Cambridge University Association Football League
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (September 2008)|
Matt Reizenstein, Nikos Yerolemou
Modern football was developed on the playing fields of public schools and universities in the late 19th Century, thus it is only natural that the University of Cambridge should have a flourishing football league. It is because of this early influence on the game that The FA granted the university a seat on The FA Council, a position retained to this day. This gives Cambridge University county status (separate from Cambridgeshire), with the same voice in English football's governing body as such associations as London, the Army and Women's football.
Origins of collegiate football
Football in Cambridge was being played on Parker's Piece as far back as the 1830s. However it was not until 1855 that the University had a formal football club, Cambridge University Association Football Club, making it one the oldest club in the world. Collegiate football helped spread the game in the 1870s, and the first competition for these teams was held in 1882–1883. The format was a knockout tournament based on the FA Challenge Cup, which had been created in 1871. The first entrants included nine colleges (Caius, St. John's, Clare, St. Catharine's, Pembroke, Sidney, Jesus, King's and Trinity Hall) and three old boys sides (Old Harrovians, Trinity Etonians and Trinity Rest). It is likely that the university, quick to follow The FA in hosting a cup competition, also soon followed the idea of William McGregor, the founder of The Football League, by creating the Cambridge University Association Football League.
The Modern Era
For the 2006–2007 season, the number of teams in the league reached 78, and in the 2007–2008 season, 31 clubs and 75 teams entered CUAFL competitions. This means that at least 800 people play college football each season, however this is a very conservative estimate.
CUAFL organises Seven divisions as well as three cup competitions, 'Cuppers' for first teams, the Shield for second teams and the Vase for lower teams.
Cuppers is a knockout tournament with pairings drawn completely at random at the first captains's meeting of the season. There are no seeds and byes are only awarded if the number of entrants requires them. The final is contested the neutral venue of Grange Road. The competition starts in the fourth week of Michaelmas term. In 2004–2005, 31 teams entered the competition, including 26 full colleges, one college affiliated to the university, two local schools, and Cambridge's other university, ARU. To be eligible for entry, teams must be affiliated to CUAFL. Each club may only enter one team, which must be their 1st team. There are five rounds in total.
Cuppers was first contested in 1882–1883. The first entrants included nine colleges (Caius, St. John's, Clare, St. Catharine's, Pembroke, Sidney, Jesus, King's and Trinity Hall) and three old boys sides (Old Harrovians, Trinity Etonians and Trinity Rest).
There is a Plate competition for teams that have been knocked out in the first round.
In recent years, when St. Catharine's College has been victorious in Cuppers they have challenged the Oxford University Cuppers Champions to a one-off "Supercuppers" match. In 2007, they defeated Brasenose College Oxford 3–2 (after extra time) in a match held at St. Catharine's Sports Fields, Cambridge. In 2009, they played St. John's College Oxford at Iffley Road, Oxford, and again were victorious 3–2.
The results of the principle competitions are shown below.
|Season||Division 1 Champions||Cuppers Champions||Plate Winners||Shield Winners||Vase Winners|
|1980–1981||St. Catharine's & Downing (Shared)|
|1985–1986||Fitzwilliam & St. Catharine's (Shared)|
|1998–1999||Fitzwilliam||Christ's||Homerton||Long Road II|
|1999–2000||Jesus||Long Road||APU||Fitzwilliam II|
|2000–2001||St Catharine's||St. Catharine's||Homerton||Fitzwilliam II|
|2001–2002||Fitzwilliam||Long Road||Churchill||Hills Road II|
|2002–2003||St John's||St. John's||Kings||Hills Road II|
|2003–2004||Girton||St. John's||Clare||APU II|
|2004–2005||Fitzwilliam||Jesus||Gonville & Caius||APU II|
|2005–2006||Churchill||Fitzwilliam||Anglia Ruskin||Long Road II||ARU III|
|2006–2007||Churchill||St. Catharine's||Corpus Christi||St. Catharines's III|
|2007–2008||Trinity||Christ's||St. Catharine's||Gonville & Caius II|
|2008–2009||Downing||St. Catharine's||Pembroke||Trinity Hall II||Churchill III|
Board of Directors
CUAFL President: Dr John Little
|2013-2014||Matt Reizenstein, Nikos Yerolemou|
- Cambridge University Association Football League
- University of Cambridge
- University of Cambridge Sport