Cambridge University Association Football League

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

Founded19th Century
John Little
Sam Ernest
Henry Lambert


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 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

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.[1][2]

SeasonDivision 1 ChampionsCuppers ChampionsPlate WinnersShield WinnersVase 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   
1977–1978 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   
1984–1985RobinsonSt. John's   
1985–1986 Fitzwilliam & St. Catharine's (Shared)   
1986–1987 Selwyn   
1987–1988 Downing   
1990–1991 St. John's   
1991–1992 Fitzwilliam   
1993–1994Anglia UniversityFitzwilliam   
1995–1996FitzwilliamLong RoadGirton  
1996–1997DowningLong RoadClare  
1998–1999FitzwilliamChrist'sHomertonLong Road II 
1999–2000JesusLong RoadAPUFitzwilliam II 
2000–2001St Catharine'sSt. Catharine'sHomertonFitzwilliam II 
2001–2002FitzwilliamLong RoadChurchillHills Road II 
2002–2003St John'sSt. John'sKingsHills Road II 
2003–2004GirtonSt. John'sClareAPU II 
2004–2005FitzwilliamJesusGonville & CaiusAPU II 
2005–2006ChurchillFitzwilliamAnglia RuskinLong Road IIARU III
2006–2007ChurchillSt. Catharine'sCorpus Christi St. Catharines's III
2007–2008TrinityChrist'sSt. Catharine'sGonville & Caius II 
2008–2009DowningSt. Catharine'sPembrokeTrinity Hall IIChurchill III
2010–2011TrinityQueens'Jesus III
2011–2012DowningFitzwilliamTrinity HallHomerton IIJesus III
2012–2013FitzwilliamFitzwilliamSelwynSelwyn IIJesus III
2013–2014Trinity HallJesusRobinsonFitzwilliam IIJesus III
2014–2015DowningSt John'sSelwynJesus IIGirton III
2015–2016Queens' RobinsonChrist'sQueens' IIQueens' III
2016–2017Fitzwilliam FitzwilliamSelwynFitzwilliam IIFitzwilliam III
2017-2018Queens’FitzwilliamEmmanuelGonville & Caius IIGoneville & Caius III
2018-2019FitzwilliamFitzwilliamTrinity HallQueens’ IIFitzwilliam III

The combined results of the Cuppers competition is shown below.

CollegeNumber of Cuppers Titles
St. Catharine’s12
St. John’s9
Long Road4
Trinity Hall1

Board of directors

CUAFL President: Dr John Little

2001–2002Chris Palmer
2002–2003Rod Latham
2003–2004Will Jobling
2004–2005Martyn Race
2005–2006Martyn Race
2006–2007Bob Myhill
2007–2008Jamie Aspinall
2008–2009Rory Scott
2009–2010Luke Jesson
2010–2011Mark Baxter
2011–2012George Deeks
2012–2013Adam Donald
2013-2014Matt Reizenstein, Nikos Yerolemou
2014-2015Nicholas Hilton, Nikos Yerolemou
2015-2016John Harrison, Marcus Nielsen
2016-2017John Harrison, Marcus Nielsen
2017-2018John Harrison, Pablo Lemos Portela
2018-2019John Harrison
2019-2020Sam Ernest


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