The FA Cap & The EJAFL Business Plan

  • Football Pitch

FA Regional Youth League Yorkshire Pilot Briefing Event

 

Format for this evening

  • 90 minutes:
  • 30 minutes maximum of presentation/slides
  • 60 minutes minimum on answering questions

Objectives of the Session

  • To explain the reasons for the FA wanting to deliver these Regional Youth League pilots
  • To explain what the leagues would look like and who will rum them
  • To explain the criteria for clubs to enter the league
  • To answer any questions or concerns form the attendees
  • Key questions at any time or jot them down on the post-its and stick on the flip chart

Background to this evening

  • There is a clear elite boy’s youth football structure with the professional game (Premier to league 2) with boys from u7 through to u18 playing in inter academy and centre of excellence fixture programmes defined by the EPPP.
  • Below this level, there isn’t a clear framework, national of regional for clubs to offer appropriate levels of competition for their players.
  • Arising from this lack of structure has been the ad hoc development of competitions/fixture programmes to meet the demands of clubs looking for more challenging playing opportunities for their players –  for example the Midland Junior premier League and the Eastern Junior Alliance.
  • There is no consistency in the types of clubs participating in these competitions; they range from clubs with one strong age group team, to community clubs fielding teams across all age groups, to clubs recently relegated to the Football Conference.
  • Much of what these competitions deliver is of a high standard, in terms of the physical environment they require clubs to off, the coaching qualifications necessary to run a team and the behaviour and address of the players and staff.
  • On the other hand there are areas of their operation which are questionable in terms of positive player development-chiefly significant travel times for even the youngest players and overplay as boys represent 2 or even 3 teams.

Why are the FA interested in these Leagues?

  • From a player Development Perspective
  • We think there is potential value in this type of competition structure where ‘Best plays Best’
  • If structured and operated correctly these league are good for player development
  • Also good for player development and team retention in the local leagues from which the strongest teams departed. Helps to reduce 1 or 2 team dominance and creates a more even competition.
  • From a Strategic Perspective
  • These types of leagues are growing and are clearly popular with their players/teams and clubs
  • However there isn’t a consistent format/structure for these leagues – they each have different criteria around coaching, officiating, facilities, maximum travel distances etc.
  • It’s important for the FA to understand whether there is an appetite nationally for these type of leagues and if so to shape countywide structure and consistent criteria for entry

What a national structure would look like

  • Should the pilot leagues be judged a success:
  • 12 to 16 Leagues – minimum 1 in each FA region
  • Based on maximum 90 minutes drive time in regions
  • 4 divisions of 12 teams across age groups u13 to u16
  • 48 teams per League in total
  • Clubs would have to have teams in every age group
  • 1 or 2 events/festivals with pro games involvement each season

The Pilot Leagues

  • Fixtures programme will be on a Sunday
  • Programme of 22 games and 1 cup competition
  • 70 minute games
  • Maximum of 22 registered players per age group
  • 3 League appointed officials per game
  • Hospitality pre and post match
  • Potential for 4 quarters to aid coaching
  • Potential for League to be based on calendar year birthdays so u13 as at 1/1/15 that is 2003 born
  • 2 pilots. Catchments based on 90 minutes drive time
  • 1 here in Yorkshire (inc. Southern half of North Yorkshire)
  • 1 in SW Central (Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Somerset)
  • To be delivered in 2015-16 season
  • Beginning with 1 division of 12 under 13 teams
  • Yorkshire pilot will be operated from the office of Sheffield and Hallamshire FA with Sarah Hicking as Secretary
  • The League will be chaired by David Morrell of the Northern Counties East League (Step 5-6)

Facility Criteria

  • Separate changing rooms for both teams and officials on same site as the pitch
  • Toilets for none players/coaches/officials
  • Respect barrier to one side of the pitch for all spectators
  • Technical area on opposite side of the pitch
  • Pitch (82mmx52mm) and Goal Size (21’x7’) appropriate for u13
  • Playing Surface of good quality – if artificial – must have FIFA 1* certification
  • Hospitality must be provided pre and post-match for players/coaches/officials

Club Entry Criteria

  • The Youth teams must have a clear Connection/Partnership with a NLS club (1-6)
  • All teams will have 2 coaches with a minimum level 2 and Module 2 Youth Award. The Coaches must to members of the FA Licensed Coaches Club
  • The Club must demonstrated commitment to the Continuing Professional Development of their coaches
  • Minimum Basic First Aider (9 hour course) with every team
  • The Club must have attained Charter Standard and be committed to Respect
  • The Club must embrace Future Game/England DNA through – Playing and Coaching Philosophies
  • Production of a Business Plan – demonstrating finances to operate an u13 –

Club Recruitment

  • After this evening
  • Email to all youth clubs and National league System Clubs in Yorkshire explaining the concept and the criteria
  • An Invitation to the club event at Shaw Land on 11/3/15
  • Electronic Application Forms available from 11/3/15
  • Application deadline 10/4/15
  • Club notified by 1/5/15 whether successful or not
  • Request for you to circulation the email invitation to you club

EJAFL Business Plan 2017/2018

Objectives

  • To provide a framework for Step 5 and above Clubs to play more challenging football
  • To make sure that each Club has a clear player pathway through to senior football
  • Coaching standards meet the requirements of The FA
  • Dress Code for both Players and Officials
  • Hospitality Pre and post match
  • Ground facilities
  • Separate changing rooms for both team and Match official
  • A barrier around all four sides of the pitch U13s to U17s
  • U18s must play on the main pitch, if senior team is ground sharing then an appropriate venue
  • Travelling time
  • Maximum number of players registered for each team
  • The League will apply to become a Charter Standard League

Structure

  • Season 2016/17
  • We had 186 teams entered into the League for that season.
  • 3 Sections at U13 a (10) (7) (8)
  • 4 Sections at U14 a (10) (10) (10) (9)
  • 4 Sections at U15 a (9) (9) (9) (8)
  • 4 sections at U16 all with 10 in each section
  • 1 Section at U17 (14)
  • 4 Sections at U18 a (9) (9) (8) (8)
  • Season 2017/18
  • We had 3 member Clubs withdraw, numerous new membership applications. By increasing our membership up to 220 would allow for a more even fixture structure, allowing for less travelling bringing competing teams closer together. Our proposal was for the following sections to be put in place.
  • 4 Sections at U13 a (10) (10) (9) (9)
  • 4 Sections at U14 all at ten (10) in each section
  • 4 Sections at U15 a (12) (12) (11) (11)
  • 4 Sections at U16 a (11) (12) (12) (11)
  • 2 Sections U17 fifteen (15) to be split into 2 sections at the AGM
  • 3 Sections U18 a (11) (12) (12)

Players

  • Our players come from other Leagues either as a team but normally by open trials.
  • Some of our member Clubs have developed teams from a young age group with the intention of playing them in the Eastern Junior Alliance.
  • Without a formal structure to youth football we have virtually every League in the country having the same teams at the top of their divisions every year. This is not good for the game both for the teams that are winning every week and those that lose.
  • This season we have had numerous teams withdraw from the County Cups when they realized their opponents were from the EJA.
  • Talented players have always moved from team to team if it gives them the opportunity to enhance their skills.
  • Teams that have not lost since they were formed are now looking for the next challenge. They see the Eastern Junior Alliance as that challenge.
  • Every player has dreams of playing for a professional Club, some get the chance to go to a centre of excellence, most when released do approach one of our clubs to join. Our league is recommended to most players leaving an academy.
  • Each team can have a maximum of 22 players registered. The minimum number required is sixteen, up to U16. Teams that play at U17 & U18 are required to have a minimum of 16 players registered but no maximum, this is to allow for work and further education commitments.

Player Pathway

  • The League and its members consider the Eastern Junior Alliance as a development League.
  • Our aims are to develop our players so that they get the chance to represent their Clubs at U21 reserve and first team when they become of age. Over the past 29 years we have had an enormous amount of boys play first team football and a number of players make the professional ranks.
  • Over three hundred young men each year go on to play U21s before deciding what pathway to take into open age football.
  • Players in the EJA will have at least one training session a week, possibly two with qualified coaches. In most cases two coaches per session.
  • Our aim is not just to enhance our players skills and stamina but also our coaches qualifications.
  • We have about 200 boys that represent the league in Representative football. Inter County Representative football plays a big part in our player development.
  • We are in the process of sending some of our Coaches to watch training sessions at one of our Premiership Clubs
  • A big part of what the boys learn is not only how to enhance their football skills but also their social skills
  • As a League we know how important it is to work with other Leagues given the chance

Funding

  • For the past 29 years the League has always had a short fall in its funding, Our accounts show that without the imposition of fines the League would still not break even. Until we elected a disciplinary Secretary the loss of revenue at the end of each season was covered by members of the Management Committee.
  • To keep membership fees as low as possible it was imperative that the League grows to cover the costs it incurs to run it.
  • All of the members of the League’s Management Committee are volunteers, without their commitment the cost would rise.
  • The cost of operating the League has been reduced over the past five years, this has been accomplished by buying directly from manufacturers. The increase in teams will have a direct impact on our funding increasing the money we have to run it. Allowing the money we get from discipline to be used to promote the following;
  • Allowing us to fund referee polo shirts to bring them in line with the dress code.
  • Working with The FA on enhanced coaching qualifications
  • Playing extra representative games.

Will allow the League and its members to organize free coaching  for any youngster to come to, this will be for the benefit of other leagues too.

Membership Criteria

  • Clubs applying for membership must be a minimum of a Step five in the national pyramid system.
  • Must have a minimum of two teams to make an application
  • Each team must have a qualified Manager or Coach with a minimum of a Level Two coaching badge.
  • Teams must have one member of its Management qualified in the minimum requirement of first aid
  • Have a code of conduct for both Players and Parents
  • A player development plan.
  • Clubs applying must be a Charter Standard Club or in the process of acquiring Charter Standard
  • Most Clubs make the main venue available for our teams to play on, should that not be available teams must adhere to the following criteria, The pitch has to have a boundary rope around all four sides a technical area for managers and substitutes.
  • Changing facilities for both teams and match official, showers and toilets
  • Hospitality, A drink before the game, another at half time, food after the game in the club house
  • Drinks must be made available for spectators.
  • Toilets for spectators
  • Player dress code, either all tracksuits or shirt and tie not a mixture
  • All teams play with League match balls

Clubs and Teams

  • Increasing the number of Clubs would allow for a more even growth pattern. Working with our member Clubs over the past 29 years has allowed each member Club to provide a more structured football programme offering different levels of football for players to enjoy. From wanting competitive football to just wanting to play football with their friends.
  • 220 teams would be the maximum number we would be able to facilitate with our current management committee, any further increase would mean enlarging our management committee of Twelve.
  • 2017 has seen by far the biggest increase of membership applications. Information from our member Clubs and those that we were not able to accommodate. They have informed us that next season there would be an even bigger increase of applications.
  • Should The FA wish to work with the Eastern Junior Alliance to facilitate the extra increase we do have four people wanting to join the Management committee. This would mean splitting the League into two.

Coaching

  • Each team has to have at least a manager or a coach with the following Qualifications a Level 1 / 2 plus youth modules.
  • We have the following coaching badges throughout the League
  • UEFA (A) 3
  • UEFA (B) 17
  • Level (1) 151
  • Level (2) 89
  • Level (3) 10
  • FA Goal Keeping 2 (3)
  • Coaching sessions are arranged at least once a week, some twice. The boys that play representative football get extra coaching.
  • Our intensions are to work with our member Clubs to start free coaching sessions for all age groups after the summer holidays. This has always been on our agenda, to encourage new players into the game.
  • Coaches and Managers work hard to deliver a structured training session, this is very apparent when playing teams outside of the EJA. Normally teams will turn up in full kit to play the fixture, without a pre match warm up.
  • Managers are very aware that the league and member Clubs takes great care insuring that player development is paramount. Over the course of a season player development is very noticeable.
  • As a development League we would be looking for guidance and a commitment from either The FA or County Associations to help advance our members coaching Qualifications.

Dress Code

  • It is a mandatory requirement for our players and Team officials to either wear Club Tracksuit or shirt and tie, a mixture of both is not acceptable.
  • Provided our finances will allow we will purchase polo shirts with league logo for referees this season.
  • Match officials have been offered a discount on the new Nike referees kit to insure we all look smart when refereeing.

Hospitality

  • Hospitality is a mandatory requirement of this League, Pre and post match for players/coaches/officials
  • A place to make hot drinks for spectators

Match Day

  • Each team will arrive one hour before the stated kick off time
  • The home team will meet their opponents and show them to their dressing room
  • A pre match warm up will be carried out prior to match
  • Each team must give the Match official fifteen minutes before kick off their fully completed match sheet, the home team must also give a stamped addressed envelope addressed to the result secretary (provided by the League) plus the match fee and two League Footballs
  • Each team will provide a competent person to assist the match official by running the line.
  • The respect handshake will be carried prior to the commencement of the game
  • Half time will be fifteen minutes
  • Each team after the game has finished warm down before going to the changing room
  • An increase of our membership to 220 teams would allow the distance and travelling time to be reduced
  • The extra teams would allow the teams in our sections to be grouped closer together possibly within their own County.

Ground Facilities

  • Separate changing rooms for both teams and officials at the venue
  • Hot showers are to be provided
  • Toilets for spectators at the same venue
  • A barrier on all four sides nine feet away from the boundary lines
  • U18s to play at main venue
  • Technical area and Dugouts are to be provided if the venue will allow
  • Our member Clubs have the following facilities
  • Their own facility with main pitch Grass
  • Their own facility with main pitch 3G
  • Their own facility with main pitch grass / 3G pitch / outside pitches Grass
  • Private hire facilities
  • Council Pitches

Overview

  • In certain Counties the Eastern Junior Alliance has problems with other Leagues. We have tried on numerous occasions to make contact and arrange meetings to resolve our differences.
  • In some cases we are being accused of decimating some of their teams. In some small way this may be true although they themselves are doing exactly the same to other Leagues. Having been to numerous County Meetings it is obvious that youth Leagues want to keep their own teams and not let them join another League.
  • Leagues are being allowed to insert Rules into the standard code of rules excluding boys from registering if they have or are going to join an EJA team.
  • A proposal was put forward by some of the Leagues in Essex to implement a Premier division of all of the top teams within their leagues. Unfortunately they could not agree what League it would play under. Other Leagues have tried to implement our dress code and hospitality without any success.
  • We do have some support from other leagues. They realize that unless Leagues like the Eastern Junior Alliance and Junior Prem League exist development of our young players will come to an abrupt halt. These Leagues realize that they are unable to give these teams the Challenges they need to keep them playing football.
  • Every Youth League in England has the same teams every year in the top quarter of their divisions. By encouraging our young players to compete at the right level would give a greater sense of achievement instead of going out every week and winning by a large margin.
  • The Eastern Junior Alliance gives teams the opportunity to belong to a Senior Club that in most cases have been in existence for over fifty years. Too many youth clubs have grown in size to over fifty teams and now no longer exist.
  • Football has to be fun, competition in 11 v 11 football needs to be organized for the youth to enjoy. Making the game more even will stop the 25-0 games that we have been seeing on our websites.

Summary

  • It has taken the Eastern Junior Alliance thirty years to achieve 175 teams even with the capping that has been imposed. Season 2017/2018 would have for the first time taken our membership to over 200.
  • We have already been contacted for next seasons intake. At this present time without the cooperation and guidance of The FA another Club may not be able to play football at this Level
  • There is a growing appetite for this level of football not only for the retention of players but the challenge that it offers them.
  • Should we be granted an increase in membership, to accommodate the growing interest in the EJA, Once our membership has reached 220 we would have to split the League into two.
  • The administration would be the same plus another fixture Secretary, registration secretary, disciplinary secretary and Cups officer. All of these positions would automatically be filled by members wishing to join the management Committee.
  • Should further growth continue we would be happy to help set up the new League. It would be up to The FA to decide who would be appointed to run it
  • The Eastern Junior Alliance is run by volunteers. We know that other Leagues are finding it hard to attract volunteers. We do know that some Counties are prepared to pay for officers to help should the League be struggling. We have tried paying someone to help us but it does not work. All it does is create friction. There are also Leagues where all officers get paid. All that does is increase the fees the Clubs have to pay.
  • U18’s are the hardest to retain, work and further education exclude them from playing. If in time it were possible to set up leagues all over the Country, Retaining U18 players would be more attainable with a register of those players going on to further education. Also a register of Clubs could be made accessible to all players of that age group allowing them to play at the correct level and increasing the retention.
  • We would be looking for The FA to exclude our teams from entering the County Cups. And run our own competition with THE FA
  • Should it be necessary to split the league, we would hope The FA would allow us to use St Georges to organize a competition for all Age group League winners.

Response to the League’s Business Plan

Neil Prescott

Thank you for the response on the Leagues Business plan that was asked for by The FA. After some discussion the Management Committee have decided that an appeal will be useless. Notification has been sent to all Clubs and teams informing them that at the end of this season we will have to lose a number of teams. We are in the process of letting the five new Clubs that have made an approach to join the League next season that this will now not be possible.

It would be another waste of the Management Committees time to appeal The decision of the Sanctioning Committee  when they did not realize that this was The FAs own Business plan for The Nation Youth League dated 25/02/2015. On this occasion we only wasted two days of our time enhancing the criteria that you set out.

Your letter refusing to sanction our development, plus the Leagues Business Plan and your own documents setting out how you see the future development in youth football have been given to our member Clubs and also those Clubs applying to enter the League.

Yours Sincerely
Richard Coleman
League Secretary

For and on behalf  of the Management Committee and Member Clubs

County FA’s We Are Affiliated To