Football South has identified that there needs  to be a more stringent process for dispensations but cases would be considered on an individual basis  depending on evidence provided. Therefore the below criteria must be met for a dispensation to be approved.

Criteria for the 2017 season:

  • Girls playing down a maximum of 2 grades, either in a mixed boys team or an all girls team.
    Reasoning – In the NZF Girls Framework it is recommended that girls playing in boys football play down 1 grade to ensure technical development is the focus rather than the physical challenge of playing boys as they mature through puberty.
  • Clubs will have allowance for 3 players per grade, if their birthdays fall in October, November or December to play down 1 grade. An example, if a player is turning 12 in October they will be eligible to play 11th or 12th grade, but not both.
    Reasoning – This allows for Relative Age Effect where players born in the last quarter of the year might find it more beneficial to play those in the age group below depending on their development.
  • A player has a physical or mental disability.
    Reasoning – All our players are entitled to a positive playing experience and we will allow any player with a disability to access an appropriate grade to ensure their participation in the game is not lost.
  • The player would have to travel an unreasonable distance to be able to participate in his correct age group.
    Reasoning – All players should have the opportunity to play so we would consider removing travel as a barrier.
  • They are not a representative player. This includes any players involved in Otago Rep teams, FTC or National Age Group Tournament.
    Reasoning – These players have been identified as being talented and would therefore should at least be playing in their own grade (please note this does not apply for girls playing in mixed grades)

Once players get to competitive football in 11th grade there will be a tougher stance on dispensations. For grades below this there will be considerations made for dispensations to help fill teams. There may also be some considerations for players that have always played out of their grade but sufficient evidence would need to be provided by the club.

For players wanting to play up one grade this will come at the discretion of the club. The club will need to consider that the player is going to have an enjoyable experience and that playing up will pose a realistic challenge for their level of ability. The club needs to obtain written permission from the players parents and keep this on file. For all players wanting to play more than one grade higher or wanting to play senior football prior to the required age an application still needs to be made via the form below.


The below process will apply. All applications made before 5pm Friday will be considered the Monday following. Football South will be in touch regarding the application after this. Please note clubs should obtain written permission from the players parents before submitting any dispensation application.

Dispensation ProcessDispensation Button

Approved Dispensation Button