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Raging against the machine ...HELP / ADVICE welcome



Mar 21, 2019, 2:41 PM

Posts: 1

Post #1 of 1 (1354 views)
Raging against the machine ...HELP / ADVICE welcome Can't Post or Reply Privately

Hello all, my first ever post but an important and personal one for me. I have spent the last year + dealing with a football club & the football authorities and being totally honest I’m unsure what else I can do. Every time I think I’m getting anywhere I seem to hit another brick wall.

I’ll try and keep this post as short and sweet as possible but obviously there’s loads more to it. I’m hoping that if I open up to other grassroots / non-league footie people I will get some experienced / useful feedback and suggestions. Maybe I’ve been going about this the wrong but who knows.

I appreciate your time in reading this and welcome any comments………

I started up a new u7’s age group ( son nr.1 ) at my local football club for the 16/17 season. The football clubs senior team play at level 5 in the football pyramid and has been awarded the highest available ‘Community Club’ charter status by the County FA.

At the start of 17/18 season I approached the Chairman about purchasing new goalposts because the plastic ones had seen better days, like many around the country. After our discussion I was told that we would need to fundraise to generate the funds, despite the junior section recently hosting their annual signing on day. The football club has teams in all age groups from u7s-u16s and pay annual subscriptions of £135. I thought it was strange that no ‘spare’ funds were available at the start of the season, so I asked to see the ‘accounts’.

I received ‘accounts’ from the club. Just so there’s no confusion, when I say ‘accounts’ I don’t mean properly produced accounts, P&L, Balance sheet, carry forwards, cash holdings etc. Basically I’m talking about numbers on a piece of headed paper showing that virtually every penny is ‘spent’ every year.

I concentrated on the junior section ‘accounts’ because that’s where my interest was and being totally honest I was amazed that the ‘accounts’ had never been challenged before and passed at the annual AGM’s. Numerous things on the ‘accounts’ leapt out but the main things related to annual subscriptions, ref fees & lack of other income. Upon simply comparing three seasons worth of ‘accounts’ I noticed that Ref fees seemed to be a bog standard £3500 per year, irrespective of the number of teams or games during that season. Can you imagine the chances of Ref fees being exactly the same amount for three straight seasons for 10+ youth teams!.

This was further highlighted, when I challenged the annual subscriptions income, which had substantially increased between years,( probably following my query about number of players signed on ) apparently due to an 25% increase in teams and players !. YET somehow 17/18 predicted ref fees suddenly dropped by approx. £1500 after I ticked back all youth games published on FA Full Time and notified the football club. Basic maths.

One of the other main discrepancies was the fact that the ‘accounts’ were missing other important income. By important income I mean fundraising generated during the respective seasons. This football club is also the only one I’ve known, according to produced ‘accounts’ to physically lose money at an annual five-a-side tournament. In fact over the period of two years they generated just under £200 profit for the football club. I’m not saying tournaments are all about the money but surely it should lose over £500!

I also received a different version of the 15/16 official ‘account’ from the treasurer to the one supplied by the chairman, both signed by same person on same day !. I have copies of everything I’ve ever been sent.

I raised my concerns to the relevant people at the football club both by email and verbally at meetings. I even joined the executive committee of the club to help and understand exactly how finances were looked after. At no stage have I, as a parent, manager or even as an executive committee member been given the physical evidence/information I requested including confirmation of bank balances. I have never been supplied with any records, physical evidence or bank statements relating to the accounts. I’ve never been able to confirm the banking of the fundraising.

For personal and professional reasons I could no longer stay at the club. I couldn’t ask the parents of the boys I look after, to put money into the club when I didn’t know where it all went. I therefore moved the teams to another local grassroots club. I can confirm I’m incredibly happy at a superb new club and currently setting up a new age group for son nr2.

It doesn’t stop there…..

Due to my job I have a responsibility to report financial concerns and therefore I contacted my local County FA, speaking directly to the Finance Director. Basically the local CFA have done nothing. They failed to officially acknowledge my complaint, respond, engage or take action therefore I bumped it up to The FA legal & Governance Division. This is where my current complaint sits but knowing The FA being the big machine it is, it’s a painfully slow process.

I have however challenged the CFA again because the Chairman from the football club posted a facebook post ( without naming me but clearly aimed at me ) threatening legal action. The support and help from the CFA has been shocking despite supplying them with some email ‘confessions’. I’ve tried to go through the appropriate process / authorities but without actual hard evidence ( because the football club wouldn’t produce any ) I’m unsure what else I can do.

The football club in question has just been granted ‘ Community Club’ charter status again despite the CFA being aware of my suspicions and concerns. When I challenged the CFA about the renewal of Community Club charter, the response is as follows:

Charter Standard
The FA Charter Standard process is prescribed to us by The FA. For the purposes of FA Charter Standard status, at the point of first application clubs must provide evidence that they have a bank account in the Club’s name (recommended for single team Clubs and mandatory for Clubs with more than one team) and also provide a financial statement approved by the Club’s committee. ******** ******** would have provided these documents when first applying for the Community Club Charter Standard award in 2011. We are not required to receive further financial documents in order to sign-off Annual Health Checks each season. I have attached the FA Charter Standard Annual Health Check criteria as evidence.

When annually affiliating to ******* FA, clubs are not required to provide financial records.

Is this how the Charter system is really meant to work ?. I genuinely believe The FA charter is about maintaining and raising standards across grassroots football on a yearly basis, everything I’ve read points to this however the CFA deemed it fit to still award the highest charter possible to the football club, despite the lack of properly produced and accurate ‘accounts’. We are not talking about a Sunday pub team ( no offense meant ) but a level 5 Community charter club !

Is this how CFA’s are meant to act ?

Is this a common thing experienced by youth managers / coaches where the club has senior means teams playing, which pay wages etc and incur costs.

One minor thing I forgot to mention is the fact that a senior member of the football club is also a highly placed board member at the CFA.

Once again thank you for reading.

Grassroots Coach


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