Inside Sport

Football Australia unveils first ever Domestic Club Licensing Regulations

By someguyjc - 13 May 2022 10:08 AM

Licence Regulations PDF (regulations start on p27):

Football Australia unveils first ever Domestic Club Licensing Regulations For Australian Professional Leagues

Football Australia’s commitment towards strengthening the professional landscape of Australian football has taken another step forward with the implementation of the Football Australia Club Licensing system for A-League Men and A-League Women clubs.

Present in all six Confederations around the world, Club Licensing is a regulatory and development tool that sets and increases standards for football clubs, and in turn, improves and professionalises the game at multiple levels of the football pyramid.

The Football Australia Club Licensing Regulations include principle-based criteria in five (5) areas – sporting, infrastructure, personnel and administrative, legal, and financial competitions at the domestic and/or regional level. To date, Football Australia has only licensed clubs to participate in Asian Football in Confederation (AFC) Club Competitions.

Football Australia Chief Executive Officer, James Johnson, who oversaw the global Club Licensing program while at FIFA, said this initiative is about raising the standards of professionalism at football clubs and safeguarding competitions.

“Football Australia wants to cultivate and support a thriving football ecosystem, and one of the most effective ways to raise overall standards and performance pathways is through Club Licensing,” said Johnson.

“The A-League Men and A-League Women competitions are the pinnacles of domestic football in Australia, and the implementation of Club Licensing will drive new standards in professionalism for all clubs both on and off the pitch.

“Additionally, Club Licensing will now become a key strategic initiative for football clubs as they consider their day-to-day operations and plans for growth. We have seen this system rolled out across the world with great success, and we anticipate that it will operate as an effective development tool for Australian clubs.

“This is the first phase in an exciting development for the game and we will soon begin to roll out our Club Licensing system to other tiers of club football,” concluded Johnson.

The implementation of Football Australia Club Licensing in 2022 is a first for Australian domestic football, where A-League Men clubs will complete full implementation of the Regulations, and A-League Women clubs will complete a pilot implementation for both the A-League Women and the AFC Women’s Champions League criteria.

The pilot implementation provides an opportunity for A-League Women clubs to go through the Club Licensing process and for Football Australia to review submissions, making any adjustments to the A-League Women criteria prior to full implementation, as well as prepare clubs for the full implementation of the AFC Women’s Champions League criteria ahead of the inaugural edition of the regional club competition muted for 2024.

Football Australia Club Licensing Manager Natalie Lutz explained that Football Australia is in a unique position, as the sport’s governing body will be implementing Club Licensing for both men and women at the same time, whereas many Member Associations the world over have had men’s Club Licensing in place and are only recently incorporating women’s Club Licensing at the domestic level.

“Improving standards for both men and women involved in Australia’s professional leagues is a sharp focus for Football Australia. The development and implementation of Club Licensing for both A-League Men and A-League Women clubs in the same year demonstrates the organisation’s commitment to elevating men’s and women’s club football,” said Lutz.

“As Licensor of the system, Football Australia is responsible for creating regulations, determining the scope of application of the system, developing criteria, establishing the decision-making bodies and procedures, and providing ongoing communication and assistance to clubs.

“It is Football Australia’s intention to continually increase the criteria and standards of these five areas over time, in turn creating more sustainable clubs and competitions which will support a more prosperous football landscape,” concluded Lutz.

A-League Men and A-League Women clubs are now in receipt of the Football Australia Club Licensing Regulations, as well as the manual and templates, with submissions taking place until early August 2022 ahead of licensing decisions made in mid-August 2022 for A-League Men clubs.

Parallel to A-League Men and A-League Women implementation, Football Australia is in the process of expanding the Club Licensing framework to include the National Second Tier and National Premier League, with specific criteria to be developed for each competition.

By Heart_fan - 14 May 2022 12:19 PM

The APL certainly appear to have lost their way already, so I think these kind of initiatives by FA are required. 

The days of a stand-alone top tier are numbered in my view, as the need to fully embrace the whole pyramid, not just a few clubs at the top, really has to change. 

What that structure looks like is the big question, but having a clearly defined set of requirements is key to giving all clubs the chance to build towards the next step when it comes.