Guinness Street Football Challenge

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guinness street football challenge


The Guinness street football challenge, aka “GSFC” or “The Challenge” is a football tournament which is held annually between the different countries of the Caribbean. Guinness is the official title sponsor of the tournament and it is powered by Flow. Last year, the St. Lucia Veterans took the title from the champions of the 2015 cup, Trinidad and Tobago. The Regional Finals will be held in St. Lucia this year.
The tournament consists of 3 parts. The first part is the parish playoffs. Different parishes in the country have a separate tournament for the teams within the parish. The winner of the each parish advances to the national knockout stage. The winner of this stage goes on to represent their country against the other teams from different countries of the Caribbean for a showdown which decides the Guinness street football challenge Champion.

Registration and Selection:

The cup is open to all the residents of the country. The players must present a team of 4-8 players to apply for the tournament. All the players of the team must be 18 or above. The employees or immediate family of the sponsors cannot participate in the cup. Up to 5 days before each parish playoff match day, 16 teams are selected to play. Each team is informed through an email if they are selected or not. Registration for University teams is different. The University teams play against other universities i.e. the west university plays the east university, and the winner joins the group of other parish playoff champions, who then compete for the national title.

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Format and Matches:

The format for each part of the competition is different. In the Parish Playoffs, 16 teams are selected and split into 4 groups of 4. The winners are selected through points based system in the groups. The winner and the second position winner of the group advance to the quarterfinals. The quarter finals, semi finals, and finals are selected through a knockout based system.
In the National Knockout Finals, the 13 Parish finalists who previously won the parish playoff are already selected, while 3 wild card teams also enter the tournament which makes the total number of teams in the finals, 16. These teams compete in a knockout based match in which the National team is selected. This team represents their country from other countries of the Caribbean. The Final this year will be held in St. Lucia.

Rules and Regulations:

The group games are of 10 minutes each with no half times and time-outs. The quarterfinals, semifinals, and third-place matches are of 15 minutes each with two halves, 2 minutes half-time and each team being allowed 2×30 second time-outs per game. The duration of the Final is 20 minutes with 2 minutes half-time and 2×30 second time-outs. There is no goalkeeper. The size of the pitch is close to the size of a basketball court. Goals are 4ft wide and 3ft high. The ball used is a size 4 and all players must wear shoes. Barefooted players are not allowed.

The team must be of 10 players with one manager or coach (optional). There will be only 4 players on the pitch, however, there will be unlimited subs. These subs will only be allowed during a stoppage in the game. Kickoff is decided by the toss of a coin. After a goal, the match restarts from the half line. All throw-ins will be under-arm roll. Corners will be standard kick-ins and there will be no penalizing for overhead height during the tournament. If a team does not show up or does not meet the requirement, the tournament organizers can replace the team with a draw of their choice. The sin bin will be awarded to any player who commits minor offenses, such as unsupporting behavior and time wasting. During this, the player is sent off for 3 minutes and the team cannot replace the player with another substitute.

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Prize and Awards:

The first place winner of the parish playoff will receive $100,000 and will compete with teams of other parishes in the national knockout finals. Here, the golden boot winner will be awarded $5,000. The first place team of the National finals will receive $250,000 plus other awards and will represent their country in the Caribbean championship. The second place winner and the third place winner will get $100,000 and $50,000 respectively. If the Final Championship is not being held in their country, the country provides them free of cost stay, travel and carries all the expenses of the National Finalists while they are in the foreign country. The Prize money for the winner of the tournament is small, compared to the prize that is awarded in other stages of the competition. However, other prizes for the teams are much bigger.

In 2015, Digicel, a sponsor of the tournament presented the top scorer of each parish with $20,000 and the winner of the national finals with $50,000. The winner of this year’s tournament will be awarded many prizes, including an all-expenses paid trip to Brazil, the home of football and will see a major game in Rio de Janeiro.

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