Shires League Guidelines 2019-2020


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Updated 31/01/2020


The Shires league rules are provided for members in order to give a clear framework for the running of Shires League county matches.


If the team manager or person in charge is unclear about any of these rules during a Shires League match and in need of urgent clarification, this person may contact Mr I Rizzotto on 01785 822624 or 07772 445828 at any time from 9am to 9pm, 7 days a week and particularly on Saturday or Sunday.




1.   Participating Counties may enter teams in any or all of the age groups U12, U14, U16, U18 and U20 on payment of an annual fee, as set out below. All member counties must also be affiliated to Badminton England.


Membership fees 2019-2020

For one age group £50, two age groups £75, three age groups £100, four age groups £125, and five age group £150. Second teams may be entered – subject to meeting the terms of Rule 5 - for an additional fee of £25 for each second team entered.

An additional £25 penalty fee will be levied on all counties who do not pay membership fees by 30th September.

If membership fees have not been paid by 30th November, membership will be terminated on 1st December. Hence, such counties will have to pay the new member fee (£30) to re-join in additional to the current membership fee and penalty fee. This charge will be carried over to subsequent years if necessary.


New member Counties shall pay in addition an initial one off charge of £30. This should be forwarded with the official letter of application to join the Shires League. It will be returned should the application be unsuccessful.


Members that wish to re-join the league shall pay all outstanding fees, a re-joining fee of £30 and current fees before their application is considered. Current fees and re-joining fees will be returned should the application be unsuccessful.


2.   Participating Counties shall remain members of the Shires League until: such date, notified to the League Secretary, on which they wish to leave (ideally the end of a season);they fail to pay the annual fee by the date set (barring extra-ordinary circumstances notified to the League Secretary); they are ejected from the league by majority vote of members present at the AGM, having been given at least two weeks due notice, prior to the AGM, of the proposal to be presented, and an opportunity to put their case to the membership in writing or at the AGM.


3.   Junior County Associations that wish to become members, should apply in writing (before 1st April of the current season - to be eligible for the next) to the League Secretary, who will then contact participating counties for due consideration.


4.   Shires League members, League Secretary and Management Committee shall abide by the rules and conditions set out in the constitution of Badminton England.


5.   SECOND TEAMS –Conditions for counties entering Second Teams and additional teams


(For clarification: if an U14 player is ranked 3 at U18, ranked 2 at U16 and ranked 1 at U14, this player would need to be nominated for U14 First Team, U16 First Team and U18 First Team. If an U16 player is ranked 4 at U16 and ranked 7 at U18, the player should be nominated for the U16 First Team, but is able to represent the U18 First Team or U18 Second Team.)


6.   Participating Counties must agree to further an atmosphere of good sportsmanship. Team Managers (See Rules 17 & 33) are responsible for ensuring this among their players and must not allow excited supporters to influence or distract players on court.




7.   To be eligible to play in Shires League Under 12 matches players must have been born in 2009 or more recently. To be eligible to play in Shires League Under 14 matches players must have been born in 2007 or more recently. To be eligible to play in Shires League Under 16 matches players must have been born in 2005 or more recently. To be eligible to play in Shires League Under 18 matches players must have been born in 2003 or more recently. To be eligible to play in Shires League Under 20 matches players must have been born in 2001 or more recently. i.e. Children shall be eligible to play for a team if they are under the stipulated age before the 1st January within the current season and conform to the rules of eligibility as set out in the Eligibility Document.


All players must register with Badminton England ensuring that their membership is valid for the current season. Players may be registered by the county or they may register individually. The cost of registration is approximately £5 per year.


The direct link to register at Badminton England is:-


A non-registered player may be used in a Shires League match, but their result will NOT count until they have been registered and their membership validated. This may be done after their match or before. However, registration must take place before cut-off date for the Shires League finals for their result to possibly impact on the counties league position for selecting teams for the final or by the end of the season (30/6/20) for matches not involved in the Shires League Final.


Results should be entered within 2 weeks of playing the match and any issues regarding membership sorted in that time. Matches that take place within two weeks from the end of the season should be completed by the day after the last match. Any fixtures played in September, will not need to be entered before 16th October as the site will not be ready until that time. The League Secretary will lock the match after the 2 week period, so that any further amendments can only be undertaken by him; and a fee may be charged for this service.


Players must be registered to Badminton England before the Play-Off, during the Play-Off or within 24 hours of the Play-Off taking place for the result to count in a Play-Off match.


Players must be registered to Badminton England before the finals take place or during the finals for the result to count for a player taking part in the finals.



8.   PREAMBLE - The League Secretary will write to all counties about 2 months prior to the AGM to find out which age groups each county wants to enter for the following season and if First and Second teams are required. The League Secretary will endeavour to select six local counties for each team to play against at each age group.


“Preferences” (see below) will be used to help to determine these six fixtures but the fixtures you get will most probably not be the six nearest counties to you geographically. Seeded counties will not be set to play one another, unless both seeded counties have given their consent.


Counties will be asked to indicate their “Preferences” by selecting the teams they would be most willing to play against in away fixtures; ranking the counties from those they would be most willing to play away to those they would least willing to play away. All counties should list 8 teams, as it is very difficult to schedule everyone to play their nearest six counties. Failure to provide 8 teams may result in a team being scheduled to play an away fixture even further from home than any one of their own choices.


If any team listed on your preferences sheet is not reciprocated on their list, then, in the event of this fixture being chosen, it will be set initially as any away fixture. However, the opposition team may at their discretion opt to play such a match at another venue, midway between the two counties or volunteer to travel to your county and hence play away.


Seeded counties are exempt from selecting another seeded county if they wish. However, it will mean that the overall travelling to away matches will be greater.


MAIN - Fixtures are prepared and set out by the League Secretary. In some cases the League Secretary may decide whether the fixture is home or away in the first instance. Arrangements of date, venue, time, and incidentals shall be made between respective counties at their convenience, within the stipulations below. Time set aside at the AGM for this purpose provides a useful initial forum. Matches may be played on Saturdays or Sundays or at the discretion of the counties concerned. All fixtures should be made by 30th September of the current season and become binding on 1st October of the current season. However, early fixtures - dates between 1st September and 16th October - become binding from 16th July onwards. Hence fixtures made after 16th July for matches that take place between 1st September and 16th October, are immediately binding as soon as agreed.


For each age group a last date for fixtures to count towards league position will be notified.


Fixtures Secretaries should send a list of their fixtures to the League Secretary by 30th September. The fixtures should include the venue and the start time. The League Secretary will confirm all fixtures as soon as possible after 30th September and ask these to be checked by every county for errors or omissions. In the event that a county does not provide a correct venue or a start time for a home match, the home county will be held responsible for any subsequent failure of players etc to turn up at the correct venue or start time required.


Any changes to fixture dates, venues or start times should be put in writing to the League Secretary as soon as possible. He will confirm the changes to both home and away team managers and edit the Shires League website appropriately.


9.   Counties are asked to make every effort to arrange 3 Home and 3 Away fixtures, and to balance travelling fairly when possible; e.g. not choosing to go Away to their 3 nearest neighbours. It is acknowledged that this is sometimes difficult to achieve, particularly for less central counties, and requires the flexibility and goodwill of all counties in assisting one another toward this aim. Some counties begin by swapping venues with counties played the previous year but this is not compulsory. Minimising travel for others by choosing venues near the relevant county border does help the opposition.


“One-Day-Events” may be used for any fixture. However, they are particularly useful for fixtures that take place at a neutral venue between the counties involved in the fixtures. For each age group, the first of such fixtures is deemed as a home fixture, the second away, the third home etc.


Should a conflict of interest arise, whereby two counties cannot agree (refuse to accommodate one or other’s preference), the League Secretary shall consider the case made by each side and make the decision, two weeks before fixtures are due to become binding or asap.


10. The home county is responsible for contacting the visiting county to confirm the match, the venue including postcode and directions, the time, and the format (i.e. the number of players each side will field) at least two weeks ahead of the match date. Directions to venues / addresses / postcodes should all be available from the website and checked by the home team for accuracy.


11. Each County Association is responsible for making sure that their players and supporters follow the rules of the League and any local rules that may be in force at the venue, in particular those relating to the wearing of outdoor shoes and the consumption of food and drink in the sports hall.


12. CONCEDING A MATCH - In the event of a team conceding a match the opposition will be awarded 10 rubbers + half their average rubbers achieved in their full season’s matches played. The minimum number of rubbers that can be awarded is 11 and the maximum 20. Any matches cancelled as a result of “no-blame cancellation” (see Rule 15) will not be counted as a match played.


13. POSTPONING A MATCH - Matches once arranged (meaning full details are on the Shires League Website Fixture List) should not be postponed or re-arranged, UNLESS all avenues have been explored AND both Team Managers are fully in agreement that a postponement or cancellation is the only option. Please read the Match Cancellation Procedure to view all other options that should be tried BEFORE postponement or cancellation.


14. CANCELLATION OF MATCH - In the event of a match being cancelled, the Management Committee shall, if relevant, consider the ICC cancellation rules.


When a match is cancelled, a telephone call must be made to confirm the cancellation, followed by letter, post or e-mail, to confirm the discussion. A copy of the letter / email should also be sent to the League Secretary.


Counties shall make right any financial costs incurred due to the late cancellation of a match, where cancellation could reasonably have been made in time to avoid charges. In cases of where the late cancellation could not have reasonably been foreseen, the two counties split any financial costs incurred, e.g. adverse weather conditions. However, local circumstances may dictate different rules, which fixtures secretaries should be made aware at the time of making and agreeing the fixture.


15. CANCELLATION OF MATCH (NO BLAME) - In the event of a cancellation where the League Secretary in conjunction with the Committee believes that neither side was to blame for the cancellation of the match, and that no alternative date/venue was practical, the League Secretary shall check whether there are two or more common fixtures between the two counties. (Common fixtures are where both teams have played the same opposition.) If this were the case then the mean average number of rubbers attained from these fixtures by each team will be calculated when all possible common fixtures are completed.


However, if fewer than 2 common fixtures can be identified then the mean average number of rubbers attained by each team will be calculated when all possible scoring fixtures are completed, which will include common and not-common fixtures.


The team with the highest mean average will be the winner. The difference between the rubbers awarded will be equal to the difference in the mean averages. However, such results will not be used to adjust the scores in other cancelled matches.


16. A county that defaults on three or more fixtures at one age group may be required to submit, to the Shires League Secretary, a written explanation of the circumstances of each default. After due consideration by the Shires League Management Committee, of their submission, that County might be required to re-apply for inclusion in that age-group in the Shires League, for the following season; if so, to be voted upon at the Shires League AGM, following a brief recommendation on behalf of the Management Committee.




17. Each team shall have in charge a responsible adult, called the Team Manager. The Team Manager may nominate up to two persons to give advice to his/her team during the game intervals; i.e. the Team Manager and another person, or up to two persons other than Team Manager may be nominated). The nominations must be made to opposing team manager at the start of the match between the counties. The Team Manager is responsible for deciding which advisor gives advice to each member of his/her team. It is recommended that any advice given takes place on court; i.e. players are not to be removed from the playing area.


18. The contest between two counties shall be called `the Match'. A complete match shall consist of 20 rubbers (4 Mixed rubbers, 4 Boys' Singles rubbers, 4 Girls' Singles rubbers, 4 Boys' Doubles rubbers and 4 Girls' Doubles rubbers), each of which shall be played to the best of three games.


19. For U14, U16 and U18 age groups, all games shall be played using Rally Points to 21. At 20-all, the side that gains a 2-point lead first, wins that game. At 29-all, the side scoring the 30th point wins that game. The side winning a game serves first in the next game. For the U12 age group matches will played to 15 points, extended to 21 points


20. At least 4 boys and 4 girls are required to play a complete match. However, larger teams may be played by arrangement, adding extra rubbers where desired. In this case only the top 4 rubbers in each event will count towards the league results.


21. The 4 singles players do not necessarily have to play the doubles. A fifth player (or indeed any number) may be introduced with due regard to rule 22.


22. TEAM RANKING - Each team should be ranked on singles ability and should play their singles matches according to this ranking. In a similar way, the mixed pairs should be seeded 1 to 4, according to their ability in this discipline. Whilst a cross over doubles applies, please rank your level doubles pairs 1 and 2.


The arrangement of the doubles partnerships need have no bearing on singles ability but a doubles pair will usually play both rubbers, (excepting injury as specified below). It is not allowed that A & B play one rubber while A & C play the other.


In the event of injury to a player in the first round of the level doubles, sufficient that the rubber is conceded, a fifth player may be substituted to allow the second round of level doubles to take place. Therefore, if A&B and C&D play the first level doubles and A becomes injured in the first game, and the rubber is conceded, the injured player may be substituted by player E; a player who has not been involved in either of the first round of the level doubles matches.


To clarify: If in the first round of the doubles, A partners B and C partners D, it is NOT permissible in the second round of the doubles for A to partner C or D and furthermore for B to partner C or D etc.


23. RANKING DISPUTES - It is the responsibility of the Team Manager to rank his/her team. The ranking lists and player grades published on BE website should not be taken as the sole criteria for ranking players. A team manager should also use his/her knowledge of the players and the use of results of local tournaments, such as county open tournaments, in making a decision on the ranking. It is recommended that the BE website is used to record the results of all tournaments. Only results which have be published on the BE website may be cited in support of/or against a claimed ranking.


In the event of a ranking dispute or First Team nomination dispute, 3 independent members of the Ranking Committee (Rule 41) will review the evidence from both sides. The decision of the Ranking Committee is final with a 2:1 majority enough for an appeal to be upheld. It is the aim of the committee to report back their findings to both counties within 21 days, via the League Secretary.


It is recommended that Team Managers discuss any queries regarding ranking at the start of the match, but each team manager has the final say on their team selection, so that the match may continue.


Details of any unresolved query may be forwarded, by the management of either team, to the League Secretary, post-match, provided that the opposing Team Manager has queried the ranking during the match, as outlined in the above paragraph and at least one or more of the following criteria are met:



A ranking query will only proceed if in the first instance the League Secretary deems the complaint is justifiable and evidence is provided to substantiate the claim and the ranking query fee of £30 has been paid, which is refundable should the case be proved



If the Team Manager cannot produce the evidence to show that the ranking is justified, then the case against them is proved. When the case is proved, this will mean that match results will be annulled. (E.g. In the case of players 1 and 2 wrongly switched, player 2 will have the match result annulled. A First Team nominated player is NOT allowed under any circumstances to play in the Second Team for that age group for that season. Should a First Team player take part in a Second Team match for which, he/she is not eligible, all games the player is associated with will be annulled.)


Team managers may wish to schedule ranking events and record the results of head to head matches as additional evidence. Players should be aware, well in advance that ranking is the purpose of such head-to-head matches.


Seeding for Shires League Matches should remain constant until such a time that there is evidence that it has changed.


It must be recognised that seeding and ranking is not an exact science and when the evidence provided is not overwhelming, that the team manager is given the benefit of the doubt.


24. Singles players and mixed pairs shall play one rubber against their opposite number. Level doubles pairs will normally play one rubber against their opposite number and then a cross over. (See rule 22 in the event of injury.)


25. In the case of the crossover doubles it may be necessary for one pair to play two consecutive rubbers. In the interest of fairness it is suggested that the home team sends one pair back on while the visitors send the other gender back on. In such cases due consideration must be given to the players and the severity of the preceding match. If necessary, players may claim a rest time of ten minutes before playing the cross over.


26. Play shall be continuous during the games of a match. However, between the 1st and 2nd games and 2nd and 3rd games a break of up to 2 minutes is allowed.


During the break, advice by one of the nominated persons (see Rule 17) is permitted.


Players must not receive technical advice during the game, from the back of court or elsewhere. Players must not be advised, by any means, regarding line calls. In the absence of an umpire the team managers shall adjudicate on any disagreements.


Please note that this is not to be confused with exuberant exhortations of support of their own team or team players, which should be encouraged to the point that the noise level is detrimental to the standard of play.


27. Normally the match will start with the Mixed, followed by the Singles and finish with the Level Doubles.


28. A match will be decided on the count of rubbers won. The winners shall score 2 points towards their league placing. In the event of a tie the teams shall score one point each.


29. LATE ARRIVALS - If the late arrival of players is holding up the start of a match then the Team Managers should begin the match as normal with the players that are there, even if it means that some events are played out of order. It is advisable that the Team Managers record the times that the late players arrive and the reasons for their late arrival. The home team is responsible for letting the League Secretary know the start time of the match. If this information is not shown correctly on the Shires League website, then the home team will be held responsible for any consequent misunderstandings regarding arrival time of players and parents, etc.


30. SHORT OF TIME - If both team managers agree that a match clearly will not be completed under normal rules, due to a lack of time, and it is not possible to extend the booking, they should agree, in good time, to play the final rubber, or number of rubbers, one game to 21 points.


31. UNCOMPLETED MATCH - If a match is not completed, then a report must be sent to the League Secretary, who will in turn, discuss the issue with the Management Committee and make a judgement. The judgement will be based on the court time booked, the prompt arrival of players, organisational procedures in running the match, unforeseen circumstances, etcetera.


The judgement of the League Secretary (in conjunction with the Committee) will be final.


32. SUBSTITUTE PLAYER – Should illness or injury occur during a match, sufficient to cause a player to retire, that player’s remaining rubbers may be played using a substitute player - provided that the opposing team manager is informed before the start of a subsequent rubber, that Rule 23 is not contravened and that such a substitute is a player not already in the team.


33. DISPUTES - Disputes during a match are the responsibility of the two Team Managers. All queries must go through them. Any dispute that cannot be resolved on the day, or any complaint, should be forwarded to the League Secretary in writing not later than one week following the event. The decision of the League Secretary in conjunction with the committee shall be final. Rule 42 also refers.


34. REFRESHMENTS - The home team may provide refreshments for the visiting team and their supporters. This might include hot and cold drinks, sandwiches and cakes. However, if the home county decide that they would rather not provide refreshments or the venue ban the consumption of drink / food not purchased at the venue, then the visiting team manager shall be informed at least 2 weeks prior to the match so that visitors may make their own arrangements for refreshments.


Players and spectators will make their own arrangements for refreshments and food at all “One-Day-Events.”


FOOD ALLERGIES – All counties should develop their own Food Allergy policy, which should endeavour to take reasonable steps to reduce the risk posed by food allergies to a minimum. Please read the guidance in Food Allergies Document



35. The League winners shall be the team that scores the highest number of points (see Rule 28). In the event of a tie the following statistics shall be applied, in the order shown, until a winner is determined.


36. Scores should be entered online on the Badminton England website within two weeks of the match by either the home or away team. A free mobile phone app is also available for entering scores online as the match proceeds. Shires League score sheets may be used for your own records but there is no need to forward such a sheet to the League Secretary, unless there is a dispute regarding the recording of the matches scores. If this cannot be agreed between the team managers by mutual agreement, then the League Secretary will make a judgement.


37. The home team is responsible for the booking of a venue suitable to hold the match. Where possible, a minimum of 10 court hours should be booked for each 4x4 Shires League match. If 2 courts are booked, ideally 5 hours per court. If 3 courts are used, minimum 4 hours per court. If 4 courts are used, ideally book 4 courts for 2 hours followed by 2 courts for 2 hours; minimum 4 courts for 3 hours. If two SL matches take place at the same venue on the same day then 4 courts for 5 hours would be satisfactory.


During the match the home county should be alert to a possible overrun developing and attempt to make provision if this might prevent normal conclusion of the match; e.g. prevail on sports centre staff for solution. See Rule 30.


38. Certificates shall be awarded to the players from counties that achieve positions 1st to 12th inclusive, by the time of the Shires League Final. Certificates will be provided to every player who has represented the county at least once for an official Shires League Match.  Counties who wish to have certificates printed for teams lower than 12th position will be provided at a small fee.




39. On completion of relevant league games, eight teams will be invited to play in the Shires League Finals. At U14, U16 and U18, the first four teams to be invited will be the teams that achieve the top four positions in the league; they gain automatic entry. The remaining four places will be decided by Play-Off. At the U12 age group the top 8 teams in the league will gain automatic entry. There is not a Play-Off at the U12 age group.


Teams that reach positions 5th to 12th will take part in a Play-Off match on a designated date that is set at the start of the season. Positions 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th will have the home advantage. 5th will play 12th, 6th will play 11th, 7th will play 10th and 8th will play 9th. If a Play-Off is conceded (perhaps can’t raise a team for the designated day or too far to travel), the other team wins automatic invitation to the final. The home team is responsible for booking a suitable venue and providing shuttles and refreshments. The opposition is responsible for travel and accommodation costs for their team.


The result of a play-off match will be decided using the following rules in the order shown:

·         The County that wins the most rubbers (20 rubber matches).

·         The County that wins the most games (Up to 40 games per match per team).

·         The County that scores the most points.

·         The County that wins the majority of the games from 1stBS, 1stGS, 1stBD, 1stGD, 1stMD.


Dates of Shires League County Championship Finals 2020

U12 Final; Sunday, 5th April 2020 at Stoke Mandeville, Aylesbury

U14 Final; Sunday, 19th April 2020 at Aldersley Stadium, Wolverhampton

U16 Final; Saturday, 30th May 2020 at Stoke Mandeville, Aylesbury

U18 Final; Sunday, 31st May 2020 at Stoke Mandeville, Aylesbury


Play-off dates for 2020

U12 – Do not have a play-off match

U14 Sunday, 5th April 2020

U16 Sunday, 26th April 2020

U18 Sunday, 17th May 2020


40. The cost of the finals will be shared between the participating teams. Costs will include shuttles, medals, certificates, expenses and hire of hall, etc. Please also see Rules for Finals and Finals Organisation




41. A Management Committee consisting of 4 members shall be established at the AGM, for the forthcoming season. The purpose of the committee shall be to make judgements on the interpretation of any of the Shires League rules in the event of a dispute. Any member of the committee who, or whose county, is directly involved with a dispute shall be excluded from those particular discussions. Committee members shall not be from the same county. The League Secretary shall have the casting vote.


All counties, in rotation, shall put forward a person from their county prepared, if chosen, to sit on the management committee, for the minimum term of office of one year. One county representative from each of the four regions around the country shall be the aim. In the event that a current member wishes to stand down, ideally a representative from a different county from the same region should be chosen, dependent on suitable nominations, until all counties have been represented and then the cycle would begin again.


RANKING COMMITTEE – A committee (independent of the Management Committee) of up to six people shall be established at the AGM - drawn from participating counties, no more than one member per county, whose sole task will be to deal with Ranking Queries forwarded to the League Secretary during the forthcoming season. For each query 3 independent committee members will investigate a complaint. The decision of the committee will be binding.




42. Should a county be unhappy about the lack of turnout of opponent’s players, the failure of the home team to provide adequate match/playing facilities, the conduct of opposing team members or supporters, etc. the League Secretary should be informed in writing.


In the event that substantiated complaints are made, the League Secretary shall contact the Management Committee proposing a course of action. Although the decision of the management committee will be final, this action will NOT result in the expulsion of the county unless sanctioned by a majority vote of the Shires League Members at the AGM.


43. CONDUCT –Where there is concern about the lack of sportsmanship of any member(s) of a team or their supporters – a bad single instance or general background – the matter should be brought to the attention of the team manager concerned. Should this not rectify the situation, a formal complaint should be made to the League Secretary as soon as possible.


The League Secretary will follow this up by making direct contact with the Committee of the Junior County Association responsible for that team, asking that they carry out their own internal review of the situation and report back (to the League Secretary.)


In prolonged and extreme cases, the League Secretary may consider asking for the memberships’ approval to expel the offending county from the Shires League.


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