FIFA will create a global club licensing framework by the end of 2016, working with the six regional confederations to improve club football by setting minimum standards in key areas such as stadium safety, fan experience and youth football development.
All six confederations met for a two-day seminar at the Home of FIFA in Zurich this week to plan the full global implementation of the licensing system – the first time all confederations have met to work on the programme together.
The FIFA Club Licensing principles form the basis for the confederations’ own club licensing principles, taking into account the regional specificity of club football. Clubs then need to meet these principles to be eligible for certain competitions, adhering to international statutes, investing in training facilities and agreeing to the independent auditing of finances and greater transparency of ownership.
“Stronger clubs mean a stronger foundation for global football. Club licensing is a priority for FIFA’s investment in the game and a crucial part of raising professional standards,” said FIFA Director of Member Associations and Development Thierry Regenass. “We are now working hand-in-hand with the six confederations and our member associations worldwide to implement this blueprint for the future of football.”
The FIFA Club Licensing system requires clubs to commit to minimum standards and principles in five key areas:
• Sporting criteria e.g. clubs must have a youth development programme; clubs must promote fair play
• Infrastructure criteria e.g. clubs must have safe, comfortable stadiums for fans, families and media; clubs must have training facilities
• Personnel and administrative criteria e.g. clubs must have qualified coaches and medical staff and professional, well-educated management
• Legal criteria e.g. clubs must adhere to international statutes; club ownership must be transparent and fair
• Financial criteria e.g. independent auditing of club finances
UEFA and the AFC have established successful club licensing programmes in Europe and Asia, while FIFA is working with CONCACAF and CAF to develop and implement club licensing systems in those regions. The OFC and CONMEBOL are scheduled to adopt regional standards before the end of 2016. These guidelines will then be tailored to suit the needs of national associations and clubs as part of FIFA’s football development priorities for the 2015-2018 financial cycle.