Dispensation Overview

Football South has identified that there needs to be a more stringent process for dispensations, therefore the below criteria must be met for a dispensation to be considered.

Once players get to competitive football in 13th 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 a dispensation application needs to be submitted.

Criteria for the 2022 season:

The player would have to travel an unreasonable distance to be able to participate in their correct age group.Reasoning – All players should have the opportunity to play so we would consider removing travel as a barrier.

The player is performing consistently well beyond their age and needs an additional challenge to ensure they can continue to develop in a safe and appropriate environment.Reasoning – These players have been identified as being talented by NZF in all areas of the four corner model.

The player is 12th grade and under and there are extenuating circumstances. Reasoning - For junior grades we need to ensure players are playing where they feel comfortable or to help fill teams.

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.

In some cases, automatic dispensations are pre-approved. Clubs are responsible for overseeing these players.

Below is a list of situations where automatic approval is given: 

Girls playing down a maximum of 1 grade, either in a mixed boys team or an all girls team (applications for 2 grades).

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.


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.

For further information please contact Danny Ledwith, Football Development Manager.


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