Worldnet 2016 is almost here..

DESCRIBED by some as ‘Football Christmas’, the IFA’s flagship tournament WorldNET takes place this coming weekend, at the University of Central Lancashire Sports Arena in Preston. With 29 teams from across the UK and 1 from France taking part, a festival of IFA football is guaranteed, as old friends and new meet up. The tournament opens on Friday evening with this year’s IFA Cup Final, to be contested by Preston B and Rochdale. Then on Saturday the 30 teams play in 6 groups of 5, the final placings of which determine whether each team plays in the main cup or plate competitions on Sunday. You can follow results from the tournament on this website and by following @Worldnet2016 on Twitter.

An image that sums up WorldNET for many.. Grammy from KaisAyr gets into the spirit of the weekend during the 2013 IFA Cup Final.

Grammy from KaisAyr gets into the spirit of the weekend during the 2013 IFA Cup Final.

Competing teams are asked to read the following information;

There will be no permits issued this year. We will operate an “honesty” policy on Saturday morning – the charge for parking will be £1 per car. The team representative who signs in at the control desk in the morning is responsible for paying the parking cost for the whole team, so please make sure you know how many cars are coming, and be ready to hand over the cash when you arrive. This money will be donated to the Mark Gorry Foundation. You are naturally welcome to overpay.
One representative from each team will be required to “sign in” at the control desk no later than ONE HOUR before your first match is due to kick off. That representative should have the cash for their team’s car parking, and also this is when any late changes to their registered squad (see below) can take place. Tournament programmes will be distributed at this point.
An online form will be live later tonight for teams to register their squad. Changes can be made up until the team is signed in on Saturday morning. I will publish the URL later tonight when the form is available.
There will be a microsite hosted on the IFA website running over the course of the weekend which will show all of the results and group standings. While we will be “running” scores from pitches to the control room, please do your best to keep your team’s Twitter feed (if you have one) updated with scores so we can keep track of any that don’t find their way back to us for whatever reason.
The Steve Burns Trophy will be awarded at the end of the tournament to the leading goalscorer. At the end of each game, please give your goalscorers (if any) to the referee for him to enter on the match card. We obviously trust that there won’t be any manipulation of goals to ensure someone from your team wins the trophy – we WILL check with opposition players if anything looks suspicious, but of course we’re all fine upstanding citizens here, so nothing will look suspicious, will it? 🙂
The draw for the knockout stages will take place at around 6:30pm in the cafe. To clarify:
  1. First and second place in each group qualify automatically for the WorldNET Cup, along with the FOUR best third-placed teams (determined by points, goal difference, goals scored, number of wins and finally drawing of lots, in that order). The group winners and two best runners-up (same criteria to determine) will be seeded for the draw, and paired with an unseeded team, with the onward path pre-determined as shown in the centre pages of the tournament programme.
  2. The two remaining third-placed teams will be awarded byes to the quarter-final of the WorldNET Plate, the slots in the draw for these teams have already been drawn out, and will be visible in the programme. These two teams will be drawn into one of the two slots.
  3. The six fifth-placed teams and the two weakest fourth-placed teams will be unseeded for the WorldNET Plate draw, and will be drawn against a seeded team, with the onward path pre-determined as again shown in the programme.
Last 16 matches in the Plate will kick off at 11am on Sunday, with the Cup getting underway at noon. Both finals are scheduled to take place at 3pm.
The pitch layout has changed slightly from previous years. The previous “Pitch 3” where the WorldNET Cup final has taken place every year is no longer available to us (Preston North End have leased it for their academy), so the new “Pitch 3” is where the previous “Pitch 7” was, i.e. where the Plate final has taken place previously.
The new “Pitch 7” is the FIFA-standard 3G pitch, which has replaced the old DESSO pitch, and “Pitch 8” is in the middle of the athletics track. All other pitches remain the same.
The intention is for the WorldNET Cup final to take place on Pitch 3, with the Plate final on Pitch 6.
Pitches 1 and 2 are available for friendlies throughout Saturday. I don’t have time to manage “bookings” for this, so the one simple rule for this will be “first-come, first-served” on the mailing list – if somebody has already announced a game for, e.g. 11:15 on pitch 2, and another team announces the same, the first booking is the one that stands. We’ve not had any issues with double-booked friendly pitches before – they’re a far enough walk away from the main pitches – so hopefully that should remain the case.