Note: Rule changes (approved at the 2021 AGM) for the forthcoming season are highlighted in green
1. NAME AND REPRESENTATION
1.1 The competition shall be called 'The Staffordshire Inter-Club Tennis League'. However, if the League enters into a sponsorship arrangement, the name of the sponsor shall, for the duration of that arrangement, be incorporated into the name of the League.
- (a) The competition shall be open to clubs affiliated to the Staffordshire Lawn Tennis Association.
- (b) The League shall be affiliated to Tennis Staffordshire and shall also be governed by its Rules and Regulations.
1.3 The Constitution and Rules of the competition shall be subject to agreement at the Annual General Meeting of the representatives of competing clubs which shall be held in the last quarter of each year.
1.4 All competing clubs shall be entitled to send one representative per competing team to the Annual General Meeting. Each representative shall be entitled to one vote in respect of all elections and notices of motion.
1.5 The competition shall be administered by a League Committee, made up of a League General Secretary plus four other members, three of whom will function as Divisional Secretaries and one of whom will function as Treasurer to the League.
1.6 The League Committee shall have the power to co-opt other members if considered necessary.
1.7 Each member of the Committee shall have one vote, but the General Secretary shall have an extra vote which shall be a casting vote. Co-opted members shall not have a vote, but members co-opted to fill a casual vacancy shall be entitled to vote.
1.8 The League Committee shall be elected at the Annual General Meeting and shall have responsibility for all aspects of the competition, including the grouping of competing clubs, monitoring and enforcement of all rules relating to the competition and all financial arrangements, including the preparation of an independently audited statement of accounts.
1.9 Nominations of persons to act for the ensuing year as members of the Committee may be made by any competing club, who may nominate one person only for each position on the Committee.
1.10 Every such nomination shall be in writing and signed by the Secretary of the competing club and shall be sent so as to be received by the League General Secretary at least twenty-four hours before the Annual General Meeting at which the elections are to take place.
2.1 All competing clubs shall pay a League Fee for each team entered and accepted into the competition. The amount of the Fee shall be determined by the League Committee and shall be payable to the Treasurer at or before the Annual League Representatives Meeting.
2.2 A deposit in respect of each team entered in the League shall be paid at or before the League Representatives Meeting. The amount of the deposit shall be determined by the League Committee and will be refundable at the end of the season, provided that the team concerned has completed every scheduled match. (A match shall be regarded as having been completed only when all four rubbers have been played to a conclusion and a match card [or match cards] bearing the signatures of both captains concerned has been received by the appropriate Divisional Secretary).
2.3 All competing clubs must be paid up Affiliated Members of the Staffordshire Lawn Tennis Association. Affiliation fees must have been paid to Tennis Staffordshire prior to or at the League Representatives Meeting. Failure to do so will mean that the club concerned will not be eligible to compete in the League for the coming season.
3. PLAYER ELIGIBILITY
3.1 Each competing club shall be a separate organisation under paragraphs (a) and (b) of Rule 37 of the Rules of the LTA and a player shall be entitled to represent a club if he shall have been a bona fide member of that club for at least FOURTEEN days prior to his first match for that club.
3.2 No player shall be entitled to play for more than one club during one season other than with the prior agreement of the League Committee.
4. APPLICATIONS AND RESIGNATIONS
4.1 A club desirous of competing in the League or resigning from it shall give notice, in writing (email accepted), to the League General Secretary by a date in mid-January to be advised at the AGM and posted on the League website following the AGM.
4.2 All clubs shall identify a named representative who will act as the link / contact person in relation to all league matters and correspondence.
5. ARRANGEMENT OF MATCHES
5.1 The competition shall be played during the months of April, May, June, July, August and September.
5.2 For the purposes of arranging the dates and times of all matches, and to transact any other business in connection with the competition, TWO Annual Fixtures Meetings shall be held during February for representatives of the competing clubs. Paperwork, monies and any other administrative items requested of clubs and teams may be submitted at either of the TWO Annual Fixtures Meetings.
5.3 Complete lists of the dates and times agreed upon shall be submitted to the Divisional Secretaries by the representatives of each Club before the end of the evening on which the Fixtures Meeting takes place. Subject to Rule 5.4, there can be no changes to fixture dates after the end of March.
5.4 The dates thus agreed upon shall be strictly adhered to and no match shall be postponed for any reason except bad weather or the unfit condition of the courts.
5.5 All League matches shall be scheduled to be played by the second Sunday in September and must be completed by the fourth Sunday in September.
5.6 The League Committee may, at the Annual Fixtures Meetings, specify dates on which fixtures may not be made.
5.7 Failure of any club to be represented at the appropriate Fixture Meeting(s) will mean suspension of that club from the League for the following season.
6. ARRANGEMENTS FOR MATCHES
6.1 Evening matches shall commence not later than 6.30 p.m.
6.2 Any player not on the ground within FIFTEEN minutes of the arranged time of commencing any match shall lose the first rubber 6-0, 6-0 and any Club not represented by a full team within THIRTY minutes of the arranged time shall forfeit the match to the opposing side with a maximum score.
6.3 Where floodlights are available these should be utilised in order to complete a match. Where floodlights are not available cessation of play because of bad light shall be mutually agreed by the Captains.
6.4 For the purposes of these Regulations, a rubber will be decided on the best of three sets. A tie breaker shall come in to effect at six games all in the first two sets and shall be won by the first pair to score seven points with a two point advantage i.e 7-5, 8-6 etc. The deciding third set shall comprise a match tie break which shall be won by the first pair to score TEN points with a two point advantage i.e 10-8, 11-9 etc. The deciding match tie break shall be treated for all purposes (including the order of serving and receiving within the pair) as a set won or lost by one game to nil.
6.5 Points for each completed match shall be awarded on the basis of one point for every rubber won. Therefore the total number of points available per match will be four and all rubbers must be completed. Failure to complete all four rubbers by the fourth Sunday in September will automatically mean that the match will be regarded as uncompleted and both teams will lose their deposit. Scores already recorded for that match will stand.
6.6 Each club shall play two matches, one home and one away, against each other in the same Division. The home club shall have the right to decide the type of surface to be used and both captains must agree any change of surface during the course of a match.
6.7 All competing clubs shall meet minimum standards with regard to the following:-
- (i) Courts of acceptable standard marked out for tennis only except that a club may use courts with multiple sport markings (for example netball markings) if approved by the League Committee.
- (ii) The provision of drinks between rubbers.
- (iii) The provision of food after matches unless mutually agreed between the team captains beforehand not to do so.
6.8 Should a Club give a walk-over to another club, the latter club shall score FOUR points (8 sets and 48 games). The Committee shall, however, have power to ignore all the matches played by a team which does not fulfil all its engagements. A walkover will only be recognised when the Appropriate Divisional Secretary has been advised of the situation by both team captains either by phone call or email.
6.9 The home club shall provide for each match at least SIX new LTA official balls. Only balls manufactured for use during the same season as matches are to be played shall be used.
6.10 If, as part of any sponsorship agreement by clubs at the Annual General Meeting, a specific manufacturer's ball is required to be used by clubs competing in the League, then any make of ball by that manufacturer must be used for all League matches.
6.11 Receipts, or copies of receipts, must be provided by each club competing in the League in order to confirm that the minimum number of sponsorship balls have been purchased for all home league matches. Receipts, or copies of receipts, must be produced at the League Representatives Meeting. Failure to do so will incur an automatic penalty which could result in suspension from the League for the following season.
6.12 All clubs shall be represented in all Divisions by teams of four players. Teams shall be arranged in pairs and each pair shall play each opposing pair one rubber. The first round shall be 1 vs. 2, and 2 vs. 1.
6.13 Appropriate tennis attire must be worn by all players.
7. ABANDONED OR POSTPONED MATCHES
7.1 If one or more rubbers have been completed the match must be continued exactly from the position in which it was left unfinished and the composition of the competing teams cannot be changed.
7.2 Play in each rubber shall be continuous and without unnecessary delay on the part of any player from the first service until the rubber is concluded.
7.3 If at least one rubber has been completed the composition of the teams cannot be changed for a rearranged fixture.
7.4 Subject to Rule 7.6, in the event of a match having to be abandoned, postponed, or being otherwise unfinished, the responsible official of the Home Team shall submit a match card - within TEN DAYS of the fixture date - to the appropriate Divisional Secretary giving the rearranged date and, in the case of an unfinished match, detailing the names of the players involved and the scores at the time when play ceased. Failure to do so will incur a penalty of one point on the Home Team.
7.5 In the event of a match having to be abandoned or postponed: (a) The Home team must offer THREE alternative dates when the rearranged match might be played. Failure on the part of the Home team to give THREE alternative dates or failure on the part of the Away team to accept at least ONE of them will automatically mean that all rubbers will be forfeited by the offending team. (b) It is the responsibility of the Home team to submit a match card to the Divisional Secretary after TEN days but within FOURTEEN days of the original fixture date if the Away team has not accepted one of the three dates offered. (c) It is the responsibility of the Away team to submit a match card to the Divisional Secretary after TEN days but within FOURTEEN days after the original fixture date if the Home team have not offered THREE dates for the rearranged match.
8. MATCH CARDS AND LEAGUE TABLES
8.1 The Captain, or other responsible official of the winning team (or the home team in the case of a drawn match), shall be responsible for notice in writing of the result of each match, giving the names of all players and the full score of all rubbers, sets and games won and lost. The results shall be sent to the appropriate Divisional Secretary on the score cards provided within TEN days of the conclusion of each match, duly counter-signed by the Captain, or other responsible official, representing both teams. Match cards can be sent to Divisional Secretaries either by post or can be scanned/photographed and emailed to the Divisional Secretary using the email address displayed on the website.
8.2 A match will automatically be regarded as unplayed and penalties imposed accordingly if a score card is not received. Any result not received in writing by the League Committee by or within TEN days of the FOURTH Sunday in September will be regarded as unplayed, will be treated as such and penalties imposed accordingly.
8.3 The League Committee shall be under no obligation to take official cognisance of the result of any match, notice of which has not been sent to the Division Secretary in accordance with these regulations.
8.4 If it shall be found impracticable to complete all matches during the season, the League Committee shall decide the allocation of points and hence the promotion and relegation of clubs.
8.5 The team scoring the highest number of points in Premier Division shall be the Champion Team of the year.
8.6 In normal circumstances, the bottom two teams in each Division shall be relegated and the top two teams shall be promoted [except Division ONE (North) and Division ONE (South) where only the team finishing top shall be promoted].
8.7 If two or more teams in any one Division shall score an equal number of points the order of precedence in the Division shall be decided on the basis of the following sequence - number of matches won, number of matches drawn, set difference total, then game difference total. If the teams are still level after considering this sequence then the results of the matches played by the teams against each other will be used to decide final placings.
8.8 The League Committee may rearrange each year the number of clubs in all Divisions in such manner as they deem necessary and, for the purpose of such rearrangement, may promote to a higher Division or relegate to a lower Division more than two clubs, or may not promote or relegate any club, provided that, in such rearrangement, the order of precedence established by the previous competition is strictly maintained.
8.9 Final tables will be approved by the League Committee, circulated to clubs and confirmed at the Annual General Meeting.
9.1 All questions of eligibility, qualifications or competitors' interpretation of the Regulations shall be referred, through the League General Secretary, to the League Committee, whose decision shall be final.
9.2 Any dispute arising between clubs in the competition shall be referred to the sole arbitration of the League Committee, whose decision shall be final and binding upon all clubs. Should any club in connection with any dispute or protest have a member or members on the League Committee, the said member or members shall not be eligible to sit on the League Committee while such dispute or protest is being considered.
9.3 Any penalty imposed on a club, team or player by the League Committee, following infringement of the Regulations shall take into consideration the Code of Conduct as approved by the Annual General Meeting. A copy of the Code of Conduct is appended to these Rules as Appendix A.
10. MULTIPLE TEAMS
10.1 Where a club has more than one team, the highest team in the League will always be referred to as the 'A' Team and other teams in descending order thereafter.
10.2 Where a club has two or more teams in the same Division, these teams must play each other twice before any other fixtures are undertaken.
11. NOMINATED PLAYERS AND APPEARANCES
11.1 Each Club must submit a list of players from which teams will be selected. This list must be submitted to the appropriate Divisional Secretary at the League Representatives Meeting prior to the commencement of the season. Any additions or deletions of players included on the list must be notified and approved by the appropriate Divisional Secretary before the player concerned can play for any of the club's teams.
11.2 Where a club has more than one team, then each team, other than the lowest, shall nominate two players and shall submit these names in writing to the appropriate Divisional Secretary at the League Representatives Meeting prior to the commencement of the season.
11.3 Nominated players shall, under no circumstances, play for a lower team.
11.4 A nominated player may not be denominated after playing for that team.
11.5 Nominated players must play in one of the first three matches of the season.
11.6 If a nominated player is not selected or eligible to play in any one of the first THREE matches then that player must be replaced by another nominated player and the Divisional Secretary notified before the third match is played.
11.7 No changes to nominated players will be permitted after a team has played its third match.
11.8 A player in a lower team of a Club may only play twice for any higher team. On the third appearance, the player will automatically become a member of the next highest team for which the player has played and must not make further appearances in any lower team. This rule also applies where a Club has two or more teams in the same division.
11.9 If an individual player withdraws from a match at any stage after the match has started, then the rubber or rubbers not completed by that player and his/her partner will be awarded to the opposing side.
11.10 After a match has started no substitute player can be played.
12. GENERAL MEETINGS
12.1 An Extraordinary General Meeting shall be convened by the League General Secretary:-
- (a) By direction of the League Committee whenever it shall think fit.
- (b) Upon receipt by the General Secretary of a request for such a meeting, made in writing, supported by not less than TEN teams from a minimum of FIVE clubs.
12.2 Notice of an Extraordinary General Meeting shall be sent to all Club Secretaries (with a copy to team representatives) within FOURTEEN days of receipt of the request for a meeting.
12.3 The League General Secretary will give clubs THIRTY-FIVE clear days notice of an Annual or Extraordinary General Meeting.
12.4 These Rules and Regulations shall only be altered, rescinded or added to at an Annual or Extraordinary General Meeting of the League.
12.5 Notice in writing of any proposed alteration or addition to these Regulations, or any other Notice of Motion, must be received by the League General Secretary TWENTY-ONE days before the date of the Annual General Meeting or TWENTY-EIGHT days before the date of an Extraordinary General Meeting.
12.6 The full Agenda and details of Notices of Motion received must be circulated to clubs at least FOURTEEN days before the date of any General Meeting.
APPENDIX A - DISCIPLINE : CODE OF CONDUCT
1. All allegations of any breach of the League Rules will be dealt with solely by the League Committee, who will consider all the circumstances surrounding the case and impose an appropriate penalty. Any club, team or player who is alleged to be in breach of the Rules is entitled to a personal hearing with the League Committee before they reach a decision. The decision of the League Committee in matters of discipline is final.
2. The League Committee will have available to them any of the following penalties, or combination of penalties, to impose against any club, team or player who contravenes any League Rule:
- (a) A written caution
- (b) A fine
- (c) Deduction of points
- (d) Relegation to a lower Division
- (e) Suspension from the League
- (f) Expulsion from the League
3. The League Committee will use its discretion and impose a penalty appropriate to the offence and, in doing so, must take into consideration the previous conduct of the club, team or player and the effect the offence has had on other clubs, teams or players.
4. As far as 2(c) above is concerned, the deduction of points may result in a team being relegated or not being promoted.
5. In order to facilitate the work of the League Committee in dealing with breaches of the League Rules, one responsible person shall be nominated for each League team to act as liaison officer with the Committee.
6. Any club, team or player who wishes to complain about any breach of the League Rules must do so in writing to the General Secretary of the League as soon as possible after the event. In urgent cases, the alleged offence may be reported verbally to any Committee member, but this must be followed by a written statement to the General Secretary as soon as possible afterwards.
7. The League Committee shall keep a record of all disciplinary matters and present a report to the Annual General Meeting.
SUMMARY OF PENALTIES
Penalties for the FIRST walkover:
- (a) Lose Match 4-0 and have a further 4 points deducted.
- (b) Receive a £20 Fine.
- (c) If the match concerned is the last match of the season a further 4 points will be deducted at the start of the following season.
Penalty for the SECOND walkover:
- The offending team will automatically be withdrawn from the league and the results of any matches ignored.
Play Ineligible Player
The two rubbers that the offending player took part in are to be awarded to the opposing team with a score of 6-0, 6-0. In addition, 1 penalty point is deducted from the team responsible for playing the ineligible player. The team will receive a fine of £10. The penalties are to be deducted on each occasion that the offence takes place.
Non-appearance of Nominated Player
The Team for whom the player was nominated will lose 4 points and receive a Fine of £20.
Record match result as it stood when match abandoned. Both teams lose £5 Team Deposit.
Unplayed Matches & Illegally Re-Arranged Matches
Both teams lose £5 Team Deposit, and in event of illegally rearranged matches any points won deducted from both teams.
Late Submission of Match Cards
Each match card which is received after 10 days following the stipulated fixture date incurs a £10 fine on the Team responsible for submitting the Card. A match card which is a further 20 days late will also incur a one point deduction on the Team responsible for submitting the Card.
Appearance of Non-Registered Players
The two rubbers that the offending player took part in are to be awarded to the opposing team with a score of 6-0, 6-0. In addition, 1 penalty point is deducted from the team responsible for playing the non-registered player. The team will receive a fine of £10. The penalties are to be deducted on each occasion that the offence takes place.
Contravention of Rule 7.5
Deduct 1 Point from the Home Team.