AFC Rule 26a: The Fixtures Committee may at its discretion establish short competitions for teams whose League program is likely to be completed at an early date before the end of the season.
Note: A Spring Cup may also be played for a division where the programme will finish early because of a smaller number of clubs (for example a division with only eight or nine sides).
Entry will be restricted to clubs who are full or Associate Members of the Amateur Football Combination, though on occasions may be limited to teams from a particular division, if it is being used to supplement a short league season because the division has a smaller number of sides.
Notes: Our priority is completing the league programme, which is the main AFC competition. Sides who still have a number of league games, for whatever reason, are expected and required to complete their league programmes. These optional cups are for the “early finishers” - an alternative to friendlies. It is not our expectation that Spring Cups will run every season, only in those years when we have exceptionally good weather and “early finishes.
Cups will normally be played with two groups of four teams, each playing each other once, with the winners of one group playing the runners up of the other group in the semi finals, and vice versa. Depending on the number of teams in a cup the fixtures will be arranged as follows:-
Six - Two groups of three teams, with the top two sides playing semi-finals (winner A vs runner up B)
Seven - One group of three, one group of four teams, with the top two sides progressing.
Eight - Two groups of four teams, with the top two sides progressing.
Nine - Three groups of three teams, with the top side from each group and best runner-up progressing, or Two groups, one of four and one of five teams, depending on time available to complete the cup.
Fixtures will be appointed by the AFC League Match Secretaries. Home pitches should be agreed by the two clubs - we expect clubs to co-operate on pitch availability, particularly after Easter, as some clubs will struggle for home pitches, whilst others will have pre-booked (and pre-paid) for pitches and will wish to use them. If clubs cannot agree whose ground to use, the first named club in each fixture should host the game unless the LMS determines otherwise. In the semi finals, the group winners should have the option of home advantage. In the final the home advantage option is given to the team with the best record in the group stages.
No postponements in the Spring Cups for lack of players are allowed - if you cannot field a side, you concede the points (in the group games, walkover in the knockout stages) and lose three points (the points deduction prevents a side who have won their first two games conceding their final game because “they’ve already qualified”).
League games take precedence over "Spring Cup" games. If a club cannot field a set of teams on a Saturday then “Spring Cup” games must be cancelled before league games, even if it is for a higher side (our priority is to finish the league season – there is no increased concern about clubs “loading” sides – if we didn’t have the Spring Cups clubs would have these players available anyway).
You cannot cancel a league game and play a Spring Cup game on the same day.
Group games will be played under normal AFC League rules. If any group games have not been completed by Monday 17th April due to inclement weather, one point will be awarded to each side.
Will be played according to AFC Rule 26b:-
“In the event that any tie in the competition requires a result on the day, two fifteen-minute periods of extra time shall be played if the score is level at the end of normal time. If the score still remains level the tie will be decided by the taking of kicks from the penalty mark. The referee shall have discretion to reduce extra time to two ten-minute periods or to dispense with extra-time and go straight to the penalty competition if conditions make this necessary to obtain a decision.”