FIFA moves closer to global club licensing deadline

According to FIFA, Club Licensing will help “to improve club football by setting minimum standards in key areas such as stadium safety, fan experience and youth football development”. The Zurich meeting is the first time that all six confederations have met and worked on the plan together.

The plan will have the effect of developing and enhancing club administration, accountability, improved training and the development of football at the club level in all member associations.

“Stronger clubs mean a stronger foundation for global football. Club licensing is a priority for FIFA’s investment in the game and a crucial part of raising professional standards,” said FIFA Director of Member Associations and Development Thierry Regenass. “We are now working hand-in-hand with the six confederations and our member associations worldwide to implement this blueprint for the future of football.”

The FIFA Club Licensing system requires clubs to commit to minimum standards and principles in five key areas:

• Sporting criteria e.g. clubs must have a youth development programme; clubs must promote fair play

• Infrastructure criteria e.g. clubs must have safe, comfortable stadiums for fans, families and media; clubs must have training facilities

• Personnel and administrative criteria e.g. clubs must have qualified coaches and medical staff and professional, well-educated management

• Legal criteria e.g. clubs must adhere to international statutes; club ownership must be transparent and fair

• Financial criteria e.g. independent auditing of club finances

FIFA mandated that all member associations adopt the club licensing system, in their respective countries by the deadline set by their Confederation.

“In our case, St. Kitts and Nevis, CONCACAF has set the start of the 2015-2016 football season as our target date for full implementation of the club licensing system. Only the clubs that fulfill the requirements of the criteria set out in the regulations will be eligible to participate in the 2015-16 Premier and Division One leagues,” said Stanley Jacobs, general secretary of the St. Kitts-Nevis Football Association.

The SKNFA has been preparing member clubs for this eventuality for some time, the SKNFA official informed.

“This was done gradually by setting certain criteria for participation under our rules and regulations. These include: All clubs to have a qualified head coach, qualified assistant coach, youth team, grassroots and women’s team, club’s constitution, financial statements, annual meetings, etc.,” Jacobs stated.

FIFA is working with CONCACAF and CAF to develop and implement the club licensing systems. The OFC and CONMEBOL are scheduled to adopt regional standards before the end of 2016.

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