WAFC Awarded National Club License

Wick Academy FC Awarded an SFA Entry Level
National Club License certificate

Wick Academy Football Club is delighted to announce the successful award of the Entry Level National Club License by the Scottish Football Association (SFA). The SFA Club Licensing Committee considered Wick Academy FC's application against the required criteria on the 23rd February 2012 and judged the application to be fully compliant for the Entry Level award.

Wick Academy FC is one of the first Scottish Highland Football League (SHFL) clubs (out of 18) to be awarded a National Club License.

National Club Licensing sets out quality standards and procedures by which clubs will be assessed as a basis for continuous improvement of many aspects of football. It is a modern form of regulation ensuring high standards of Club management and development are maintained with the aim of raising the standards of football at all levels throughout the country.

Licensing requires that those clubs in membership of the Scottish Premier League (SPL), Scottish Football League (SFL) and Scottish Highland Football League (SHFL) to meet specific standards and from 2015/16, only Clubs holding a recognised NCL Certificate will be eligible for entry to the Scottish FA Cup competition and be eligible to apply for development grant funding through the SFA, among other benefits.

The Club Licensing criteria are graded into the headings of Gold, Silver, Bronze and Entry, each being more stringent than the preceding level. These standards are presented in the form of criteria under the following five main headings:

  • Ground Criteria
  • First Team Football
  • Youth Team Football
  • Legal, Administration and Finance
  • Codes of Practice Criteria

In total across these 5 headings there are 57 different sub-criteria that have to be met in in order for a Club License to be awarded.

Typical criteria required within each of the 5 main headings include items such as:

  • Ground safety
  • Documentation covering policies on areas such as Spectator Safety, Contingency Plans, etc.
  • Child and Coach Protection
  • Playing surface criteria including minimum dimensions of the pitch etc.
  • Floodlighting
  • Dressing rooms
  • Coaching Qualifications including coaching badges and first aid
  • Club Statutes and Administration
  • Audited Accounts

John Briskham coordinated the Licensing application programme for the Wick Academy FC submission and explained;

"Wick Academy started the Licensing process almost 3 years ago. Initially there were very few criteria that we could meet, but 3 years of really hard work by everyone at the Club has paid off. Grant funding was available from the SFA for the bigger projects of work that had to be carried out, such as our floodlight upgrade but ultimately Wick Academy FC has had to fund a fair proportion of the costs, so it's been a tricky balance over the last 3 years in prioritising our finances.

"The award of this National Club Licensing is important" explained Mr Briskham. "From 2016 in order to remain a Member of the Scottish FA Clubs have to be licensed to at least Entry level standards, and from season 2015/16 Clubs that have not been successful in attaining a NCL award won't be eligible to participate in the Scottish Cup.'"

The effort has also been applauded by ‘Academy' Chairman Colin Stewart who commented;

"100's of man hours of work has gone towards the achievement of this award. I can't give enough praise to the efforts of the Committee, Management team, and many other people out-with the Club who have helped us to achieve this award. Everyone has contributed in one way or another and it's been a real team effort right across the whole spectrum, typical of every activity that we undertake at the Club. The requirement to address all areas of the Club, from the infrastructure at the Harmsworth Park, the way in which we manage and coach our Youth and Senior Teams, the training badges our Youth and Senior Team coaches have worked hard in obtaining, the documentation and procedures which the Club now has in place, as well as the hard work done by our ground-staff in maintaining the park, has meant we have had to focus on continual improvement and development throughout, which will hopefully provide the success on the park that this Club and its supporters deserve.

"This is a major landmark achievement for our Club, and being one of the very first Scottish Highland Football League Clubs to have received a National Club License award is a real feather in our cap, and one that we are all rightly very proud of."