2.9.1 In the event that any Club which resolves to transfer its membership of the Competition from one legal entity to a different legal entity, other than in the circumstances shown at 2.9.2 below, the Board will use the following minimum criteria in deciding whether to approve that transfer:
- (a) The shareholders or members of the Club have voted to agree to the transfer of the Club’s membership to the new entity.
- (b) All Football Creditors in the Club must be paid in full or transferred in full (with each creditor’s consent) to the new entity, and evidenced as such.
- (c) All other creditors in the Club must be paid in full or Secured or transferred in full (with each creditor’s consent) to the new entity and evidenced as such.
- (d) The proposed new entity has provided financial forecasts to The FA and the Competition showing its ability to fund the Club for the next twelve (12) months or to the end of the Playing Season following transfer (whichever is the longer) and that evidence of funding sources has been provided.
- (e) The FA must have given approval for the transfer to take place.
2.9.2 In the event that any Club that is subject to an Insolvency Event resolves to transfer its membership of the Competition to a new entity, the Board will use the following minimum criteria in deciding whether or not to approve that transfer:
- (a) The shareholders or members of the Club have voted to agree to the transfer of the Club’s membership to the new entity and/or a licensed insolvency practitioner(s) appointed to the Club has agreed to sell or transfer some or all of the Club’s assets to the new entity;
- (b) All Football Creditors in the Club must be Paid in Full and evidenced as such;
- (c) The proposed new entity has provided financial forecasts to The FA and the Competition showing its ability to fund the Club for the next twelve (12) months or to the end of the Playing Season following transfer (whichever is the longer) and that evidence of funding sources has been provided;
- (d) The FA must have given approval for the transfer to take place; and
- (e) All other creditors in the Club must be satisfied and evidenced as such (This provision to be read in conjunction with 2.9.3 below.)
In the event that requirement (a) and/or (e) is not fully complied with, and only where the Board, at its absolute discretion, deems there to have been exceptional circumstances surrounding the application for the transfer, it may approve the transfer (subject to compliance with all other provisions above) and may apply such conditions as it deems appropriate including, without limitation, the deduction of points.
2.9.3 Nothing in Rule 2.9.2 above shall limit in any way the application of Rule 14B of these Rules.
2.10 The Competition shall allow for up to 66 member Clubs. There will be three divisions of 22 Clubs in each division where possible. The divisions will be called Premier; One; & Two. The Clubs competing in each division each season will be confirmed by the Annual General Meeting of the Competition each year. A Club entered into membership at the Annual General Meeting shall be subject to the application of the Rules until the date of the following Annual General Meeting. It shall be allowed for these numbers to be increased to accommodate any anomaly in the National League System.
2.11 Any Club or Club representative found guilty of serious irregularities regarding Players Contract payments under The FA Rules may be expelled from the Competition in accordance with these Rules and, in addition, may be fined such sum as the Board shall determine.
2.12 The Competition will hold a membership register of the full name of the company/unincorporated entity constituting each Club. If the Club is an incorporated entity, it must provide the Competition with its company name and registration number. If the Club is an unincorporated entity, it must provide the Competition with the name of an individual in whose name the membership of the Competition will be vested. A Club must notify the Competition of all proposed changes to the information held by the League in the membership register in respect of the Club including any proposed change of company name or the name of an individual in whose name the membership of the Competition is vested. Clubs are required to submit a fully completed membership form prior to the Annual General Meeting each Season.
The Competition will provide a copy of its membership register to The FA annually.
Ownership and Change of Control
2.13 Each Club shall publish its legal name, form (e.g. unincorporated association, company limited by shares or guarantee etc) and any identifier (e.g. company number). In addition for those Clubs that are owned, then the Club shall also publish the identities of the ultimate owner (i.e. the name of an individual) of each Significant Interest in the Club. Such information shall as a minimum be published on the Club’s official website on a page accessible directly from the home page of that official club website and/or within the Club’s official match day programme.
2.14 NOT APPLICABLE
2.15 In the event that an Insolvency Event occurs in relation to any Club, that Club must inform and keep informed the League Secretary and The FA immediately.
The Board shall have the power to suspend a Club on notification of it having entered an Insolvency Event.
At the discretion of the Board, a suspension may take effect from the giving of the notice or it may be postponed subject to any conditions as the Board may think fit to impose.
In the event that a Club is suspended or its suspension is postponed, the Board shall have power to make such payments as it may think fit to the Club’s Football Creditors out of any monies due to that club from the Competition.
2.16 An Officer must submit an Owners’ and Directors’ Declaration to The FA in accordance with the Reporting Requirements set out in The FA’s Owners’ and Directors’ Regulations that apply from time to time. The Club must provide a copy of any such Owners’ and Directors’ Declaration to the Competition at the time it is submitted to The FA.
No individual will be permitted to act as an Officer if they fail to meet any of the requirements of the Owners’ and Directors’ Declaration, as set out in the Rules of The FA.
In the event that an individual/entity is found to have either:
- Completed false or misleading statements on their Owners’ and Directors’ Declaration;
- Acted as an Officer when in breach of the requirements of the Owners’ and Directors’ Declaration;
- Acted as an Officer without The FA having given written confirmation to the Club in accordance with The FA’s Owners’ and Directors’ Regulations that the individual may so act; then the individual/entity or Club shall be subject to such fine or other sanction as may be determined by The FA.
In the event that the Competition receive a Notice from The FA issued in accordance with The FA’s Owners’ and Directors’ Test Regulations for the suspension of that Club’s Competition membership, then that Club shall be suspended from the Competition with effect from 14 days from the date of the Notice. An appeal of the effect of the Notice is to The FA and can only be made by the affected Club and in accordance with the appeal procedures set out in the FA Owners’ and Directors’ Test Regulations. The effect of the Notice shall be suspended pending the outcome of an appeal.
The FA shall advise the Competition and the Club in writing where it becomes satisfied that a Disqualifying Condition as defined in the FA Owners’ and Directors’ Test no longer applies. Upon receipt of this written notification from The FA, the Competition may remove the suspension of the Club’s Competition membership.
Where a Club is suspended and that causes a match in the Competition not to be played, the Board shall determine how the outcome of that match shall be treated.
2.17 Within fourteen days of a change in a Significant Interest at a Club or the appointment or removal of any director of a Club, written notice thereof, together with such details as are required to be filed with the Registrar of Companies, shall be deposited at the Competition Office.
2.18 If during the course of a season the Board decide that the organisation and management or finances of a particular Club fall below the standards appropriate to membership of the Competition, the Competition Secretary shall be instructed to warn the Club at once that it may be excluded from membership of the Competition at the end of that playing season. Such a Club shall have the right to appeal to The FA within 14 days of the date of notification of the Board’s decision.
2.19 The Competition, through the Board shall be empowered from time to time by subscription, levy or otherwise to require Clubs to contribute such sum or sums of money to the funds of the League as may be necessary for the proper conduct of the business of the League. Such contributions by Clubs may be collected by deduction from sums due to Clubs under any promotion agreement or from sponsorship money due or by whatever means the Board shall think fit. There shall be added to any sums to be contributed from Clubs, if applicable, Value Added Tax at the then prevailing rate.
2.20 Any Club failing to be represented at an Annual General Meeting or any other General Meeting called in accordance with the Rules without satisfactory reason being given shall be fined in accordance with the Fines Tariff. Whenever required to do so all Club Managers, or an Assistant Manager, will be required to attend in person any General Meeting of Clubs to receive a presentation by the Board. Failure to do so without just cause shall be a breach of these Rules and be dealt with in accordance with the Fines Tariff.
2.21 The Competition and each Club must be committed to promoting inclusivity and to eliminating all forms of discrimination.
2.22 The Competition and each Club does not and must not by its rules or regulations or in any manner whatsoever unlawfully discriminate against any person within the meaning and scope of the Equality Act 2010 or any law, enactment, order or regulation relating to discrimination (whether by way of age, gender, gender reassignment, sexual orientation, marital status, race, nationality, ethnic origin, colour, religion or belief, ability or disability, or otherwise).
2.23 The Competition and each Club shall make every effort to promote equality by treating people fairly and with respect, by recognising that inequalities may exist, by taking steps to address them and by providing access and opportunities for all members of the community, irrespective of age, gender, gender reassignment, sexual orientation, marital status, race, nationality, ethnic origin, colour, religion or belief, ability or disability, or otherwise.
2.24 Any alleged breach of the Equality Act 2010 legislation must be referred to the appropriate sanctioning Association for investigation.