FAW update on potential 20/21 season brings bad news for tiers 3-5

PICTURE by Wynne Evans shows Dylan Summers-Jones on the ball for Gwynedd League (tier four) champions Bangor 1876 in the 2019/20 season.

AFTER months of uncertainty and confusion, the Football Association of Wales (FAW) has today announced that the 2020-21 season has been cancelled for men’s football tiers 3 to 5 and women’s tier 2.

Several cup competitions at that level have been called off also but both the JD Cymru Premier and JD Cymru North and South (tier two) and Orchard Welsh Premier Women’s League will receive ‘Elite Status’ in weeks to come – meaning they should return to action.

The Welsh Cup will also only include teams from tiers one and two, who the FAW plan to see playing between March and May.

Academy Leagues are expected to resume at Alert Level 3 if Welsh Government Regulations permits and the Futsal League, if Welsh Government regulations allow, will play on until UEFA window for champion nomination closes.

But what about money paid by clubs?

In a press release issued by the FAW earlier today, they gave the following guidance on fees for the 21/22 season (should that go ahead!)

2021/22 SEASON FEES
Due to COVID-19 and Welsh Government regulations, the 2020/21 football season has been severely affected.

The FAW acknowledges that players, clubs, leagues, and referees have paid various fees in respect of the 2020/21 season and the FAW has been considering the most effective way of addressing these matters.

Please note the following headline decisions:

• Teams that entered competitions in the 2020/21 season, that have either not started, or have started but will not be completed, will now be automatically entered into the equivalent competitions for the 2021/22 season free of charge.
• Clubs and leagues that affiliated with either the FAW or an Area Association in the 2020/21 season will not need to pay a fee to affiliate in respect of the 2021/22 season.
• Player registration fees for the 2021/22 season will be discounted and further details will be communicated in due course.
• Referee registration fees for the 2021/22 season will be discounted and further details will be communicated in due course.
For further information in respect of each of the above points, please refer to the relevant section detailed below.

  1. Competition entry fees:
    • League competitions:
    o In respect of teams that paid to enter a league competition in the 2020/21 season and the competition they entered, either has not started, or has started but will not be completed:
    § The competition entry fee paid in respect of the 2020/21 season, will be automatically carried forward to the equivalent league competition for the 2021/22 season. This means that the team will be automatically entered into next year’s competition and they will not need to pay an entry fee.
    § If a team no longer wants to enter the equivalent league competition in the 2021/22 season, they will be able to request a full refund of their 2020/21 season league competition entry fee by contacting their competition organiser.
    o Teams that did not enter a league competition in the 2020/21 season but now intend to enter the equivalent league competition in the 2021/22 season, will need to enter the competition on COMET and pay the relevant entry fee. Further information in relation to this matter will be communicated in due course. • Cup competitions:
    o In respect of teams that paid to enter a competition in 20/21 ,and the competition they entered, either has not started, or has started but will not be completed:
    § The competition entry fee paid in respect of the 2020/21 season, will be automatically carried forward to the equivalent cup competition for the 2021/22 season. This means that the team will be automatically entered into next year’s competition and they will not need to pay an entry fee.
    § If a team no longer wants to enter the equivalent cup competition in the 2021/22 season, they will be able to request a full refund of their 2020/21 season cup competition entry fee by contacting their competition organiser.
    o Teams that did not enter a cup competition in the 2020/21 season, but now intend to enter the equivalent cup competition in the 2021/22 season, will need to enter the competition on COMET and pay the relevant entry fee. Further information in relation to this matter will be communicated in due course.
  2. Affiliation fees
    • Prior to the start of every season, all clubs and leagues must affiliate with either the FAW or with their Area Association.
    • Due to the impact of COVID-19, it has been decided that all clubs and leagues that affiliated for the 2020/21 season, will not be required to pay a fee to affiliate for the 2021/22 season.
    • Any club (or league) that did not affiliate for the 2020/21 season, will need to pay the relevant affiliation fee for the 2021/22 season and further details in relation to this will be communicated in due course.
  3. Player registration fees
    • The player registration fees for the 2020/21 season were priced as follows: £10 adults / £5 juniors & minis. • In respect of the 2020/21 season, the player registration fees paid by Clubs to the FAW have been used to pay the following:
    o For every registered player, the relevant league receives a £2 payment. The total amount to be paid to leagues in respect of the 2020/21 season will be approximately £150,000.
    o All registered players are automatically covered by the FAW’s Personal Accident Insurance Scheme. The FAW also provides free insurance to all registered coaches and club officials. The total market value of the insurance cover provided by the FAW is approximately £400,000 per season.
    It is important to highlight that the Personal Accident Insurance scheme provides cover for all members during training and matches (including friendlies).
    Over the past 18 months, this insurance policy has paid out nearly £50,000 in respect of claims made by players and the premium is driven by claims and not the amount of football played. The FAW is currently liaising with its insurers to finalise the premium for the 2021/22 season which will then allow us to confirm the discounted player registration fees for the 2021/22 season.
    o Prior to the start of each season, all junior clubs in Wales must be accredited. For the 2020/21 season, the FAW introduced a new incentive programme to reward clubs that submitted their club accreditation applications before 31st August 2020. The total value of incentives paid to junior clubs in respect of the 2020/21 season is £25,000.
    o All registered players are automatically entered into a monthly prize draw where they can either win a prize for themselves (10 x monthly prizes of £100 JD Sports vouchers) or for their clubs (4 x monthly prizes of £500 training kit/equipment vouchers). For the 2020/21 season, there will be 168 prize draw winners and the total prize money paid out will be £36,000.
    • In order to determine the discount player registration fees for the 2021/22 season, the FAW will now liaise with its insurers (in order to finalise the insurance premium) and all leagues (in respect of the £2 per player registration rebate) and a decision will be made as quickly as possible.
  4. Referee registration fees
    • The referee registration fees for the 2020/21 season were £20 (early bird price) or £30 (full price.)
    • Due to COVID-19, many referees have not been able to officiate in any matches during the 2020/21 season.
    • To reflect this, the 2021/22 referee registration fees will be discounted, with the exception of those officiating in competitions that will continue. Further information on the reduced rates will be communicated in due course.

An unsurprising decision in truth but a disappointing one for lower league clubs nonetheless!

Let’s hope later this year can bring back some ‘normality’ for grassroots football.

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