The AFA and London Society of Association Referees
The AFA and London Society of Association Referees' is a local branch of the national
Referees' Association. It is one of the largest referees' societies in the country
and works in close cooperation and partnership with the AFA (see below).
Formed in 1907 the Amateur Football Alliance is one of the unique county football
associations affiliated to the English Football Association to have no geographical
boundaries, the others being RAF, Army, Navy and the 'Oxbridge' Universities. That
said, the vast majority of AFA football is played in the Greater London area.
A brief history of how the AFA was formed as an alternative to the FA, and how the
organisation has evolved over the years, can be found here.
AFA football is rooted in the amateur spirit, with the emphasis firmly set on sportsmanship
and hospitality. Many competitions in the AFA still proudly maintain their traditions
regarding hospitality for away teams and match officials but it's certainly not just
3 cheers and handshakes all-around after the game with a plate of sandwiches in the
bar afterwards. Football within the AFA is played with as much passion, commitment
and skill as within any other county as is evidenced by the outstanding record of
achievement by AFA clubs in external competitions.
Many of the leagues - operating at weekends and midweek - have a history dating back
to the early 1900's with one, the London University League (see below) dating back
to 1836. The larger leagues - like the AFC and the SAL - are regionalised to cut
down on travel times and many clubs have links to schools and other institutions.
Run at all levels of Senior football including veterans and at youth level the AFA
run many County Cup competitions. It is not unusual for an AFA club to run 7 teams,
with some running more, all of which will be entitled to enter a county cup competition.
The SAL was founded in 1907, the same year as the Amateur Football Alliance to which
it is affiliated. Nowadays the SAL consists of thirty-four clubs fielding approximately
215 sides based in the Greater London area.
The SAL provides football for a wide range of abilities from the more ambitious players
in the higher divisions who compete hard to win, to those further down the league
who are less driven but still like a good, competitive game of football each week.
Formed in 1965 with 3 match officials appointed to every game this midweek evening
competition has 30 teams, all from the legal profession. Mostly played on artificial
surfaces at central London locations, there are 3 divisions and 2 cup competitions.
Founded in 1913-14 to cater for the excess of clubs wishing to partake in the Arthur
Dunn Cup. Currently 21 clubs compete in the 8 competitions from Senior to 7th XI
and Veterans. Matches are held on Saturdays apart from Veterans on Sundays.