Cambridge University Association Football League

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Founded 19th Century
John Little
John Harrison, Marcus Nielsen

The Cambridge University Association Football League (CUAFL) is the governing body of football in the University of Cambridge in England.


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[edit]

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 of the oldest clubs 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[edit]

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 principal competitions are shown below.

Season Division 1 Champions Cuppers Champions Plate Winners Shield Winners Vase Winners
1945–1946   St. John's      
1946–1947   NO CONTEST      
1947–1948   Fitzwilliam House      
1948–1949   Christ's      
1949–1950   St. John's      
1950–1951   Emmanuel      
1951–1952   St. Catharine's      
1952–1953   Emmanuel      
1953–1954   Christ's      
1954–1955   Emmanuel      
1955–1956   Downing      
1956–1957   Christ's      
1957–1958   Christ's      
1958–1959   St. John's      
1959–1960   Christ's      
1960–1961   Christ's      
1961–1962   Christ's      
1962–1963   Christ's      
1963–1964   Christ's      
1964–1965   Christ's      
1965–1966   Christ's      
1968–1969   Fitzwilliam      
1969–1970   St. John's      
1970–1971   Christ's      
1973–1974   Trinity      
1974–1975   St. Catharine's      
1975–1976   St. Catharine's      
1976–1977   St. Catharine's      
1978–1979   Christ's      
1979–1980   Christ's      
1980–1981   St. Catharine's & Downing (Shared)      
1981–1982   St. Catharine's      
1982–1983   St. Catharine's      
1983–1984   Trinity Hall      
1984–1985 Robinson St. John's      
1985–1986   Fitzwilliam & St. Catharine's (Shared)      
1986–1987   Selwyn      
1987–1988   Downing      
1990–1991   St. John's      
1991–1992   Downing      
1992–1993 Trinity Fitzwilliam      
1993–1994 Anglia University Fitzwilliam      
1994–1995 Downing Girton      
1995–1996 Fitzwilliam Long Road Girton    
1996–1997 Downing Long Road Clare    
1997–1998 Girton Fitzwilliam Magdalene    
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
2009–2010 Downing Trinity  
2010–2011 Trinity Queens' Jesus III
2011–2012 Downing Fitzwilliam Jesus III
2012–2013 Fitzwilliam Fitzwilliam Selwyn Jesus III
2013–2014 Trinity Hall Jesus Robinson Jesus III
2014–2015 Downing St John's Selwyn Jesus II Girton III
2015–2016 Queens' Robinson Christ's Queens' II Queens' III
2016–2017 Fitzwilliam Fitzwilliam II Fitzwilliam III

Board of Directors[edit]

CUAFL President: Dr John Little

Year Chairman
2001–2002 Chris Palmer
2002–2003 Rod Latham
2003–2004 Will Jobling
2004–2005 Martyn Race
2005–2006 Martyn Race
2006–2007 Bob Myhill
2007–2008 Jamie Aspinall
2008–2009 Rory Scott
2009–2010 Luke Jesson
2010–2011 Mark Baxter
2011–2012 George Deeks
2012–2013 Adam Donald
2013-2014 Matt Reizenstein, Nikos Yerolemou
2014-2015 Nicholas Hilton, Nikos Yerolemou
2015-2016 John Harrison, Marcus Nielsen

External links[edit]