LNFS England, previously known as the National Futsal League (NFL), has been an FA-affiliated league for over 10 years. The FA has been satisfied that we meet all the requirements in our governance and organisation to achieve this recognition. Our clubs can be reassured that we will continue to maintain and enhance these high standards going forward, ensuring that we can remain FA affiliated for the foreseeable future.
In this article we briefly describe why clubs and leagues affiliate to the FA and how the affiliation process works.
LNFS England and the National Futsal League Community Interest Company work closely with English County Football Associations (CFAs) and value their contribution to futsal development. CFAs provide courses for coaches and match officials, support for the volunteers who set up and run futsal leagues, and IT tools for registering players and clubs and for reporting fixture details and match results. We recognise that some CFAs have more resources than others and are happy to assist all CFAs develop futsal For All by helping to co-ordinate activities across England so that access to futsal isn’t a postcode lottery.
LNFS England is owned by the National Futsal League C.I.C., a not-for-profit which is, in turn, owned by its Member Clubs. These clubs affiliate annually to their CFA and play in our FA “sanctioned” league. The word “sanction” in English is somewhat unfortunate because it means both “official permission or approval for an action” and “a threatened penalty for disobeying a law or rule”! We therefore stick with the word “affiliate” for the rest of this article.
Futsal clubs and futsal leagues go through a similar process when affiliating to the FA, with clubs (and local leagues) affiliating to their CFA and national leagues such as LNFS England affiliating via the FA’s central Licencing & Sanctioning Department.
This process is described in a lengthy handbook written principally for association football. However, since the FA classifies all English futsal as “grassroots football” these rules apply equally to futsal.
The FA affiliation process, in a nutshell, is:
- The club or league submits its proposed rules for the following season (clubs to their CFA and national leagues like LNFS England to central FA Licencing & Sanctioning) at least 28 days before their Annual General Meeting. These rules must contain all mandatory elements of the FA’s current Standard Code of Rules (SCOR), but can also include additional rules on, for example, team hospitality and matchday organisation which are specific to an individual club or league.
- Within 28 days the FA must inform the club or league of any changes they require to these rules in order for them to comply with mandatory elements of the SCOR.
- These changes must then be incorporated into the club or league rules before their AGM.
- At the club or league AGM members vote to accept or reject the rules, although they would be unwise to reject any mandatory rules because this would preclude FA affiliation.
- After the AGM the club or league affiliates to the FA electronically via the FA’s Whole Game System.
- In the case of clubs this means they must submit information as described in this video:
- In the case of a league such as LNFS England this means they must submit the rules accepted by Member Clubs at the league AGM, a list of those Member Clubs (with their FA affiliation numbers), and information on sponsors and certain other financial details, as described in this video:
This brief description of the FA affiliation process shows that annual affiliation can only occur after a club or league has held its AGM, which is normally after the season ends. The extended season this year because of Covid-19 means that many clubs and leagues will hold their AGMs in July or August, before the start of the next English futsal season in September, so will affiliate after these AGMs, also in July or August. Time will therefore be tight.
Prior to their AGM all clubs and leagues must submit their proposed rules to the FA for approval. For example, last month LNFS England submitted our SCOR-compliant set of 2021-22 Rules to the FA’s Licencing & Sanctioning Department, which allows plenty of time before our July AGM.
We urge all clubs to contact their CFA as soon as possible to complete their affiliation, and certainly before their league AGM. Leagues like LNFS England can then affiliate to the FA immediately after their AGM, without any unnecessary delay.