We are pleased to announce that the Affiliation Portal for the 2021/2022 season will open on Whole Game System on Wednesday 5th May 2021:
All the key information is included in our guide as follows:
Northamptonshire FA Membership Guide 2021/22 (calameo.com)
A reminder that Public Liability Insurance and Personal Accident Insurance can be purchased through the affiliation portal at stage 6. Personal Accident & Public Liability Insurance are mandatory for all clubs. Personal Accident is required per team and Public Liability per club.
Main ground information:
Please ensure you provide accurate details of where every team play their matches. Over 300 teams didn’t provide this information last season. Its vitally important to us that we have accurate usage data for all football sites in Northamptonshire and helps us to build a case for increased investment into improving facilities.
Logging in to Whole Game System:
If you don’t know your password, please use - https://www.thefa.com/account/RequestPasswordReset
A reminder for clubs with youth teams (U18s) that all managers or coaches working with teams must have an in-date FA DBS (CRC).
Youth Clubs Secretaries, Chairperson, Welfare Officers and Treasurer must have the Online ‘Safeguarding For Committee Members’ course completed in order to affiliate.
The deadline for affiliations is – 30th June 2021.
As you will see, there have been increases to the costs of certain areas of affiliation and in order to provide clarity on some of the questions that have been raised already, we have compiled the following FAQs.
We are also holding a meeting for Council Members on Thursday 6th May at 7pm. Should you have any further questions, please do channel these through your Council representative.
1) Why is the NFA having to increase affiliation?
Given the wider impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on society, the last thing the NFA wanted to do was increase affiliation fees. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, our funding has been cut significantly by the FA.
The only reason affiliations are increasing is due to the pandemic and a cut in FA funding.
The county, and youth football in particular, has benefitted significantly over the last 10-15 years from the FA football subsidy. Our previous affiliation fees were only sustainable with the subsidy from the FA.
The NFA, as with many organisations, has been impacted heavily by the Covid pandemic for three reasons:
a) The cut in funding from the FA (they have to save £300m over 4 years). This has cascaded down in the form of grant cuts to County FAs. For the NFA this equates to a cut of £110,000 in funding from the FA.
b) The FA will also run all future Coach Education training courses, which will result in an additional loss of £45,000 per season.
c) The NFA charged no affiliation fees for last season.
2) What have you done to reduce your costs?
We have reduced staff costs within the organisation by approximately £116,000 per year.
a) The organisation has reduced from a staff of 15 down to 10
b) The NFA has taken advantage of the government furlough scheme, which supported the business and allowed the NFA to survive.
c) All other costs have been reviewed within the organisation, such as home working, and we have renegotiated all utility and business operations costs to minimise our overall costs.
3) Does this increase only affect youth football?
No. Although the increases within youth football are marginally greater, both adult and youth football are impacted. The rationale for new price structure is:
a) The adult team affiliation team price for next year will be £30 (11v11) in addition to a higher club affiliation fee, which has been paid for many years by adult teams.
b) On average the increase per player will be £5 per youth and £2 per adult. This reflects the higher level of subsidy support that the NFA has given to youth football for the last 10-15 years. It also reflects the significantly higher workload related to youth football - particularly safeguarding children - and is consistent with the fees the youth leagues charge to fund their services.
c) The ratio of staff time spent on youth v adult football is approximately 70% / 30%.
d) The NFA has a duty to provide a safe environment for football in the county. Compliance with all 74 of the FA’s Safeguarding Operating Standards is a condition to receive any grant funding from the FA.
4) I understand that Level 1 and 2 coaching course fees are on the increase, again grassroots clubs suffer. We have to pay those fees again. With 21 junior teams this is an awful amount of money to continuously find.
As a result of the Covid pandemic, the FA now run and manage all Coaching Education. This is not dealt with by the County FA. Any increases in fees will be a decision the FA have taken, not lightly, given the current financial situation due to the pandemic but to cover the costs of running the courses.
5) Can you explain why this new structure is going against what the other County FAs are currently doing?
Every County FA is responsible for its own affiliation fees. This is based on the individual financial situation of each County FA. It is impossible to compare County FAs and we have no ability to make a like-for-like comparison. County FAs operate within their own economic and demographic situations.
The cuts in FA funding have hit every County FA and lots of staff have lost their jobs, including at the NFA. However, the level of impact of these funding cuts depends on the individual CFA's financial situation.
Every County FA is run as an independent organisation, working with a different number of players, clubs and leagues. Some have facilities from which they can generate income, for example.
The NFA has looked at all options to avoid increasing affiliation fees.
6) Will we get a written guarantee that any additional income streams will be used to reduce the affiliation charges in the future, especially if they are not around the same value as others?
Given the uncertainty of the current situation due to Covid-19, and what may happen next season, no guarantees can be given for any aspect of the NFA business. Given the increases have been solely driven by the pandemic, if the situation dramatically improves and the funding situation from the FA returns to a more normal level, the NFA will align its affiliation costs to the available funding. Unfortunately, we won’t be in a position to understand this until this time next season.
7) Has (or will) any predicted analysis been undertaken as to what impact this increase will have on future income, in particular to how many teams/clubs can be expected to be lost over the next few years due to this increase?
We would hope that any club or team would not fold as a result of this increase. There are many reasons why teams may or may not continue next season. Football has been so inactive over the last 12 months that people involved previously may or may not want to continue. For many people their individual circumstances have gone through dramatic changes since the pandemic started. We do not know at this point what impact this may have on people’s involvement in football.
Sport England have created a fund for CFAs to use to reduce the impact of any affiliation increase. This is resulted in a grant to the NFA of £15,000, which has been applied directly to reduce the affiliation price for teams for next season (21/22).
In addition to that, the NFA are speaking with the Trustees of the SWAIN charity (the County Football Benevolent Fund) about the possibility of expanding their articles to allow the SWAIN to offer some support to teams that have financial difficulties and are struggling to meet the affiliation costs for next season. We will update people on how this progresses.
8) With regards to the £100k safeguarding cost; can you breakdown how this time is spent in terms of what they are actually doing (not the details of each safeguarding case). And not as in % of time spent of their job but as in who and what are they actually doing? Does this £100k charge also include the time spent going through the new regulations required?
The £100k safeguarding cost to the business is an estimated total amount it costs us in staff time/resource to deliver safeguarding. The following is not an exhaustive list of the work we do:
a) ensuring we are compliant with the 74 Safeguarding Operating Standards covering the following areas:
- Governance and Leadership
- Operational Delivery
- Listening to the voice of and supporting U18s
- Football Disciplinary
- Case Management
- Compliance and Monitoring
b) establishing and monitoring the county-wide process of safeguarding in order to keep our children safe
c) dealing with serious safeguarding cases
d) identifying and addressing cases of poor practice
e) ensuring that all volunteers working with clubs who have U18s or Adults at Risk have the necessary legal/mandatory qualifications and safety checks
f) undertaking validation visits, ensuring action plans are completed
g) supporting club and league welfare officers
h) safeguarding all young referees
i) safeguarding all U18s attending disciplinary hearings
j) undertaking risk assessments
k) taking part in safeguarding groups across the county to address safeguarding issues outside of football
l) completing the significant amount of safeguarding paperwork required to ensure we document everything linked to safeguarding our 18,000 young players.
m) operation of the county safeguarding hotline process to provide help and support to clubs, players and provide a facility to report any incidents that do occur.
9) Surely some of the £100k is a one-off cost & going forward, one would hope that best practise will be in place to maintain & exceed the current levels of requirement and so therefore reduce the additional time required previously to get it to the current level & subsequently reduce the cost associated to it.
The estimated £100k is an ongoing cost. The additional work needed to address the governance issues relating to compliance with the safeguarding standard at our recent assessment has been absorbed by the business.
We also no longer receive any safeguarding subsidy from the FA (previously approx. £10,500 per annum).
9b) What are you spending this increased affiliation income on?
The significant drop in subsidy from the FA that we’ve mentioned above means that we have a gap in our budget for the next financial year. The increased affiliation costs will replace the FA subsidy that football in the county has been fortunate to benefit from for many years and allow the NFA to meet its operational plan for football in the county.