Cup and Shield Rules


1. Any day pupil in full attendance, i.e. two attendances per day, shall be eligible to play for their own school or for the local association of which their school is a member, provided they are within the age limit stipulated for the particular competition.

To take part in any of the competitions stated below, they must attain the age limit, specified in respect of the particular competition, on or after 1st January of the year in which the competition commences:


The Scottish Schools’ Under 13 Shield 12
The Scottish Schools’ Under 14 Shield 13
The Scottish Schools’ Under 15 Trophy 14
The Scottish Schools’ Under 15 Shield 14
The Scottish Schools’ Under 16 Shield 15

Boys Only
The Scottish Schools’ Under 13, 7-a-side Competition 12
The Scottish Schools’ Senior Trophy 18
The Scottish Schools’ Senior Shield 18 18

Girls Only
The Scottish Schools’ Under 14, 7-a-side Competition 13
The Scottish Schools’ Under 15, 7-a-side Competition 14
The Scottish Schools’ Under 15 Girls Shield 14
The Scottish Schools’ Senior Girls Shield 18

  • In the above Girls Only Shield competitions, teams may be composed of players from two schools which are in close proximity.
  • The school which has the majority of players in the composite group shall be the designated school for administrative purposes.
  • Any schools wishing to exercise this dispensation must obtain permission from the appropriate Standing Committee prior to entering the competition.

In the interpretation of the above the following shall apply :

  1. A pupil on the roll of a school at the beginning of vacation shall be deemed to be on the roll till the end of the vacation.
  2. A pupil who has played in a Shield tie or ties shall, on being transferred to another school during the season, be eligible to play in Shield ties for his/her new school during the current season, but a pupil shall not be eligible to participate in more than one Shield Competition in any one season. Similarly, a pupil who played in the Primary Trophy, or Under 15 Trophy, or Senior Trophy for his/her association shall, on being transferred to a school playing under the jurisdiction of another association, be eligible to play in any of these competitions for his/her new association during the current season.
  3. A pupil who has already played for his/her association in the Senior Trophy or Under 15 Trophy and who is transferred during the season to a college-based course serving the schools in the area under the jurisdiction of that association, though situated in the area of, or provided by a neighbouring local education authority, shall be eligible to play only for that association, for which he/she has already played, till the end of the current season, provided that he/she remains on his/her school roll.
  4. A pupil, who started his/her Secondary Education at the beginning of the School Year, is not eligible to participate in the Primary Trophy.

Exceptions to Player Eligibility – players who attend a Scottish FA Performance School may represent their school in Cup and Shield competitions. SFA Performance Schools may include no more than 3 Performance Players in any match day squad.


2.  All matches will be governed by the rules of the Scottish Football Association except as stated hereunder :

  1. for matches in the Primary Trophy, Under 13 Shield, and Under 15 Girls Shield a size 4 ball shall be used.
  2. every match shall consist of two equal periods, the duration of each of which shall be as stated hereunder in accordance with the competition or competitions specified:
  1.  Primary Trophy – 30 minutes.
  2. Under 13 Shield, Under 14 Shield and Under 15 Girls Shield – 35 minutes.
  3. Under 15 Trophy, Under 15 Shield, Under 16 Shield and Senior Girls Shield – 40 minutes
  1. in all cup and shield matches five substitutes may be used from five nominated.
  2. at all ages, players substituted are able to rejoin the match at a later stage.


3.  All trophies shall be competed for annually. At the conclusion of the final tie the trophy for the competition shall be handed over to the representative of the winning association or school, who shall acknowledge receipt of the trophy and undertake to return it in good order and condition to the Secretary of the appropriate Standing Committee of Council, when called upon to do so, and in any case not later than 1st April of the ensuing year.

When the final of a trophy is played on the home-and-home principle, if at the end of the two games the two contestants are equal in goals, the trophy shall be jointly held for the ensuing season by two Associations or Schools, each to have possession for half of the year. The names of both associations or schools thus concerned shall be engraved on the trophy as joint holders.


4.  Apart from power to deal with certain field offences and breaches of discipline (for which see Article 10 of the Constitution), the control and management of the competitions shall be vested in the Standing Committees of Council designated in Article 9 of the Constitution. Each Standing Committee shall have discretionary power to add to or amend any rule or rules relating to the competitions under its control and management, provided :

  1. the said alteration is not repugnant to any decision of Council or of a General Meeting of the Association, and
  2. due notice of any such addition or amendment has been forwarded by the Secretary of the appropriate Standing Committee to each competing association or school.


5.  Matches shall be played on the cup principle, the association or school drawn first in the ballot having choice of ground, except in the case of the following ties :

  1. the finals of the Senior Trophy, the Under 15 Trophy and the Primary Trophy, which shall be single games at venues determined by the President’s Committee,
  2. the semifinal and final ties of the Shield Competitions, which shall be played on neutral grounds or on the home-and-home principle, as determined by the President’s Committee after consultation with the schools concerned.


6.  Associations and schools must play in their distinguishing colours, which must be intimated to the Secretary of the appropriate Standing Committee with entry. When teams have the same or very similar colours, the visiting team shall play in their registered colours and the home team shall change.


7.  Team sheets bearing the names and ID numbers (together with schools in competitions involving local associations) of the players shall be exchanged by the representatives of the teams before the commencement of each match and a duplicate copy of each given to the referee, who shall enter the result of the match in both sheets and sign them. These team sheets shall be forwarded to the Secretary of the appropriate Standing Committee of Council (indicated on the sheets) by the representatives of the winning association or school, within three days of the match.


8.  In all Shield and National Trophy knock-out matches, if the teams are level at the end of regulation play, then the result will be determined by kicks from the penalty mark. No extra time will be played.


9.  The Secretary of the appropriate Standing Committee shall intimate to each association or school the name of the association or school against which it is drawn and the date by which the tie must be played. The home association or school shall have the right to decide the date on which the tie shall be played. Notification shall be sent by home association or school to the visiting association or school giving date, time and venue, not less than 7 days prior to chosen date. Any association or school wishing to obtain postponement of a tie, for any reason other than weather conditions, must submit the reason in writing to the Secretary of the appropriate Standing Committee by the first post of the fourth day preceding the date of the match. The Secretary shall submit the reasons given to a sub-committee, whose decision shall be final.

Senior Trophy, Under 15 Trophy and Shield ties shall have priority over local ties and local association league games. Any Association(s) or School(s) deemed to be responsible for the inordinate delay of the fulfilment of a tie shall be liable to be removed from the Competition.


10.  As soon as possible and not less than seven days before the date chosen for the match, the representative of the home association or school shall intimate to the representative of the visiting association or school the ground on which it is intended that the tie should be played. Should the ground proposed by any home association or school be considered unsuitable by the opposing association or school, the latter may appeal to the appropriate Standing Committee. The latter shall then decide upon the suitability of the proposed ground and, if necessary, shall make arrangements for the tie to be played on another ground. In ties involving the last 8 teams in all National Competitions, a grass pitch or third generation (or more recent) artificial pitch must be used. In the event of the non-availability of such a pitch to the home school then that school must find a suitable grass pitch at another venue.

In addition, in the last eight of the national inter-Association competitions an enclosed pitch must be used unless by mutual consent.


11.  The home association or school shall submit the name of the proposed referee to the visiting association or school.

To Scottish Shield ties, after 4th round, shall be appointed a qualified referee who is not a member of staff or pupil in either of the schools concerned.

Referees for semifinal and final ties shall be appointed by the appropriate Standing Committee. Should the referee appointed fail to appear, the associations or schools concerned should agree upon one at the ground, and the person so acting shall have all the powers of a duly appointed referee.

The referee shall have the power to decide upon the condition or suitability of the ground for play or upon conditions over which neither side has any control. In addition, he shall have full authority over the play and also over the players during the progress of the game and until they have left the field. If, in his opinion, any player or responsible official is guilty of an offence, breach of rule, misdemeanour or any other form of improper conduct, it shall be his duty to report the circumstances to the Secretary of the appropriate Standing Committee of Council as soon as possible.


12. Protests, including those relating to ineligibility of players, must be submitted in writing by the representative of the protesting association or school to the Secretary of the appropriate Standing Committee of Council, not later than three days after the match.

In addition to this, any objection relating to the ground, goal-posts, etc., must be intimated in writing to the referee before the commencement of the game.

The home association or school is held responsible for the conduct not only of its own players and officials, but also of the spectators and for the general observance of the conditions implied in the laws of the game.

All written protests submitted must be accompanied by a fee of thirty pounds which may be forfeited at the discretion of the appropriate Standing Committee of Council.

13. An official of this Association or of a local association, or representatives of the latter, or of a school, who is also a member of the President’s Committee, or of a Standing Committee of Council or a Regional Disciplinary Committee will automatically retire from a meeting of any of the above mentioned committees when any matter relating to his team, local association or school is under consideration.


14. Suitably inscribed mementoes of an appropriate number for the competition shall be awarded to the association or school teams competing in the final tie of each competition. Mementoes in excess of the appropriate number may be awarded only with special permission of, and under conditions laid down by, the appropriate Standing Committee of Council.

Information in italics = not currently applicable


1. ZONING OF COMPETITIONS – Competing Associations and Schools may be grouped into areas at the discretion of the appropriate Standing Committee.

2. DATES OF MATCHES – Dates of competitions are issued annually in Association Year Book.
All games MUST be played by the stipulated dates. Schools are requested to anticipate problems such as holidays and make arrangements accordingly.
N.B. Failure to adhere to dates could result in ties being forfeited. This measure has, unfortunately, had to be enforced in recent seasons.

3. TEAM SHEETS – These should be returned to the Secretary of the appropriate Standing Committee or the Competition Controller designated on the sheets, immediately after the game.

4. THE BALL – The use of the ‘Mouldmaster’ type ball in Schools’ Football has been authorised by the S.F.A. Accordingly, this type of ball may be used in any of the competitions organised by the Association. The home Association or School shall have the choice of the type of ball and shall provide it.


    1. A match shall be played by two teams, each consisting of not more than eleven players, one of whom shall be the goalkeeper.
    2. Players may be substituted at any time and for any reason in accordance with the Laws of the Game.
    3. Before the start of a match, the referee shall be informed of the names of the five substitutes from whom the three/five to play may be chosen.
    4. One of the other players, or a named substitute, may change places with the goalkeeper, provided that notice is given to the referee before the change is made.
    5. A player, who has been ordered off before play begins, may only be replaced by one of the named substitutes. The kick-off must not be delayed to allow the substitute to join his/her team.A player, who has been ordered off after play has started, may not be replaced. A named substitute, who has been ordered off, either before or after play has started, may not be replaced. (This decision only relates to players who are ordered off under Law XII. It does not apply to players who have infringed Law IV.)
    6. A player who has been replaced shall not take any further part in the game.
    7. The referee must be informed if a player is to be substituted. A substitute may only be permitted to enter the field of play during a stoppage in the game and after he/she has received a signal from the referee authorising him/her to so do.
    8. A substitute shall be deemed to be a player and shall be subject to the authority and jurisdiction of the referee whether called upon to play or not.

6. GOALKEEPER – Players should be instructed they must not charge or challenge the goalkeeper in his/her own penalty area.

7. STUDS – The use of aluminium studs on surfaces other than grass is prohibited, i.e. on ash surfaces, all-weather surfaces and the like. For surfaces other than grass the home Association or School must inform the visiting Association or School of the nature of the playing surface, at least seven days prior to the date of the match.

8. TEAM MANAGER/TRAINER/COACH – It is acknowledged that there are schools’ teams which are run by adults who are not members of the teaching profession. These persons are, for the most part, parents, school technicians, janitors, etc. Whereas it is the ultimate aim that all schools’ teams be run by teachers, the above described situation shall be permitted, provided that:

  1. the Head Teacher takes ultimate responsibility.
  2. wherever possible, a member of the teaching staff shall be present at the venue of any game being played under such circumstances.


  1. Associations and Schools shall be responsible for their own travelling and accommodation expenses. All arrangements in connection with semifinal and final ties of the Competitions shall be under the management and control of the appropriate Standing Committee. After the deduction of all necessary expenses, the proceeds of these matches shall be put into the funds of the Association.
  2. Grants may be made towards the travelling expenses of teams at the discretion of the President’s Committee.


  1. Any affiliated Association or School, wishing to play against another of foreign nationality, at home or away, should inform the General Secretary at least three months before the date of the intended tour or match, giving details of the country, date, matches to be played, etc. This also applies to matches against teams from countries in membership of the Schools’ International Board.
  2. Tournaments: Any Association or School, wishing to organise a tournament involving Associations or Schools from outwith Scotland must inform the General Secretary three months before the date of the tournament, giving the following information: (i) date of tournament:(ii) rules of tournament: (iii) Associations or Schools invited: (iv) arrangements for the accommodation of the visiting Associations or Schools.
    Furthermore, any Association or Schools, intending to play in a tournament organised in the country of another National Association, must seek permission from this Association, at least three months before the date of departure and must submit the tournament rules (with a translation copy, where necessary) to the General Secretary, together with proof of the authorisation of the tournament by the National Association concerned and of the approval of the rules by F.I.F.A.
  3. No member of council, delegate to the Annual General Meeting, accredited school representative, or member, representative or officer of any affiliated association may organise or be a party to organising any match, using school pupils, outwith Schools’ Football, unless he/she receives the written permission of the President’s Committee.
  4. Any local association or school (i) wishing to organise a penalty-kick competition to assist its funds must notify the General Secretary (ii) invited to participate in penalty-kick competitions at a Senior or Junior ground, must make application to the General Secretary for the necessary permission, which will only be given when confirmation has been received from the Secretary of the S.F.A. or S.J.F.A.

11. S.S.F.A. TIE – There is an official tie which may be obtained from the Hon. Treasurer for re-sale to members of Affiliated Associations. Orders can only be accepted through Association Secretaries and it should be noted that only those actively connected with the S.S.F.A. or the football activities of the local association, are entitled to wear the official tie.

12. APPEAL TO S.F.A. – If an appeal is made to the S.F.A., the following must be observed:

  1. A deposit is enclosed with the appeal (Player £75 / All others £150)
  2. the appeal is dispatched by Recorded Delivery Letter,
  3. the appeal is made within seven days after the meeting at which the decision appealed against was given, and
  4. in all appeals, the party against whom the decision is given may be held liable in all or part of the expenses of the meeting, subject to the discretion of the Appeals Committee.