BAFA Share Stance on National Leagues Eligibility for Students on Tier 4 Visas

BAFA have shared the following update on the ability for Student-Athletes in the UK on Tier 4 visas to participate in National League activities this summer.

I’ll have a follow-up piece out for this shortly, but for now, the full statement via is as follows:

Update to BAFA National Leagues eligibility for students on Tier 4 visas

Further information for students on Tier 4 visas regarding their eligibility to play National Leagues football.

We can confirm based on BAFA rules only that students on Tier 4 visas are eligible to register and play in the BAFA National Leagues.

However recent advice from the Home Office has indicated that playing any sports – even amateur sports – outside of university would be a breach of the new Tier 4 visa terms. This includes so all community sports like BAFA National Leagues.

The responsibility for compliance with terms of the visa rests solely with the students concerned and their sponsoring institution.

We therefore advise students to get clearance, in collaboration with their institution, from the Home Office before taking part in any BAFA National Leagues activity as the potential consequences for both the student and institution for a breach of the visa conditions are severe.

BAFA Operations Director Steve Rains said:

“We’ve been working with BUCS and other sports NGBs to try to get an answer to this.  Unfortunately, we don’t currently have one.

We therefore recommend that students on Tier 4 visas get clearance from their institution to play as it’s not only the visa holder who is subject to sanctions for a breach of the terms.”




Nick 'Willy Tee' Wilson-Town hails from the South West where he's spent the last decade bouncing around various teams at the university and senior level. He came to fame on the now departed unofficial forum thanks to his regularly irreverent Uniball predictions and general 'BUAFL wafflage'. Follow him on twitter @WillyTee1