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  League Rules

FAIRFIELD COUNTY TENNIS LEAGUE RULES AND REGULATIONS

A. BASIC PROCEDURES AND SCHEDULES

1.    The League shall consist of Clubs in Fairfield County Connecticut. The League is divided into two �conferences�, an �Open Conference� which will compete on Wednesdays and a �Masters Conference� (50 and over and 60 and over)) which will compete on Thursdays.  Each Conference will be divided into divisions based on the result of the previous season except that all teams in divisions below the first division shall be assigned to a geographical division as determined by the Board of Directors in accordance with the record from the previous season. The number of Clubs and divisions may be adjusted subject to Board approval. 

2.    Each team must have a captain who will fulfill League responsibilities as outlined in these Rules and Regulations. A list of teams with the division assignments and their captains will be listed on the League website: www.fctl.org

3.    Open Conference competition shall begin in mid-May on a Wednesday and Masters Conference on the following Thursday, the date as approved at the Annual Meeting, normally between May 13-23, and continue each subsequent week until the season is completed. Each club team in the League will play every other team in its division on at least one occasion on the dates and places shown on the schedule of competitions. 

4.    Home team captains are responsible for contacting visiting team captains at least two days prior to their competition to:

a.     acknowledge the competition,

b.    advise the visiting Club Team captain who to contact for last minute weather decisions, and

c.     coordinate any other arrangements necessary. 

5.    Each Open Conference competition shall consist of four men�s doubles matches between four doubles player pairs. Each Masters Conference competition shall consist of three men�s doubles matches between three player pairs. The doubles pairs shall be ranked one through three or four in descending order of ability, and shall play the correspondingly ranked doubles pair from the opposing team. To ensure competitive matches, compliance with this requirement is basic to the integrity of the League.

6.    Each match will be best two out of three sets. When in any set the game score becomes 6-all, a 12 point tie-breaker game will be played. 

7.    Home team captains are responsible for providing balls and refreshments. 

8.    A post or preseason tournament, the Alex Reddin Memorial Tournament (which has no effect on team scoring or ranking), may be played in September or May.

B. SCORING, RANKING AND DIVISION TRANSFERS

1.    One point will be awarded for each match won; no points will be awarded for matches lost. In certain circumstances, as outlined in Rules C.1-C.8, teams may win a half point for cancelled or unfinished matches, or such other points as decided by the Board. 

2.    Home team captains shall be responsible for reporting individual match scores (including players names and which team got the tiebreaker where the teams tied 2-2), to the League website immediately following the competition, but no later than noon the following day.  A �rainout� and the makeup date must be reported on the league website.  In the event that the home team captain or his surrogate does not enter the scores on the website by noon the day following the competition, one point may be deducted from the season�s score of the team responsible for reporting the results. In the event of extenuating circumstances, the point penalty may be reversed, but only upon petition to the Board.

A tiebreaker is determined as follows:

a.     If the competition score was tied, then the number of sets won by each pair during the competition will decide the winner.

b.    If the sets were even, then the number of games won by each pair during the competition will decide the winner.

c.     If the games were even, the spin of a racket will decide.

3.    The team winning the most points during the season in each division will be the winner of that division; the team with the second highest total, the runner-up. The winner of Division I will be the winner of the Conference. 

4.    In the event that teams in a division have the same number of points at the end of the season, their head-to-head record will determine their final position, taking into account the tiebreaker from B.2 if necessary.  If a tiebreaker leaves the positions unresolved, the Board shall determine the winner by drawing lots.  

5.    Regarding the movement of teams based on a season�s results:

a.     Open Conference: It is mandatory that the winner and runner-up of each region of Division III move into Division II the following year, trading places with the three teams with the lowest point totals in each region of Division II; in Division II, the single winner of each region shall advance to Division I with the two lowest Division I teams moving down. The bottom 2 teams of each region of Division III will move to Division IV and the top three teams of each region of Division IV will move up.

b.    Masters Conference: The bottom two teams in Division I will move to Division II. The top two teams from Division II will move up to Division I. The bottom two teams from Division II will move down to Division III one to the East and one to the West. The top team from Division III East and Division III West will move up. The winning team in Division I will be considered the winner of the Masters Conference.

c.      These rules for both Conferences remain in effect even if it results in two teams from the same Club being placed in the same division. However, a team may apply for a lower division placement if, in its judgment, its team strength has been materially affected by the loss of one or more top players. Said application must be made before the deadline for new team application to allow opportunity to prepare the schedules for the upcoming season. This application is subject to approval by the Board.

6.    When a change in the number of teams in the League or other circumstances make an exception to the rules of division transfer advisable, the Board will notify the League.

C. UNUSUAL CIRCUMSTANCES

1.    All competitions not started due to weather or other unusual circumstances shall automatically be rescheduled to the first Monday or Tuesday following the scheduled competition. A competition will be deemed started when any one court has played at least one point. The home team Captain shall make the election of whether the rescheduled competition shall be played on the following Monday or Tuesday, and shall communicate his choice to the captain of the opposing team on the same day that the original competition was scheduled. If the home team cannot schedule the competition for the following Monday or Tuesday (assuming they are not national holidays), the opposing team has the option of being the host and electing whether the competition will be played on the following Monday or Tuesday. In the event the home team Captain selects a Monday or Tuesday that falls on the observance of a national holiday (Memorial Day or July 4th), the opposing captain may opt to not play on that day. The following Monday or Tuesday shall then be selected by the home team Captain. In the event a rescheduled competition must again be postponed because of bad weather, the home team captain shall again make the election and communicate his choice within the time specified above. Since available daylight decreases rapidly in August and the likelihood of rain increases, all captains are urged to make-up postponed competitions on other evenings/weekends throughout the season. The captain of the home team and the captain of the away team need to agree on playing indoors in the event of inclement weather. This is true even if the home team has indoor courts. 

2.    When it is known in advance that a match or matches must be defaulted due to a shortage of one or more players, the defaults must start with the lowest doubles pair among all of a club�s teams and proceed up from the bottom. 

3.    Matches should begin at 6:00 p.m., but in no event later than 6:45 p.m. A doubles team will be �ready to play� if both team members are on the court in tennis attire. If the team members of one of the teams are not ready to play at 6:30 p.m., one set of the match will be defaulted to the team which is ready to play. If a pair of one of the teams is not ready to play by 6:45 p.m., the match will be defaulted, with one point awarded to the team which is ready to play. If both teams are not ready to play by 6:45 p.m., then that particular match will be considered a default with no point awarded to either team and with no option by either team captain to reschedule.

For clubs with lighted courts, home competitions may begin after 6:00p.m., if both the home team Captain and opposing Captain agree. The first set default time will be 30 minutes after the agreed upon start time and the match default time will be 45 minutes after the agreed upon start time.

4.    It is mandatory that captains shall include in their weekly report of match results to the League website the number of defaults that occurred in connection with the competition. The Board is authorized to take appropriate action, including suspension, where any team has defaulted excessively. 

5.    Any scheduled match begun but interrupted because of rain, darkness, imminent danger to a player, or other unusual circumstances may be settled by:

a.     The default of either team at that time.

b.    With the agreement of both captains:

1.    Continuation of the match that evening indoors or substituting a 10 point tiebreaker for the third set.

2.    Continuation of the match at a mutually agreeable time and place within eleven days.

3.    Scoring each team a half point as long as it is not the last match of the season and the scoring outcome of that last match does not impact the relegation or advancement of any team within the division.

In the continuation of an interrupted match, it shall begin at the point the match was interrupted, with the same score and the same teams (i.e. the same four players). All of the continued matches for a team do not need to be played at the same time or date. 

6.    In the event that a competition has not been completed according to section C, then the Division Secretary shall make a reasonable effort to confer with each team captain and shall promptly set a date for the competition to be played. In the event that either team does not appear on such date, it shall be defaulted. In the event of a rain-out or rain interruption, the Division Secretary shall reschedule the match. 

7.    If the teams leave the court in an interrupted match without agreeing on any option as outlined in Rule C.5, or if the match should not be played in eleven days, the Division Secretary will make a prompt determination of how it will be scored.  Failure to observe this may include a penalty of up to two points per match for failure to play the match. 

8.    Teams which do not have courts, or sufficient courts, may play �away� more than normal.  For the purpose of providing balls and refreshments (A.7), these teams will be designated �Home Team� for half of their competitions and will be responsible for contacting the other team captain and for providing balls and refreshments at these competitions as indicated on the schedule.

D. REQUIREMENTS, RESTRICTIONS AND CONSEQUENCES

1.    A player must be a male member of one of the clubs in the League. For the Masters Conferences, the player must turn 50 or 60 respectively by December 31st of the current year of play.

2.    Each team may play no more than one junior player during each competition in the Open Conference. Different junior players may play during the season, but never more than one per competition. A junior player is defined as anyone who will not have reached his 25th birthday by December 31st of the current year. There is no lower limit of age.

3.    In the event a team plays  a player who is otherwise ineligible without announcing this fact to the opposing captain and forfeiting the match in which such ineligible player participates, it shall forfeit all matches of the competition. If any ineligible player is announced before the matches begin, ineligible players must play in the lowest positions and those matches are forfeited. .

4.    If a team has been found to play a doubles pair in violation of A.5 they will forfeit all competition matches at and below the �stacked� position.

5.    Where a Club has more than one team in a Conference, the eight (Open Conference) or six (Masters Conference) highest adult ranked players in rank order plus any juniors that are among the top ranked players must be designated for play on only each higher team (#1 team and #2 team if there is a #3 team, and #3 team if there is a #4 team). The designated players may not play for a team lower than their designation. All other interchanges may be made as needed. #1 team captains (and #2 team captains if there is a #3 team and #3 captain if there is a #4 team) must identify their team�s designated players for the current season on the League website before the first match of the season.

Undesignated players that play for a club with 3 or more teams may not play down more than 1 team from where they normally play (e.g. an undesignated player that normally plays on the club�s # 1 team, could play for the club�s #2 team but not for their # 3 or #4 teams). 

6.    The captain of each team in the League must publish and keep current (on the league website) his roster of players, numerically ranking players from strongest to weakest, classifying them as designated, junior or other classification that the League may require, clearly distinguishing players with the same last name.  The team will only earn points for matches played after the designated players and team rosters are posted on the League website.

7.    When regular members of a higher-ranking team are unable to participate in a competition, the club shall send players so that the pair ranking as described in section A.5 is observed, irrespective of the latter�s usual affiliation with a lower-ranking team. Even last minute unavailability should be handled this way, to the extent possible. The only exception to this practice is that the Captain of a lower ranking team may remain with his team even if his ability as a player would otherwise call for him to play in the match of a higher ranking team. If a higher-ranked team defaults a match, both that team and the team immediately below will be assessed a penalty point.

8.    Where a player belongs to more than one Club, that player may play for only one Club in each Conference during each season. 

9.    Because Clubs have varying rules regarding tennis apparel, players must abide by the dress code of the home team Club or be defaulted. If in doubt, wear �all white� with a collared shirt and tennis sneakers. Team captains must report their club�s dress code to support@fctl.org for posting on www.fctl.org.

10.  No person will be allowed to play in a League match if his job title is that of head or assistant tennis professional or equivalent. An aforementioned tennis professional will be allowed to play under the following circumstances:

a.     He has been a full dues-paying member of the club for at least a year.

b.    He cannot play for the club at which he teaches.

c.     Division I teams will be allowed to field two tennis professionals and Division II teams will be allowed one professional.

d.    The professional will be indicated as a teaching professional on the League�s website.

e.    A junior may teach tennis in the summer as long as it is not year round and he does not play for the club at which he teaches (this rule is intended to allow high school and college students to teach tennis as a summer job).

f.      If the professional will not reach his 25th birthday by December 31st of the current year of play, he will count as both the one allowable junior and one allowable professional.
 

11.  Teams will not be admitted to the League unless the club can host a minimum of four home matches in the Open Conference or three matches in the Masters Conference each week on HarTru or equivalent courts.  Clubs requesting additional teams must provide proof of court availability for the additional home competitions.  Teams requesting the addition or reporting the removal of a team must notify the League via www.fctl.org by the last day of February.

E. ORGANIZATION 

1.    A membership fee to be determined annually is payable promptly on June 1st. The fee should be sent to the League Treasurer, payable to Fairfield County Tennis League.  The captain of the highest team at a club is responsible for paying the membership fee.

2.    Any disputes concerning these rules or concerning matters not covered by these rules should be directed at once to the Division Secretary. If the Division Secretary is unable to resolve the dispute, he will refer the matter to the Secretary of the League and, if he is unable to affect a solution agreeable to the disputing parties, the Secretary of the League shall forward the dispute to The Board. The Board shall have the power to place a team or player on probation or suspension.

3.    The Board of Directors shall govern the League. 

4.    The Annual Meeting, by a majority of those team captains present and voting, shall elect a Board of Directors and the Officers of the League. 

5.    The Board shall have the power to admit new teams, remove existing teams, realign divisions and move teams between divisions. 

6.    The Board shall receive the Treasurer's report and establish annual dues. 

7.    The Board shall have the power to amend these Rules and Regulations. 

8.    The Board shall consist of up to 11 participants in the League, five of whom shall be the Officers of the League:

a.     President

b.    Vice President

c.     Secretary for Scheduling 

d.    Secretary of the League

e.    Treasurer 

9.    The President shall be responsible for the proper functioning of the League. He shall preside at the Annual Meeting and at meetings of the Board of Directors.

(March 2016)