National Club Licensing

National Club Licensing - What's it all about?

[John Briskham gives an insight to National Club Licensing]

Wick Academy, along with all other clubs in the Scottish Highland Football League, SFL and SPL, are currently working with the SFA on introducing a series of standards which when met will enable each club to apply for a National Club Licence. 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. 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.

The standards are presented in the form of criteria under five main headings:-

  • Ground Criteria
  • Sporting and Medical criteria
  • Legal and Administration Criteria
  • Finance Criteria
  • Codes of Practice Criteria
The criteria are transparent and are graded into headings of Gold, Silver, Bronze and Entry. SHFL clubs are in the process of working towards applying for an Entry level Club Licence. In total across these 5 headings there are 59 different criteria that needs to be met before a Club License will be awarded by the SFA. Currently Wick Academy meets a total of 50 of the criteria, and we are actively working towards the standards required for the remaining 9 criteria.

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

  • Ground safety
  • Documentation covering policies on items such as Spectator Safety, Contingency Plans, etc
  • Child and Coach Protection
  • Playing surface criteria such as the minimum dimensions of the pitch etc
  • Floodlighting
  • Dressing rooms
  • Coaching Qualifications including coaching badges and first aid
  • Club Statutes and Administration
  • Audited Accounts
To date we have now had two audit visits from the SFA to check our progress against each of the 59 criteria, and an enormous amount of work has been going on behind the seines to get us to the stage that we are at today. The target set by the SFA is for all Clubs to obtain their Club Licence is 2013.
This year the main items that Wick Academy are hoping to address are:
  • Award of a safety certificate, known as a letter of compliance, from the local authority
  • An upgrade to our floodlights - which currently do not meet the necessary standard
  • The creation of a separate medical reatment room
  • Further coaching and first aid certification
  • Endorsement of all of our Club documentation and policies
We hope that by the end of this year we will be in a pretty good position to meet all of the necessary criteria which will enable us to apply for an Entry Level Club licence. There is some grant funding available from the SFA to assist in meeting the criteria required, normally about 60% of expenditure, but the Club has to fund the residual which is likely to amount to a considerable total.
Many of our supporters are already helping by buying our weekly "Scorries Scoop" tickets, and becoming members of our Premier draw. If you don't already participate your help would be much appreciated.