The following rules apply to the CBL for the 2020/2021 season and govern how the games in each division will be officiated and eligibility of players assessed. Unless specifically stated below, the league adheres to and adopts standard governing body rules as prescribed by Basketball England.

CBL U12 Rules (Division 1&2)

As an introduction to the sport and youth competitions, the under 12’s is where the Community Basketball League and all team coaches should be encouraging as many children as possible to play.

  1. No full-court press or full-court defense. If a team continues to press or play any form of full-court defense, officials will give the head coach 1 warning. Any subsequent infringements will result in a free-throw for the opposing team and retention of possession (whether the free-throw is scored or not) at the half-court sideline.
  2. No zone defense – man to man coverage only. Defensive players must stay within 2 steps of the offensive player they are guarding at all times (distance from the offensive player is to be assessed by the game official). While we encourage spatial awareness and ‘help’ defensive principals at the U14 level, at U12 we endorse correct teaching of individual defensive techniques and structure the rules so every player gains experience in learning how to defend as an individual. If a team continues to play any form of zonal defense, or defensive players continually ‘sag off’ the players they are guarding, officials will give the head coach 1 warning. Any subsequent infringements will result in a free-throw for the opposing team and retention of possession (whether the free-throw is scored or not) at the half-court sideline.
  3. Defense may only be played from the half-way line.
  4. All teams should endeavour to provide a minimum of 8 players and a maximum of 12 players per game. Teams who do not provide a minimum of 8 players will be allowed to play their game however will be penalised by their opponents being awarded 2 points for each player less than 8, they may have on their team on the day. For example, a team that shows up with 6 players would start the game with their opponents up 4-0. This rule is in place to encourage coaches to actively increase the number of players on their team, to get more young people playing, and also to give the active players a fair chance to compete with other teams in the league without over-exertion. For the avoidance of doubt, if a team shows up with a team of 8-12 players, the game will start at 0-0.
  5. Every player submitted onto the scoresheet at the start of a game MUST play. If a team has any player on the scoresheet who does not play, the opposing team will be awarded 2 free-throws for each infringement. For the avoidance of doubt, for example, if 2 players do not get onto the court (barring injury, as assessed by the official and/or commissioner), 4 free-throws will be awarded to the opposing team at the end of a game. Coaches are reminded ALL PLAYERS SHOULD PLAY in the CBL. If you have no intention of playing them, do not de-motivate them by selecting them for a game and not letting them get into the live-action.

CBL All Other Divisions

The rules below apply to all other age groups and are subject to change at the discretion of the League Management Committee. Any changes will be confirmed with teams prior to implementation.

  1. All games in the CBL are played over 4 quarters of 10 minutes running clock.
  2. The clock stops in the last 2 minutes of the 2nd and 4th quarters.
  3. A one-minute time out is allowed per half, per team. The clock will not stop during timeouts unless it falls within the last 2 minutes of the 2nd or 4th quarter.
  4. 5 minutes for half time (which may be subject to change at the discretion of the game officials and/or commissioner), with 1 minute at the end of each quarter.
  5. In the event of an overtime period being necessary to determine the winner, a shortened extra period will be played at a duration of 2 minutes. If the score is still tied after the first overtime period, a second and final overtime period will be played, for a further 2 minutes. If the score is still tied after the second overtime period, the game will be decided by a ‘sudden death’ free-throw shootout. There will be no additional time-out for either team in any overtime period.
  6. In a sudden death free-throw shootout, teams will take turns in taking a free-throw until one team scores and the other misses. Players will shoot just 1 free-throw and then the opposing team shoots. No player shall shoot twice until such a time (should it become necessary, if no winning team has been decided) that ALL players on the scoresheet have taken a shot.
  7. Each team can have a MAXIMUM of 12 players, per game.
  8. 5 personal fouls per player. Upon a player's 5th foul, he/she is disqualified and no longer able to play in the game.
  9. 4 team fouls per quarter. Upon a team's 5th foul in the quarter, the opposing team is awarded a ‘1 and 1’ free-throw opportunity. In this scenario, the opposing team shoots the first free-throw and if successful, is awarded a second. If the first shot is missed, normal play resumes.
  10. In the event of a team turning up late – after a fifteen-minute grace period (i.e. if the tip is at 3 pm, the team must have 5 players on the court and the game must begin by 3.15 pm), the game will be forfeit. Teams will still be expected to play a friendly/shortened game within the allocated time remaining.
  11. A forfeited game results in a 20-0 win to the penalised teams opponents.
  12. All named head coaches for all CBL games are responsible for ensuring they and all assistant coaches, all players, club officials, parents of players, and club supporters are all aware of and adhere to the CBL Code of Conduct. Any team found not to be in adherence to the Code of Conduct, will be subject to in-game disciplinary actions from the officials and disciplinary proceedings from the League. After 1 warning from an official, in-game disciplinary actions may range from penalising the offending team/coach with a technical foul with 2 free-throws and possession back to the opposing team – through to game abandonment and awarding the game to the opposing team (in the case of severe breaches of conduct).
  13. In the event of a player’s age or eligibility being questioned by an opposing coach under protest, the coach or team manager will supply the League Commissioner with a valid registration card for the said player before the team’s next match. If registration information and proof of age/identity cannot be produced, the game in question will be awarded to the challenging team.
  14. All disputes will be resolved by the League Commissioner, on the day of the event, and resolutions reached by the Commissioner are final.
  15. Licensing. All Clubs and Players MUST be registered and licensed with the league prior to their first fixture.  A list of all team players and personnel (using the CBL Team Player & Coach Licensing form) must be completed by every team, in every division, within the CBL. The licensing form can be found here: Alterations may be made to this list during the season but must be updated using the above form as relevant.
  16. Postponements. All matches are confirmed as shown on the website. Teams can make an application to have a particular tip-off time amended and where possible, the League will look to accommodate. However, wherever this is not possible if a team cannot attend at the listed time/date, the game will be awarded to the opposing team by a score of 20-0.
  17. Playing Kit. Each team playing in the Community Basketball League must have a matching kit to include vests and shorts. Vests should be numbered front and back. Undergarments that are visible such as T-shirts are not permitted (unless it is part of the uniform, and the same colour as the playing vest and worn by the whole team). The league makes exceptions for supportive compression shirts, shorts, or ‘tights’ or additional garments worn for religious purposes. All Jewellery must be removed prior to the start of the game. There may be situations where jewelry and adornments cannot be removed. Please ensure that these situations are brought to the attention of the League Commissioner and Officials prior to tip-off time. The Commissioner and Officials will then decide if the jewelry or adornment can be worn if properly covered up. The Commissioner's decision is final.
  18. Disqualifications. In the unlikely event of a player being disqualified from a game other than for a 5th foul violation, the offending player will be automatically suspended from his/her next match. The suspension will take effect from the next match. In the event of a coach disqualification, the coach is suspended for 1 game and fined £25. The suspension will take effect from the next match. Coaches will not be permitted to coach any more games until the fine is paid in full. Players or coaches who are disqualified for disciplinary reasons 3 times within any single CBL season are automatically barred from participating in any CBL competitions for the remainder of the season. The league reserves the right to refuse future entry to barred players if no remorse or behaviour change is exhibited by the offending player or coach. Teams wanting to make an appeal against a suspension must make their appeal in writing within 24 hours to The league will review any appeal with a minimum of 3 committee members. Upon review, any subsequent decision of the review committee is final. Any appeal must be accompanied by an appeal fee of £50. The fee is refundable if the decision is overturned by the committee. If the decision is upheld no refund will be due.

Player Eligibility

The CBL hosts divisions at the following age categories for the 2019/20 season:

  • U12: 12 & Under (Must be aged 12 or under on 1st September 2020)
  • U14: 14 & Under (Must be aged 14 or under on 1st September 2020)
  • U16: 16 & Under (Must be aged 16 or under on 1st September 2020)
  • U18: 18 & Under (Must be aged 18 or under on 1st September 2020)
  • Senior Men: Open age division for adult men

In order for players to be eligible to play in any of the above categories, players must license with the CBL and provide proof of age, relative to the division they wish to play and in line with the requirements above.

In some cases, where a team has inexperienced players who are over-age but considered ‘beginners’ within the sport, special concessions may be made by the league in order to allow a player to play on his/her team. These situations are to be ‘case by case’ and be presented to the league by the coach/team organiser as they arise. Players who fit these criteria must not be considered a ‘starting five’ level player and should not be dominant within the division, as assessed by league officials.

Hereafter, all England Basketball rules apply.


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