captains agree, if it is known that the umpire will be arriving.
- In Premier and Regional Divisions, if an appointed umpire fails to arrive or is unable to continue, the match shall
be postponed unless both captains agree replacement umpire/s.
- In county divisions, if an appointed or arranged umpire fails to arrive or is unable to continue, a replacement must
be agreed failing which the home team must nominate a player to umpire in which event the away team must also withdraw
a player if necessary to equalize playing numbers on the pitch.
- If no umpires can be appointed or withdraw before the game each team must appoint their own. In all divisions they
must be at least on the active England Hockey Level One Register and insured.
- If an Umpires Association can only appoint one umpire to a match, the other must be supplied by the home team unless
- Neither umpire may be changed during a game except in the case of illness or injury to the umpire.
9. Postponement or Abandonment
- In the event of a team having more than two members of its League squad over 18 on the 1st day of September in the
relevant season playing in national/international EH events, that team may request of the relevant secretary a
postponement of its match.
- Save for the purposes of rules 5d and
9a or if in extreme circumstances approved by the officers of the
League after application through the relevant secretary, a League fixture may only be postponed due to adverse
weather or ground conditions, the captain or in his absence an official of the home team having the sole right
to determine whether weather or ground conditions make play impossible. Additionally, relevant secretaries shall
have the power, after consultation with a League Officer, to allow postponement if severe travelling problems
would be caused by a national England Hockey fixture the following day. Such powers shall not apply if the League
team has the option of playing the relevant England Hockey fixture at its home ground. In such event notice shall
be given immediately to the opposing team, the umpires and the relevant secretary.
- A match may only be abandoned once it has started by the unanimous decision of both umpires and the captains of both
teams shall be deemed to have transferred their powers in this respect to the umpires jointly. The umpires are requested
to advise the captains and if required the relevant league secretary of the reason for their decision.
- Any match postponed or abandoned shall be played on a subsequent date normally the spare league date or as agreed between
both teams or in default of agreement as directed by the relevant secretary. A match postponed or abandoned in the first
block must, save in exceptional circumstances, be played or replayed before commencement of the second block. A match
postponed or abandoned in the second block, unless played before and save in exceptional circumstances, must be played or
replayed on the Saturday following the last normal league date.
- Any day of the week may be used if both teams consent and, if required by these rules, appointed umpires are available.
- Notwithstanding Rules 9c and
the relevant secretary may make such directions as he considers fit as to the outcome of an abandoned match.
- Teams failing to fulfil three or more scheduled fixtures in the same season shall, save in exceptional circumstances, have
their results deleted and be treated as relegated teams. They shall be readmitted in next or subsequent seasons only if
satisfactory assurances are given as to their ability to fulfill future fixtures.
10. Position in League
- Three points shall be awarded for a win and one for a draw. League position shall be determined by points awarded
followed by goal difference, followed by goals scored. If teams still be equal, there shall be a play-off.
11. Promotion & Relegation
- Subject to 11b, c and d, at the end of every season there shall be:
- one promotion and two relegations from Premier Division 1 together with one promotions and one relegation
from each Premier Division 2
- one promotion and two relegations from each Regional Division 1
- two promotions and two relegations from each Regional Division 2
- one promotion from each of Hampshire, Kent, Surrey and Sussex County Divisions 1 and two from MBBO
- two promotions and relegations between County Area Divisions, the lowest County Area Division relegating into
the relevant county run league below it
There shall be additional or fewer relegations in relevant divisions dependent upon the number of relegated teams
received by them provided that the team finishing last in a division shall always be relegated. Teams dropping out
or having their results deleted being treated as relegated teams.
If a team shall decline to take promotion, such opportunity shall be offered to the next finishing team. If that
team also declines promotion then a decision as to an alternative promotion or reduced relegation shall be in the
discretion of the relevant two secretaries and in default of agreement, shall be referred to the officers for
- The two teams finishing second in the two Premier Divisions 2 together with the lowest finishing otherwise
non-relegated team in Premier Division 1 shall at the end of the season compete in a play-off as directed by
the League Committee. The winner of such play-off shall take the place in Premier Division 1 of the otherwise
non-relegated team. The play-offs shall normally take place over three dates with each team playing each other
once in one home and one away match. (Outcome calculated as per rule 10)
- Depending upon the number of teams relegated from the National League to the South League there shall be
additional relegations from the two Premier Divisions 2. If the number of relegated teams is an odd number
there shall be a play-off between the two teams finishing as potentially relegated in equal places in the two
Premier Divisions 2. The play-offs shall take place over two dates with each team playing the other twice in
one home and one away match with the losing team relegated. If the number of teams is even there shall be
additional relegations without play-offs.
- The two teams finishing second in Divisions 1 of Hampshire and Surrey and Kent and Sussex shall at the end of the
League season play each other as directed by the League Committee for a place in the Hampshire/Surrey Regional and
Kent/Sussex Regional League.
- Any team withdrawing or being expelled or suspended from the League before 1st May shall be deemed to be a relegated
team in its relevant division so that there shall be one less relegated team in lower divisions.
- Any team may refuse promotion provided that it gives notice to the relevant secretary before 1st April, in which
event its place shall be offered to the team next qualified but not necessarily further.
- Notwithstanding the rules herein set out the Committee may in its sole discretion before the commencement of any
season vary the teams in any division.
12. Breach of Rules
- If a team so conducts itself or its administration such that a match cannot be played or completed in accordance
with these rules, the Rules of Hockey or of England Hockey, then that team shall suffer a mandatory deduction of
three points and the match shall be played at a later date as directed by the relevant secretary. Additional
financial penalties will normally be imposed.
- If a match is completed or abandoned but a team is subsequently found to have played an ineligible or suspended
player then that team shall suffer a mandatory loss by 3-0 or the actual score if a higher or equal winning goal
difference results (with the opposing team deemed to have won the match by the same score). The offending team
shall additionally be deducted three points. Additional financial penalties will normally be imposed.
- In these circumstances and all the breaches of South Hockey League rules, the Committee or relevant secretary may
impose with additional penalties or make such directions as are suitable including a fine of up to £250 and a
liability for the costs of the opposition. Additionally the Committee may impose loss of points, suspension or
expulsion from the League.
13. Protest & Appeals
- Protest or appeals may only be made by participating teams or clubs.
- Protest or objections to the relevant secretary must be lodged within seven days of the relevant match or
occurrence or of the time when the circumstances became known to the complainant. A secretary having a conflict
of interest may refer the matter to another secretary.
- A team may appeal through the Secretary to the Committee against the decision of a secretary within fourteen
days of notification of such decision and upon deposit of £100 payable to the South Hockey League which may be
returned in whole or in part at the discretion of the appeal committee.
- The Secretary shall in his sole discretion refer the appeal to the full committee or to a committee of three
persons appointed by him and shall act as secretary to such committee.
- The appeal committee shall act with expedition and in its own discretion hold an oral or written appeal. The
decision of the appeal committee shall be final.
- An appeal committee may vary in any way the decision which is the subject of an appeal.
- All teams shall pay a subscription as determined by the Committee due on publication of fixtures each season
(currently £25). If not paid, such subscription will increase by £10 on 1st November and a further £15 on 1st
December. Any team not having paid by the commencement of the second block shall automatically be suspended
from the League which will require a fee of £25 to readmit such team to membership.
- The accounts of the League shall be independently scrutinised.
- Cups for League winners shall remain the property of the League and if presented must be returned to the relevant
league official by the end of the following season. Any damage or loss shall be the liability of the relevant club
until returned to the League.
- The League shall indemnify its committee members and any person appointed by and acting on behalf of the League
against any claim which may arise from any action taken with the authority of the League.
- In the event of the League being dissolved, then all of its remaining assets, after discharging all liabilities,
shall be distributed by the officers to any non-profit making body having in their opinion similar objectives or in
their discretion distributed amongst its member clubs at the time according to the numbers of teams that they have
in the league at that time, provided that such teams shall have been members for at least the five preceding years.