Increased participation targets are at the forefront of new Essex County FA County Cup rule changes following their publication ahead of the 2018/19 season.
All grassroots participants, including clubs, leagues, County FA Council Members and staff, were recently given an opportunity to propose rule changes. Independent members were then assigned to Working Groups for the first time to propose their own rule changes to our Council, which were voted on and either ratified or dismissed.
Essex’s County Cups continue to hold sway, with good entry numbers, though we wish to further increase the number of participating clubs, opening up County Cups ‘For All’ and to decrease the possibility of teams not being able to fulfil fixtures. To address this, the most notable ratified rule change sees a big shift in Rule 8(B).
Previously, player eligibility required a signing-on period and, from Round Three, a minimum number of appearances. Now, for each round up to and including the Semi-Finals, players need only to have their registrations approved by the appropriate league by 12:00 noon on the day prior to the tie. As before, players will need to be eligible for semi-final ties to be eligible for the final.
Season 2017/18 brought the introduction of a Girls’ Under 18s Cup as well as re-formatted women’s competitions which saw every open-age female club enter the BBC Essex Women’s Cup. Sides defeated in the opening two rounds then went on to play in the Women’s Trophy. These new formats will continue for 2018/19.
While looking to avoid clubs struggling to fulfil fixtures, from 2018/19, dates either side of school holidays will be avoided for all competitions and we will seek to commence youth competitions a little later than has been done previously.
Eastern Junior Alliance youth teams will now start their campaigns in Round Three across all age groups rather than in just the Cassels Under 16s and Pelly Under 18s competitions. Also in youth competitions, draws will be regionalised on a north/south basis in the opening two rounds. Most adult competitions will remain split into four geographical areas in the opening two stages.
County Cup entry is part of the annual club affiliation process. If your club is looking to enter a team, please liaise either with your Club Secretary or our Competitions Department via firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for County Cup entry is in-line with the affiliation deadline of 1st July and a full list of rule and structure changes can be found below.