National Five-a-Side Football Competition

The Lawyer is pleased to announce the 1995 Legal National Five-a-Side football tournament in conjunction with Arsenal Football Club.

This is the third year of this highly popular event and last season it attracted entries from over 150 teams keen to play in a good cause. The competition is open to all members of the legal profession and those associated with it. So law firms, barristers' chambers, in-house legal departments, courthouse staff and specialists serving the legal profession are invited to field teams.

And it is not the biggest organisations which field the winning teams necessarily. Last year's National Five-a-Side champions were Edge & Ellison in Birmingham, while the year before the winners were the Wimbledon office of Howell-Jones & Partners.

The event will kick off in the well-equipped sports centre run by Arsenal FC at its famous Highbury ground in North London. Dates for the play-offs are Saturday 18 March and Saturday 25 March; the finals are on Sunday 26 March.

Each team will play in a group along World Cup lines and group winners will play each other throughout the day. By grouping each team's matches, waiting time between sessions of play is cut to a minimum. Two final groups will play off for the ultimate prize on the last day of the competition.

No one should be shy about putting a team together (minimum five persons) and last year we had mixed teams, with men and women, barristers and solicitors, lawyers and non-lawyers playing together.

But the real winners will be the charities that the competition supports. Last year's tournament raised over u16,000 for the designated charities. This year's charities will include The Solicitors Benevolent Association, the Barristers' Benevolent Association and Divert, the charity aimed at helping young people avoid a life of crime.

There is an entry fee of u45 per team. This goes to Arsenal's Community Sports Unit to cover the running costs.

In addition, each team will have to produce sponsorship to the tune of at least u100. It will be up to each team to raise this. This must be paid within two weeks of the date on which your team plays; it does not have to be paid at the time of entry. A sponsorship form will be sent with the competition details and a company gift aid form will also be enclosed in case the firm, chambers or employer want to donate in that way.

Last year, Washington-based firm George Mills raised over u1,000 through sponsorship.

Arsenal FC will arrange for teams raising u600 or more by way of sponsorship to receive a football autographed by the Premier League or Football League team of their choice.

Of the total amount raised through sponsorship, 30 per cent will go to Arsenal's Charitable Trust and the remaining 70 per cent will be divided equally among the other designated charities.

The event is intended to be good, clean, competitive fun and will give teams an opportunity to test their skills against others from all areas in the country and all parts of the profession.

To enter fill in the form with your details and return it to The Lawyer, enclosing your payment of u45 (cheques should be made payable to Arsenal Football Club). Details of the times and the dates when you will be playing will then be sent to you.