Tournament Rules



2019- 2020


ARTICLE 1.0 –TITLE – ABFA 2019/2020 SEASON 03



1.The competitions of the Antigua & Barbuda Football Association (ABFA) are embodied in the association’s statues.
2. They are played as follows:
a. Men’s League – divided in divisions
b. Women’s League
c. President Knock-Out Cup (Men & Women)
d. Youth Leagues – (Boys & Girls)
e. Charity Shield – (Men & Women)
f. Any other Competition deemed necessary by the Competitions Committee and approved by the Executive Committee.
3. The ABFA Executive Committee confirms the period October 2019 to July 2020 as the period within which the 2019/2020 season will be played.
4. All rights which are not ceded by these regulations to a participating Club either singularly or as a participating group shall belong to ABFA.

Article 1.0 – TITLE – ABFA 2019/2020 SEASON

1.1 The ABFA competitions are organized annually as prescribed by statue. Member clubs are obligated to participate.
1.2 All matches shall be played in accordance with the Laws of the Game laid down by the International Football Association Board and published by F.I.F.A.
1.3 A representative of the ABFA will present the winners of each competition with the respective trophies, which remain the property of the ABFA but may be kept until the opening day of the new season.
1.4 The winners shall be responsible for the loss of or damage to any of the ABFA trophies in their possession and shall return them in perfect condition. The ABFA is responsible for engraving all championship trophies and will issue guideline for their use.

Article 2.0 – ENTRIES

2.1 As a rule, every club affiliated to the ABFA who has been issued a 2019/2020 club license or registered with the ABFA shall participate in the 2019/2020 football season.
2.2 The member club shall complete and send entry forms to the secretariat by the deadline stipulated in Article 3.0. Only the entry forms received by the secretariat will be valid and taken into consideration.
2.3 Only original entry forms accompanied by the appropriate fee (see Art. 3.0) and presented to the secretariat will be valid.
2.4 On completion of all entry requirements, the participating clubs shall automatically undertake:
a) To observe the rules/regulations and the decisions of the ABFA and its relevant bodies.
b) To accept that all administrative, disciplinary and refereeing matters connected with the season be settled by the ABFA in compliance with the Statues.
c) To observe the principles of Fair Play.
d) To accept the use, records and broadcast of the images of players and officials that may appear in connection with the season.

Article 3.0 – REGISTRATION

3.1 The deadlines for entries for the senior men’s’ league competitions are:-
i) 31st September (in any given year) for Clubs. The ABFA may issued an extension if needed in accordance to the start of the season.
ii) Local players who are not attached with any club are allowed to register throughout the year. (clubs are required to register a minimum of 18 players by the start of their league).
iii) All registration must be done through the FIFA Connect System Online.
3.2 Each entry shall be accompanied by the following non-refundable annual membership fees:
3. Club Subscription $1000.00
4. Club Membership $ 200.00
5. Player Insurance $ 40.00 per player
6. International Amateur Players $250.00 per player
7. International Professional Players $300.00 per player

3.3 Payment procedures are as follows:
1. Pay monies into the ABFA account # 5106635 at the ECAB Bank.
2. Take bank deposit slip along with the official ABFA registration form to the secretariat.
3. Collect a receipt from the secretariat as proof of payment for registration/membership dues. The ABFA will not sanction any club or player in any competition until such club or player has complied with the requirements of registration.
3.4 Additional registration of player(s) can be done at any time during the season providing:-
a) The player is not registered with any other club (local or overseas).However, their registration must be completed twenty-four (24) hrs before they are eligible to play an official game.
b) The procedures laid out in Article 3.3 are adhered to.
3.5 The Executive Committee may, if it deems it necessary, extend these dates. Only entries reaching the Secretariat of the ABFA by the deadline dates set shall be taken into consideration.
3.6 Entry dates and registration procedures for other competitions will be stipulated by the Secretariat prior to their commencement.


4.1 The Executive Committee through the Competitions Committee is responsible for the circulation of all fixtures. They shall set the dates, venues and kick-off times for all matches.
4.2 Each club shall be allowed a minimum rest period of 40 hours between each match.
4.3 In the Premier Division league, except by decision of the Competitions Committee, all matches shall be played at the Antigua Recreation Grounds.
4.4 Matches in all other Divisions will be played at the venues to be determined by the Competitions Committee.
4.5 ABFA will be responsible for the preparation of the pitches where games are scheduled to include the marking and cutting. The teams are responsible for the erection of goals with nets and corner flags.
4.6 Home teams in the First & Second Division who do not comply with rule 4.5 will be liable to pay a cost of $100.00 to the ABFA on or before the team next schedule match.If the amount remains unpaid for two (2) weeks th team may be disqualified from taking any further part in the competition.
4.7 Where the home team considers its pitch unfit to play, the secretariat shall be informed at least 48 hours before kick-off time. The secretariat shall, within 36 hours before the scheduled kickoff, either reschedule the match or advise both teams of a new venue and kick-off time.
4.8 Games scheduled at venues which have lights approved by the Competitions Committee will have kick-off times reflecting this amenity.
4.9 A grace period of fifteen (15) minutes after the scheduled kick-off time will be allowed.

Article 5.0 – SYSTEMS OF PLAY

5.1 All Division will be played over two (2) rounds. The Second Division will be divided into two (2) zones. All other competitions’ formats will be determined by the Competitions Committee.

5.2 .In the league play system, teams will be awarded three (3) points for a victory, One (1) point for a draw and zero (0) points for a loss.
5.3 In all play-off games, in the event that the score is tied after full time, thirty (30) minutes of extra time (two equal half’s of fifteen minutes) will be played. In the event that after extra time that the scores are still tied, penalty kicks will be taken to determine the winners. The Best of Five format will be used followed by sudden death if still tied.
5.4 In the Premier Division, the two teams finishing the season in positions nine (9) and ten (10) will automatically be demoted to the first division.
5.4.1 The team finishing in position eight (8) will enter a round robin play off with teams finishing in positions three (3) and four (4) in the First Division.
5.4.2 The winner of this play off will play in the Premier Division in the next season.

5.4.3 If the winner is not team eight (8) of the Premier Division, then team eight (8) will also be relegated to the First Division.

5.5 In the First Division, the teams finishing in positions One (1) and Two (2) will automatically gain promotion to the Premier Division for the next season. Teams finishing in position Three (3) and Four (4) will enter into a play-off with the eight (8th) placed team of the Premier Division.

5.5.1 Teams finishing in positions eleven (11) and twelve (12) will
automatically be demoted to the Second Division.
5.5.2 The team finishing in the tenth (10th) position of the First Division
will enter into a round robin play-off with the two teams finishing in the 2nd positions in each zone of the 2nd Division.
5.5.3 The winner of this playoff will gain promotion to the First Division for the next season.
5.5.4 In the event that the winner of this play-off is not the Tenth (10th)
Placed team of the First Division, then the 10th place team will also be demoted to the Second Division for the next season.

5.6 In the Second Division, the teams will be placed into two (2) groups/zones. The teams will play two (2) rounds of a round robin format.

5.6.1 The teams finishing in first position in both zones will automatically qualify for promotion to Division 1 of the next season.
5.6.2 The teams finishing in second position in both zones will automatically enter into the play-off with the 10th placed team of the 1st Division.
5.6.3 To determine the Champions of the 2nd Division, the two teams finishing in the first place position in each zone will play a one off game to determine the Champion of that division.
5.6.4 The 3rd and 4th place positions will be determined by the winner of the play-off game involving the two second placed teams from each zone.
5.7 In the league system, the final rankings of the clubs shall be determined as follows:
1. Greater number of points
2. Greater Goal difference
3. Greater number of goals scored
If two or more teams are equal on the basis of the above criteria, their places shall be determined as follows:
a. Greater number of points obtained in matches between the teams
b. Goal difference resulting from the matches between the teams
c. Greater number of goals scored in the matches between the teams
d. A play-off.
5.8 If a match is interrupted before the completion of normal playing time or extra time because of extreme weather or for reasons outside the control of the ABFA or the home team, a replay of the match shall be arranged
5.9 If a match is interrupted before the completion of normal time or extra time because of crowd interference/violence, a full report of the incident shall be sent to the Executive Committee of the ABFA by the referee within 48 hours of the game. The Disciplinary Committee shall rule on the matter and might impose singularly or in combination any of the following sanctions.
1. a replay
2. Awarding full match points to one team
3. Suspend player and/or team officials
4. Recommend legal action against spectators
5.10 Each competing team and game official should arrive at the scheduled venue at least one half of an hour (½ Hr) before the scheduled kick-off.
5.11 If a team does not report for a match (except in case of force majeure recognized by the Executive Committee) or if it refused to continue to play or leaves the ground before the end of the match, the team shall be considered as having lost the match and three (3) points shall be awarded to the opponents with a score 3-0.
5.11.1 In the case of such an abandoned match and the winning team has already
reached a higher goal difference at the time of the abandonment, the higher goal difference will be applied.
5.11.2 The guilty team shall, as a general rule, be subjected to disciplinary action as
recommended by the Disciplinary Committee which may include exclusion from further participation in the competition.
5.12 The ABFA shall provide each club with an official match form. Clubs are responsible to make copies of this form for all their games.
5.13 All match forms, duly completed and accompanied with Player IDs must be presented to the Match Commissioner or the referee (where there is no Match Commissioner) no later than 10 minutes before the scheduled kick-off time.
5.14 No player/team official will be allowed to participate in a game without presenting his/her ID to either the Match Commissioner or the Referee or a waiver granted by the secretariat.


6.1 A player who receives a second caution during any game shall be shown the red Card and result in that player automatic suspension for the next game for his team.
6.2 Where a player received three consecutive cautions in the tournament he will be automatically suspended from the next game. This process will be repeated.
6.3 Misconduct against opponents or other persons other than match officials

6.3.1 Recipients of a direct red card shall be suspended as follows:
i) One match for denying the opposing team a clear goal-scoring opportunity (particularly by deliberately handling the ball);
ii) One match for serious foul play (particularly in the case of excessive or brute force);
iii) One match for unsporting conduct towards an opponent or a person other than a match official;
iv) Two matches for assaulting (elbowing, punching, kicking) an opponent or person other than the match official
v) Penalty for spitting on an opponent or a person other than a match official will be determined by the Disciplinary Committee.

6.4 Misconduct against match officials

6.4.1 Including the automatic suspension imposed on any person receiving a direct red card shall:
i) At least four matches for unsporting conduct towards a match official
ii) At least six months for assaulting (elbowing, punching, kicking) a match official
iii) At least 12 months for spitting at a match official

6.5 Brawls

6.5.1 Involvement in a brawl is sanctioned with a suspension for at least six matches.
6.5.2 Anyone who has tried merely to prevent a fight, shield others or separate those involved in a brawl is not subject to punishment.
6.5.3 The ABFA reserves the right to refer all matters to the Disciplinary Committ


7.1 The ABFA’s Disciplinary Committee may sanction any team, their players, officials and members, any person carrying out duties at the match on behalf of the team for any breach of the ABFA’s Statues, Regulations and Instructions, or any violation of the decisions reached by a body of the ABFA, or for any action violating the spirit of the letter of the Laws of the Game in connection with matches played during the season.
7.2 Teams will be informed of any sanctions imposed.
7.3 Teams shall undertake to ensure that the disciplinary measures imposed by the committee are implemented.

When taking decisions, the Disciplinary Committee shall refer to the reports made by the referee, assistant referee and other ABFA officials present. It may, where possible, refer to television and video recordings. These may be used as evidence, but only as far as the disciplinary aspects of the case being dealt with are concerned and shall not affect the referee decision regarding the facts connected with play.

Appeals against any decision taken by the Disciplinary Committee may be lodged with the Appeals Committee.


8.1 The Appeals Committee shall hear appeals lodged against decisions passed by the Disciplinary Committee within seven (7) days of its submittal.
The procedures to be applied by the Appeals Committee are defined in these Regulations in Article 9.0. These regulations stipulate the deadline to be observed and the fees to be paid.
The Appeals Committee shall reach its decision on the basis of the documents and other means of evidence contained in the Disciplinary Committee file. However, the Appeals Committee may, if necessary, refer to any further evidence, which it considers relevant.
Decisions pronounced by the Appeals Committee shall be irrevocable and binding on all parties concerned.
Any appeal lodged will incur a delay only on financial sanctions.

Article 9.0 – PROTEST/ APPEALS

9.1 Subject to the following provisions, Protest is an objection of any kind connected with the matches organized during the passage of the season.
An Appeal is an objection of any kind connected with the decision of the Disciplinary Committee during the passage of the season.
Unless otherwise stipulated in this article, a Protest shall be first submitted in writing to the General Secretary of the ABFA within 24 Hrs after the match and followed up immediately with a full written report.
In the case of an Appeal, it must be submitted in writing to the General Secretary of the ABFA within 24 Hrs after receiving the decision from the Disciplinary Committee.

A Protest against the eligibility of a player taking part in any match shall be given orally to the referee, not later than one hour after the match in question and to the General Secretary of the ABFA in writing no later than 24 hours after the match.

A Protest against any incident that occurs during a match shall be directed to the referee by the Team Captain immediately after the disputed incident and before play has resumed. The protest shall be confirmed in writing to the General Secretary of the ABFA by the head of the team delegation not later than 24 hours after the match.

Protests/Appeals shall be lodged within the above stipulated time limits; otherwise they will be disregarded.

No Protest may be made against the Referee’s decisions regarding the facts connected with play, such decisions being final.

All Protests/Appeals must be accompanied by a proceeding fee of EC$200.00 in order to be considered.

If an Appeal is lodged the sentence is suspended until the hearing is completed.
If the appeal is successful, 50% of the Appeal Fee will be refunded to the respective club.
If the appeal is unsuccessful, the original sentence plus one will take effect immediately. i.e. if a player is sentenced to a two (2) game suspension, a failed appeal will cause the player to now have a three (3) game suspension. If a player/entity/official is suspended for one (1) year, a failed appeal will increase that sentence to two (2) years. etc


10.1 Each match, except in cases where the referee might decide to play 80 minutes for extenuating purposes, shall last 90 minutes at a minimum with an interval of not more than 15 minutes and not less than 5 minutes.
No game shall be less than 80 minutes.
All matches shall be played in two equal halves.
Artificial lights will be allowed to be used for play at specified venues determined by the Competitions Committee. Their use for conclusion of early starting games is to be encouraged.


11.1 The fields shall have the following dimensions:
Length – not less than 100 yards and not more than 130 yards
Width – not less than 50 yards and not more than 100 yards
11.2 The pitches shall be of generally good condition.
11.3 The footballs chosen for the matches in the season shall conform to the provisions of the FIFA Laws of the Game.


12.1 Twenty (20) players may be included in the starting list for each match (11 selected starters and maximum 9 substitutes). Up to a maximum of five (5) of the nine (9) substitutes may take the place of the selected players at any time during the match. A maximum of fifteen (15) persons will be allowed on the bench.

12.2 Any player registered with any other national association affiliated to FIFA must present to the ABFA an International Transfer Certificate from the respective association to be eligible to participate in the ABFA programs. Such registration where necessary must be implemented under the relevant FIFA regulations pertaining to the International transfers of players.

12.3 Effective for the 2019-2020 season all transfers for Domestic, International Ameteur Registration, and Porfessional Players must be done through the FIFA DTMS and TMS respectively for the Premier & 1st Division Clubs.

12.4 All players, except those serving suspension by their club or who are financially indebted to their club, are eligible for transfer during the Transfer Windows. During this period,
the player is only eligible to play official matches for two clubs.
All transfers for ABFA competitions must be completed within the Transfer Windows. De-registration of the player is effective after 24 hours if the transfer was approved and sign by both the Player and the Club. If signed, by only one party,De-registration is effective 7 days from the date the form was lodged or transfer requested completed online with the ABFA Secretariat (unless a Grievance has been initiated by the player former club).
The ABFA has two (2) transfer windows. They are as follows:-
Window One (1) (International & Local) ~ 1st September – 27th October 2019
Window Two (2) (International & Local) ~ 1st January – 31st January 2020

12.5 Administrative transfer fees are payable as follows to the ABFA:
From the 1st or 2nd Division to the Premier Division – EC$175.00
From 2nd Division to 1st Division – $150.00
From 1st Division to 2nd Division – EC$125.00
From the Premier Division to 1st or 2nd Division – EC$100.00
Within the same division – EC$100.00
From clubs outside of Antigua/Barbuda to any division – $250.00

All transfers request must be submitted to the General Secretary as follows:-
i. Complete the Official ABFA Player transfer Form
ii. Provide proof of the requisite administrative transfer fees. (Bank receipt)

All transactions must be fully completed between the clubs and the ABFA before
the transferred player is eligible to play for his new club.


13.1 Doping is prohibited.
13.2 Doping is the use of certain substances or methods capable of artificially enhancing the physical and/or mental capacity of a player, with a view to improving his athletic or mental performances.
13.3 Every club taking part in the season shall pledge to comply with the Doping Regulations as stipulated by FIFA.
13.4 The ABFA reserves the right to carry out:
i. Random doping tests during the season on any player or official of any team.
ii. Random doping tests on any referee, assistant referee or fourth official.
13.5 Any player or team that refuses to undergo a doping test or falsifies the results of a tool or attempts to do so or is found guilty of having taken prohibited substances, whether intentionally or not shall be referred to the Executive Committee and severely punished by the Disciplinary Committee in accordance with WADA and FIFA Doping regulations.
13.6 The prohibited substances are those listed in the FIFA Regulations – Doping Control for FIFA Competitions and Out of Competition. This may be down loaded from or ask the secretariat for a copy if required.


14.1 Each club shall register two (2) sets of uniforms.
14.2 The reserved outfit shall be noticeably different from and contrast with the colors of the official outfit (shirt, short, socks). The reserve outfit shall be taken to every match.
14.3 If, in the opinion of the referee, the colors worn by two opposing teams might cause confusion, they shall be modified using the entire reserve outfit or a combination of both.
14.4 The goalkeepers shall wear colors contrasting with those of the two teams and the referee.
14.5 If thermal shorts, tights or bicycle shots are worn, they shall be the same color of the shorts.
14.6 Every player shall wear a number. The color of the number shall contrast clearly with the outfits (light on dark and vice versa) and be legible from a distance for spectators in the venue and for television viewers. This applies especially in the case of stripe shirts.
14.7 Numbers shall measure between 25cm and 35cm in height in the center of
the back of the shirt, between 10 cm and 15 cm in height in any position in the front of either leg of the shorts.
14.8 Advertising is permitted on shirts only, providing it complies with the following specifications and is limited to a club’s sponsor:
i. An area not exceeding 7.5cm on the front of the shirt.
ii. Sleeve logos/advertising not exceeding an area of 6cm on either sleeve of the shirt.
14.9 Where there is a clash of colors, the team appearing second on the fixture (The Away Team) shall change.


15.1 A referee, two assistant referees and where possible a fourth official shall be appointed for each league match.
15.2 The referees, assistant referees and where possible fourth officials, where appointed, shall be affiliated to the Antigua and Barbuda Football Association (ABFA) or identified by the ABFA.
15.3 The referees, assistant referees and fourth officials shall be appointed by the Referee’s Committee.
15.4 Any appointment of the Referee’s Committee is final and not subject to appeal.
15.5 If a referee or one of his assistants is prevented from carrying out his duties before or during a match as a result of injury, indispositions, etc., he shall be replaced by the fourth official, where appointed, or by another person selected by the Referee Committee.
15.6 After each match, the referee shall fill-in an official ABFA Match Report Form. The report must be forwarded to the secretariat within 24 hours of the game. On the report form, the referee shall note all occurrences before, during and after the match with as much details as possible, such as:
i. Misconduct of players leading to caution or expulsion;
ii. Unsporting behavior of officials, supporters and any person acting on behalf of a club;
iii. Any other incidents.
15.8 No referee, assistant referee or fourth official shall give neither pre nor post match interviews or media reports on any matters surrounding ABFA competitions.

Article 16.0 – MATCH OFFICIALS

16.1 The ABFA will seek to engage Match Coordinators and Match Commissioners at every Premier Division Game and those First and Second Division Games that are played at fenced grounds.
16.2 Match Officials will be appointed and scheduled by the Secretariat of the ABFA. Their caliber will be one of which they have a full awareness of the Laws of the game, the Competition rules and display a behavioral principle of objectivity on all matters and situations.
16.4 The Match Commisoner is the principle representative of the ABFA at the Match. His/Her decisions are final for that game. The role requires him or her to be constantly alert to all incidents and comments concerning the game.
16.5 The Match Coordinator is the person responsible for all administrative matters of the game.
16.6 The Match Commissioner will perform in conjunction with the Match Coordinator and Referees (as laid out in the FIFA guideline for Match Officials) and the Team’s management for the smooth running of the game’s proceedings including punctuality in accordance with the match Count Down.
16.7 The Match Coordinator will conduct verification of all Players and Team officials ID, Inspect the stadium and conduct official briefing to teams alongside the Fourth Official.
16.8 The overall image of the Game will be the responsibility of the Match Coordinator.
16.9 The Match Commissioner is the chief communicator to the media on all matters of the game.
16.10 The Match Commissioner will make an official report to the ABFA, within 12 hours after the game, on all aspects of the game using the official report format. In this connection the Match Commissioner will coordinate the information and verify the statistics with the referee or his designate.


Organizers of all Leagues and other tournaments sanctioned by the ABFA must provide the ABFA with relevant tournament rules, fixtures, and other material relevant to the conduct of the tournament/leagues.Failure to comply with this Rule will result in a disciplinary action/penalty against the offending party/parties.


18.1 Prize monies shall be paid as follows:

Premier Division
Champion $ 30,000.00
1st Runner-Up $ 20,000.00
2nd Runner-Up $ 17,000.00
Team Win $ 1, 000.00
Team Draw $ 500.00

1st Division
Champion $ 10,000.00
1st Runner-Up $ 6,500.00
2nd Runner-Up $ 5,000.00

2nd Division
Champion $ 7,000.00
1st Runner-Up $ 5,000.00
2nd Runner-Up $ 4,500.00

Female Division
Champion $ 3,500.00
1st Runner-Up $ 2,500.00
2nd Runner-Up $ 1000.00

Article 19.0 – SPECIAL AWARDS

19.1 The following awards shall be presented during the annual awards and presentation ceremony:
1. Fair Play Trophy
2. Golden Boot (by division)
3. MVP by Division
4. Golden Ball – Footballer of the Year
5. Coach of the Year
6. Manager of the Year
7. Young Player of the Year
8. Any other award deemed necessary by the Executive Committee. In the event of a tie in 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 there shall be a second round of voting to include only those that are in the tie. In the event there is still a tie lots shall be drawn to determine the winner.


20.1 All clubs participating in the 2019/2020 season shall undertake to comply fully with the regulations and decisions taken by the ABFA, Referees Committee, Disciplinary Committee and Appeals Committee.

20.2 All Premier Division Clubs must be present their Coach and Or manger and a player
To the Post Game Interview area to be Interviewed after every Premier Division Game.

20.3 All First ad Second Division Clubs must be present their Coach and Or manger and a player to a Post Game Interview after each game when requested to do so by the ABFA.

20.4 All Premier Division Clubs must attend a Match Coordination meeting, and or provise the requisite Information to Team colors to the Match Coordinators or Secretrariat on Thursdays and Fridays or any other day before Match days.

20.5 Failure to adhere to the above provisions may result in a Fine or Deductions of Points.


21.1 Matters not provided for in these regulations and case of force majeure shall be decided by the Executive Committee of the ABFA under the advice of the Competitions Committee. 

Leave a Reply