Basketball Leagues Regulations

Team organiser

Each team shall nominate one person as a team organiser for communication purposes during the season. It is the responsibility of the team to familiarise team members with league regulations and to distribute relevant information.


Team entry forms and player registrations

  • Team entry forms are to be completed fully, with all details, on entering a team and it is the team contact’s responsibility to ensure that this form is updated throughout the course of the season.
  • Players must be registered on through the Spawtz league platform before they can play for that team. Teams playing unregistered players will forfeit all associated matches.
  • Teams must complete an online registration form via  the Spawtz league platform and make full payment before entering the competition.
  • Teams playing in the previous season, who return a fully completed entry form by the closing date with the appropriate team fee, will be guaranteed a league position for the new season.
  • After the team entry form deadline, teams will be allocated on a first come first served basis.
  • Teams can only register 10 players on each registration sheet. Players must be removed before adding others, under no circumstances are team managers to have more than 10 players at any one time registered on any one team. Deregistered players cannot be re-registered to the same team during the season. League points will be deducted to offending teams.

Score sheets

  • All team players should print their full name and playing number on the score sheet at least 10 minutes before the scheduled tip-off time. Score sheets cannot be removed from reception until both teams have paid the correct team fee and the score sheet is stamped “PAID”. The last team to pay is responsible for taking the score sheet to the score bench. At the end of the game, the winning team should return the score sheet to reception.
  • Players who do not attend a match who have been recorded on the sheet should be crossed off the score sheet at half-time by the referees.
  • Players can join the game at any time only if they are registered for that team prior to the scheduled tip-off time.

Team official (SCORER)

  • Every team must provide a competent scorer or timekeeper, who is at least 13 years old.
  • The referee may delay the start of a match (not the clock) if teams fail to provide a scorer.
  • Any team failing to provide a scorer may not lodge a protest in the event of a match dispute.
  • If there is a discrepancy between the score sheet and the scoreboard at the end of the game, the result on the score sheet will be the one used.
  • All junior players must be in the appropriate school year on the first day of the season. Note that some players will be a year above the appropriate school year for the period from September to October, and this is permitted.
  • Cut-off dates for junior competitions are published in the season information pages.
  • For health and safety reasons, junior players can play in their own age group competition and one age group above their own age group only, and no age groups above this.
  • The exception to this rule is for players in school year 9 or above who are permitted to play in all age groups from school years 9&10 upwards, including senior competitions.
  • For senior competitions, players must be in school year 9 or above to be eligible to play.
  • Clubs & teams should affiliate directly with Basketball England via their membership portal at and link their clubs and teams to the Centre leagues (details on request)
  • Players, coaches and officials should also affilate with Basketball England to benefit from their membership schemes.

School years 3&4

  • Ball: size 5
  • Baskets: lowered to 8 feet
  • Free-throws: the netball semi-circle line
  • Timing rules: No 3-second, 5-second, 8-second or 24-second rules
  • Half-court: The back-court violation rule does not apply
  • Half-court defence
    Once a team has scored, it must retreat back to the halfway line to defend. Teams may defend full court in the last two minutes of the game if the difference in the team’s scores is less than 10. The penalty for infringing this rule is sideline possession to the non-offending team
  • Zone defence
    Teams are not permitted to play any form of zone defence (including zone presses). The penalty for infringing this rule is an initial warning to the coach followed by a coach technical foul for repeated infringements.

School years 5&6

  • Ball: Size 5
  • Free-throws: the netball semi-circle line
  • Timing: The 3-second (in the key rule) will be a 5-second rule
  • Half-court defence
    Where a team is 20 points ahead of their opponents they must retreat to half court after scoring a basket. The penalty for infringing this rule is sideline possession to the non-offending team.
  • Zone defence
    Teams are not permitted to play any form of zone defence (including zone presses). The penalty for infringing this rule is an initial warning to the coach followed by a coach technical foul for repeated infringements.

School years 7&8 boys & girls, and school years 9&10 boys & girls

  • Ball:
    School years 7&8 boys – size 6
    School years 7&8 girls – size 5
    School years 9&10 boys – size 7
    School years 9&10 girls – size 6
  • Half-court defence
    Where a team is 20 points ahead of their opponents they must retreat to half court after scoring a basket. The penalty for infringing this rule is sideline possession to the non-offending team
  • Zone defence
    Teams are not permitted to play any form of zone defence (including zone presses). The penalty for infringing this rule is an initial warning to the coach followed by a coach technical foul for repeated infringements.

Age Group Overlaps

Where age groups operated at a venue overlap the age groups above, the highest age group permitted will apply. Eg. if there is a school years 8&9 competition, the rule modifications for school years 9&10 will apply.


Senior mixed

  • Team Members
    Teams must have at least two males and/or females on court at all times, except in circumstances resulting from injury or disqualification, where a team may go down to at least one of each sex. If players cannot be replaced legally then play continues with the reduced number of players. They must be over 25 and may not be already playing in the Premier Division of the Men’s league.
  • Keyway restrictions
    Males are prohibited from entering the far key area (furthest from sports hall entrance) Females are prohibited from entering the near key area (nearest to sports hall entrance). Infraction of this rule will result in end-line possession to their opposition. Intentional key area offences will result in a technical foul being called against the offending player.
  • Ten Points Scoring Rule
    Each player is restricted to scoring ten (10) points per game. Once all players named on a team’s score sheet have scored their ten points (unless fouled out), each player may then score a further ten points.

3-on-3 (half court)

  • Game timing: 2 x 15 minute halves with a running clock
    Court: half a basketball court with both teams shooting into the same basket.
    Teams: minimum of 3 players required to start a game
  • Possession:
    The ball will change possession after each basket scored and teams must clear the ball past the 3-point line on every change of possession
  • Checking the ball:
    After all violations, fouls and baskets the team taking control of the ball should check the ball with a opposing player by throwing him/her the ball and then receiving it back outside the 3-point line.
  • Shot clock: 14 seconds
    Team fouls: From 6th team foul onwards teams receive 1 shot for 2 points
    Shooting fouls: 1 free throw for 2 or 3 points depending on shot attempted
  • Aggressive / repeated fouling:
    Players who persistently foul or foul aggressively may be ordered to leave the court for a period of time determined by the referee. Unsportsmanlike conduct may result in players being disqualified from the game.

Walking basketball

  • Running is not permitted. The penalty for infringing this rule is sideline possession the non-offending team. The referee has discretion to allow advantage if this action does not affect the play. Deliberately running to gain an unfair stoppage of the game will result in a technical foul.
  • Male players are not permitted to block the shot attempts of female players. The penalty for infringing this rule is sideline possession to the non-offending team.
  • All players need to remain in the half of the court where the active play is taking place.
  • Once a team has scored, it must retreat back to the halfway line to defend. Teams may defend full court in the last two minutes of the game if the difference in the team’s scores is less than 10. The penalty for infringing this rule is sideline possession to the non-offending team.
  • Timing rules
    No 24-second or 8-second rules

League tables

  • League points for matches will be as follows:
    Win = 3, Draw = 2, Loss = 1, Walkover = 0, Penalty points = -1
  • New teams entering the leagues will be credited with 1 point for every league fixture up to the first 8 weeks. After the first 8 weeks new teams will not be credited with any points per fixture to date.
  • One or two top teams from all divisions, excluding play-off results, will be promoted at the end of each season. The bottom one or two teams will be relegated.

Fixture requests & expectations

  • All teams can expect to receive a fair distribution of match times throughout the season. Teams wishing to make any special requests regarding scheduling must do so in writing using the special request form (available from reception) and lodge this with the team’s entry form.
  • It should be noted that only legitimate requests will be considered. Every attempt will be made to cater for teams; however there is no guarantee that all requests will be met.
  • Teams are expected to play at all times, for all dates scheduled and for all overflow venues for their associated programme.
  • Fixture requests will not be carried over from one season to the next.

Moving divisions

  • Teams may move division only with a legitimate reason and with written permission from the Basketball Programme Manager. The Basketball Programme Manager will have the authority to move a team at any time in the season to an appropriate division to suit their ability level.
  • Teams moving UP a division will carry forward their current league points. Teams moving DOWN a division will be credited with 2 points per fixture to date.
  • After the cut-off date, teams & players will not be permitted to change divisions / teams (except in exceptional circumstances; teams will not receive any league points to date).

Conduct of playes, coaches and spectators

  • Any player, coach or spectator reported to have conducted themselves in a manner contrary to the best interests of basketball may be suspended or disqualified from SFAC competitions. Any person suspended or disqualified may not play, coach or be a spectator at any Sport for All Centres
  • Sport for All Centres reserves the right to refuse anyone entry to its premises
  • Copies of the SFAC codes of conduct for players, coaches and spectators, as well as the SFAC disciplinary code may be obtained from the SFAC on request.


  • Each match will consist of halves of 20 minutes running clock with an interval of two minutes for half-time.
  • Each team is permitted one time-out per half of one minute duration (running clock).
  • The clock will stop only in the last two minutes of the match, on all referee’s whistles and following successful field goals.


  • Teams must wear matching (in colour) shorts and vests, numbered on the front and back. Small side stripes on shorts will be allowed, if the shorts main colour is the same as the kit. Teams will be penalised 1 point per item per player if in incorrect uniform implemented by the official at half time, and no later.
  • If a player has lost a kit or the team has a new player and they are in the process of purchasing one, allowances may be made, but only for a short period of time and with permission from the Basketball Programme Manager.
  • Tracksuit pants are NOT allowed and will be classed as illegal uniform unless approved by the Basketball Programme Manager for medical or religious reasons.
  • T-shirts under vests are NOT allowed unless approved by the Basketball Programme Manager for medical or religious reasons.
  • All new teams will be allowed six (6) games from their first league fixture to comply with Uniform Regulations. On the seventh game penalties apply. New players added to a team have (6) games to comply with uniform regulations
  • Numbers must be in the ranges of: 1-99 (“0” or “00” are illegal numbers is 100).
  • Please note that the uniform rule is enforced by the officials in all circumstances and is not at the discretion of the teams playing.

Colour clashes

  • Teams with similar coloured uniforms should organise a change of bibs (available from the centre staff) before their scheduled tip-off time.
  • The first named team on the match fixture shall have priority of uniform colours.
  • It is the responsibility of the playing teams to ascertain that there is a potential clash and to organise the bibs before the scheduled tip-off time as games will not be delayed.

Walkovers (forfeits)

  • A walkover occurs when:
    • A team cancels a scheduled match
    • A team is more than ten minutes late
    (see late start penalty)
    • A team fields an illegal player (see player restrictions)
  • In the event of a walkover the none-offending team will receive a win, with a match score 20-0.
  • In the event of a game not taking place due to a walkover the offending team will receive a walkover fine:
    • UN-NOTIFIED WALKOVER: double team match fee penalty
    • NOTIFIED WALKOVER: (over 48 hours notice) double match team fee less referees payments
  • Any team giving two (2) walkovers (notified or un-notified) may be disqualified from the competition, unless there are extenuating circumstances, and the Basketball Programme Manager has been informed and agreed.
  • In the event of exceptional circumstances the Basketball Programme Manager has the authority to replay a forfeited match at a mutually convenient time for the teams concerned. Rescheduled matches must be completed 3 weeks prior to Grand Finals day. Games that have not been able to be rescheduled will be turned into walkovers.
  • Walkover fines must be paid within one week. Teams with outstanding fines will lose all their league points until all outstanding fines are repaid in full, in which case all league points will be reinstated. League points will not be reinstated after the last day of the season.
  • Teams must have paid off any fines or short-payments in full no later than 7 days prior to the end of the season to have their points reinstated and to be eligible for position on the league tables. Teams with monies outstanding on the last day of the season will be ineligible to re-enter the leagues.
  • Any player of a team who has not paid overdue fines or fees with their current team may be refused registration with another team until their portion of the fines/fees have been paid. This portion if based on the number of registered players on the team.

Scratch match

  • A scratch match is a match where ineligible players are involved to avoid a walkover.
  • Both teams are required to pay their full game fees with the match being played under normal conditions. A team refusing to take part in a scratch match will be issued with a walkover.
  • In this situation the team who was unable to field a legal team, will not receive a fine and will receive one (1) league point. The other team will receive a win, with score of 20-0.

Late start penalty

  • The referees will commence all games on time.
  • When time is called to begin play, any team not ready on court with a minimum of 4 players ready to play will be penalised 2 points per minute, implemented by the referee at the start of the game.
  • The score sheet must be on the score bench with a paid stamp next to both teams before the game can start. After 10 minutes walkover penalties apply.

Player restrictions

  • All Yr 3&4 and Yr 5&6 are mixed competitions. Yr 7&8 up are single sex competitions, unless stated otherwise.
  • Players can only register and play for one team per competition. A competition is defined as a league for a particular age group and gender (for juniors) or for a particular day and gender (for seniors). Note some competitions for days / age groups may have different genders allowing registration for more than one team (eg. male, female, mixed).
  • National league players
    Each team may not register more than 4 national league players at any time during the season. The exceptions to the rule are where existing teams have more than 4 players registered for national league entering the season, or where a player is selected to play national league during the season which takes their quota above 4. It is the team contact’s responsibility for ensuring that all national league players are identified by ticking the national league box on the team entry form. Players registered for national league in the winter season will also be considered to be national league players for the entirety of the following summer season.This rule does not apply to the Warrington Centre under 21s leagues.
  • Teams can field a maximum of 10 players for each match.
  • Any teams fielding illegal players will forfeit the game 20-0.

Player transfers

  • Players may transfer to another team/club during the first 10 weeks of the season. Players wishing to transfer between team/clubs may only do so by completing a transfer form & with authorised permission of the Basketball Programme Manager. Players transferring teams without permission will forfeit or lose all matches whilst illegally participating. After ten weeks, players will not be permitted to change teams (except in exceptional circumstances).
  • The transfer rule applies during and across seasons, which includes breaks between seasons. A transfer request is not required for players who subsequently do not register for one or more seasons. Transfers between teams from the same club are permitted between seasons without the need of a transfer form.
  • Poaching of players from other teams or clubs is not permitted. This normally involves approaching players (or their parents for juniors) from other teams or clubs and offering them the opportunity to join their team or club. Where this is found to have occurred, the associated transfers will not be approved and disciplinary action will be taken against those found to be poaching.

Grand Finals

  • It is the club/team responsibility to ascertain a player’s final eligibility at least two (2) weeks prior to the end of the season. Players have to have played 5 games to qualify for a place in play offs or finals. Byes do not count as a game played.
  • Team organisers should not write a player’s name on the score sheet unless he/she plays in that game. If players’ names are on the sheet and they haven’t played, a line must be put through the name. This should be done for every game.
  • For all school years 3&4 and 5&6 competitions, the season will finish with normal league games on grand finals day, and they will not take part in any play-off series. Awards will be given to the league winners and runners up. All players on teams competing in primary school competitions will receive an award.
  • At the Oldham centre only, primary schools leagues will culminate in a tournament on the last day of the centre. Awards will be presented for league winners and runners up and the tournament will be a fun end of season activity followed by age group presentations.
  • For all other competitions, the top four placed teams in the league will qualify for play-offs and will play semi-finals (1st v 4th, 2nd v 3rd) on the game before grand finals followed by a final on grand finals day. All other teams will play on semi-finals day
  • For all semi-final and final matches, in the event of a tied match at the end of regulation time, one period of overtime will be played of 2 minutes stopping clock. If after 2 minutes the scores are still tied, the end of time siren will be ignored and play will continue. The first team to score after this will win the game, even if the basket is a free throw. Note that team fouls incurred in the second half of the game will be carried forward to the overtime period. Teams will only be permitted one timeout in the second half which can be carried over into overtime.

Court responsibilities

The team coach or, in their absence, team captain is responsible for the conduct of his/her team’s players, scorers and spectators. All participants are requested to read the guidelines concerning codes of conduct and spectator behaviour. Coaches and spectators must stay in their team’s appointed areas. Where team bench areas are marked out, only players and coaches are permitted to sit in these areas. Team coaches must not stand closer to the table than the marked bench area but may move down the side line to the baseline to coach.

Blood rule

If a player should bleed during the course of a game they must leave the court immediately and may not return until all bleeding has stopped or suitably covered. Any blood on players clothing, the ball or surface of the court must be cleaned before play can recommence.


For health and safety reasons, no player may compete once she has passed the 3-months mark

Jewellery & fingernails

  • All jewellery is to be removed with the exception of medical alert bracelets, flat wedding rings and newly acquired pierced earrings which shall be taped. Any other piercing that cannot be removed must be taped.
  • No adornment that may endanger player safety shall be worn. This includes hair clips/slides etc.
  • Fingernails must be short and smooth. The referee may check this but captains should check players before games. Acrylic nails will only be allowed if short and smooth. Nails are not allowed to be covered in order to avoid cutting.

Personal belongings disclaimer

All participants, spectators, coaches and match officials are responsible for their own personal belongings and vehicles whilst attending the Centre. B. H. Sports Management Ltd will not accept any responsibility for any items lost, stolen or damaged at the Centre. It is advised that items of value such as jewellery and mobile phones are not brought to the Centre.

Insurance & First-aid

  • All players are covered by the SFAC Public Liability Insurance but players and officials take to the courts at their own risk.
  • Teams should provide their own first aid kits and ice packs and strapping tape.
  • The Centre does provide ice packs for injuries. Any application of ice to injuries is done at the discretion of the team.
  • The Centre has a basic emergency first aid kit located behind reception.
  • All injuries are to be reported to the SFAC as soon as they occur and the Accident Book completed.

Alcohol & drugs

  • No player or official is allowed to compete / officiate at the SFAC if they are under the influence of alcohol or illegal substances.
  • If any SFAC member of staff feels that a player, official or spectator is under the influence of any substance, they will be asked to leave the SFAC.
  • No alcohol or illegal substance may be brought into the centre.

No-smoking policy

The Centre has a no smoking policy. Smoking is not permitted anywhere in the building or outside on the school/centre grounds. This includes e-cigarettes.


  • Anyone wishing to use a camera, still or video must before attempting to use that camera, register their intent with the Centre staff at reception. This includes the use of camera-phones for photography.
  • From time to time the SFAC will have professional photographers on hand to take pictures of teams and players. These pictures will be available to buy after matches on these days. SFAC may use some of these images for promotional purposes. If your team or a member of your team does not want to be photographed, this must be brought to the attention of the centre.

Dunking rule

Any person found hanging on the rings (unless to not do so would cause injury) will be charged with a Technical Foul and may be suspended from continuing to play in that game. The full cost of any damage caused to a basket by dunking or swinging on the ring must be paid by the offender before that person will be allowed to recommence playing at the SFAC.

Overflow venues

On occasions where leagues run to capacity, some games will be scheduled at overflow venues to accommodate all teams in the league. At present, the overflow matches will be:

  • Stockport Centre (Saturdays) – games will overflow to the Oldham Sport for All Centre (Roman Road, OL8 3PT)
  • Stockport Centre (Saturdays) – games will overflow to St Anne’s RC High School (Glenfield Road, Heaton Chapel, SK4 2QP)
  • Stockport Centre (Saturdays) – games will overflow to Manchester College (Openshaw Campus, Ashton Old Road, Openshaw, M11 2WH)


Where possible complaints should be directed to the Basketball Programme Manager at the time of the game in a calm and courteous manner. Threatening and abusive conduct towards SFAC staff from players, coaches, spectators and officials will not be tolerated and such actions will be reported to the Management who will take disciplinary action against offenders, which may lead to prosecution.

A copy of the Sport for All Centres complaints procedure can be found here.