How to host your own football tournament

Posted on: June 13th, 2019 | by Laura Murdoch | No Comments

Last Updated on: 1st September 2023, 10:04 am

How to host your own football tournament


Advice for setting up your own tournament


We know that grassroots football isn’t just about coming first and winning football trophies. It’s about coming together as a team, developing skills, and having fun. That doesn’t mean it isn’t still nice to have a few titles to your name. Plus, a bit of friendly competition can be a good thing for young people. So, setting up a grassroots football tournament can be a great thing. But how do you go about it? Here’s our handy guide with everything you’ll need to think about.

FC Bluestar U7 Girls with their medals

FC Bluestar U7 Girls

Contact your County FA

Before going any further with setting up your tournament you should get in touch with your County FA. In order for the matches to be official, it will need to be sanctioned by your County. Once your tournament has been sanctioned, the relevant County FA will be able to ensure that all teams, coaches, and volunteers are affiliated and have the relevant insurance and safeguards in place.

Your individual county will be able to tell you exactly what you need to do but it is likely there will be a fee to pay. It is also worth making note of which teams will be competing, how it will be structured, and who will be managing the event.

It is important to remember that organising or taking part in an unsanctioned football tournament would cause all insurance to be void. Meaning any injuries suffered would no longer be covered.

Getting in Control of Your Finances

Organising a football tournament will mean a lot of money changing hands. It means you’ll need a competent person taking control of everything. There’ll be the venue to pay for, officials fees, promotion, transport, and equipment that will need to be budgeted for starters.

Finding the Right Venue

The structure of your tournament will determine the kind of venue that you will require. If you have a large number of teams, you will want to have multiple matches carrying on at the same time. You need to find a large enough venue to accommodate the teams and spectators whilst ensuring you have an adequate number of pitches. Things like parking and changing facilities must be taken into account.

Obviously, your main priority is the safety and welfare of the players. As such, you must make sure that your venue has adequate insurance and pose no risk to the children taking part in the event. All goal posts must be secure and the surfaces of the pitch must be well maintained.

Arnold Eagles with their medals

Arnold Eagles Under 13s


A good way to bring some money into your event is to ask for sponsorship. You can approach local businesses to see if they’d be interested. The best option would be to have different levels of sponsorship which determines the kind of money you would want. So, the basic level could be a mention on any promotional material. Then moving up to adverts in tournament programmes, banners, and, in some cases, the opportunity to be present at the tournament.

A football tournament like this could be great exposure for the business and would strengthen their position in the community. It is worth reaching out to local companies of different sizes to check. You’ll find that most are willing to help out in cases like these.

First Aid

Welfare and safety should be your two main concerns when planning this kind of event. It is necessary to make sure that there are first aid procedures in place in case of injury. As well as having standard First Aid equipment, at least one qualified First Aider must be present. You need to make sure there are plenty of phones nearby in case of a major emergency.

Nobody wants to tempt fate but it is always worth going through your emergency procedures so everyone knows what to do. Brief everyone on your team about this so you can inform the teams and spectators on the day.


You should appoint a welfare officer for your event. A welfare officer’s role is to maintain a safe and fun environment for everyone. Your welfare officer has to ensure that safeguarding practices are in place for the tournament. These can be related to things like photography guidelines, the appropriate ratios of adults to children, and referring any concerns about a child to the correct place. They can be involved with getting appropriate consent from each player’s parent. Each club should have its own welfare officer, so it might be an idea to liaise with them beforehand.

Match Officials

You will need to make sure that you have enough referees to cover all of your matches. Referees can be arranged through your local County FA. This means they will definitely be FA trained and have all of the necessary safeguarding checks. Don’t forget, there will be a fee and expenses to pay for the referees’ time.


You need to make sure that there are enough adults to supervise and help run your tournament. It makes sense to ask each club to bring a couple of volunteers with them if you can. Beforehand, you’ll need to assign roles to everyone so there is no confusion on the day.

Redpath Albion with their football trophies

Redpath Albion


If you don’t have a number of teams in mind for your tournament then you’ll need to create some promotional materials to get clubs interested. Try and get the help of a designer or, at least, someone who has experience with creating flyers. You’ll want to be brief but offer all the necessary information. Make sure your flyer is eye-catching and easy to read. Put your contact details so you can answer any enquiries.

A little local promotion won’t hurt either. After all, the bigger the tournament the more likely you will be to get sponsorship.


Obviously, you need to ensure that you have all of the necessary bibs, footballs, and other equipment before your tournament. You might find that the clubs are able to put all of their resources together or you can take advantage of our fantastic bulk deals.

Tournament Structure

Before the big day, you’ll seed to set out the number of matches, order or play, and a timetable of the day so every team knows what they’re doing at all times. The number of teams participating in your tournament will obviously depend on how you structure your tournament. There is some information on about how you should be organising your football tournament that is a useful read.

Additionally, has a handy download that will help you organise your football tournament. This includes an example of a tournament structure that you can use. You will also want to produce scorecards so it is easy to keep track of the points system.

Spirit of the Game

You need to make sure that everyone who is attending your event is approaching the tournament in the right way. A Spirit of the Game sheet should set out the expectations of anyone attending the event. This should be something along the lines of:

Football Tournament Trophy Winner


  • Make sure the emphasis is on competing fairly. Remind their team that they are representing their schools/clubs and should behave accordingly.
  • They have responsibility for their team’s behaviour.
  • Make sure every player has an equal chance to play.


  • Teams must play within the rules of the competition.
  • The intimidation of officials will be not permitted. Players must accept all decisions without argument.
  • Whatever the result, be gracious and remember to shake hands after the game.


  • Organisers have the power to stop the football tournament in the event of foul and abusive language.
  • Always be positive with your encouragement.

Ultimately, you just need to make sure everyone is approaching the tournament in a positive way. The emphasis should be on fair play and fun rather than winning at any cost.


Finally, you’ll need something to reward all the players with. Obviously, you’ll want a fairly impressive trophy for the winning team but it’s important to make sure everyone feels as though their effort has been noticed. There are plenty of additional football trophies or medals that you can hand out on the day to make all players feels included. You can check out our previous blog for tips on hosting an awards ceremony.


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