The Football Association of Wales (FAW) and the FAW Trust are committed to a National Player Development structure that gives equal opportunities and choice to players throughout the country. The focus of the programme is the “Player at the Centre”.
These opportunities will be provided and developed within the National Academy structure and will place the welfare of the player as paramount. To ensure this, all Academies will be expected to adopt and operate the FAW Safeguarding Policy.
The Academies will undertake to: -
Under UEFA’s mandatory guidelines for teams within UEFA Member Association’s top-divisions it is necessary for all clubs participating in the Cymru Premier League to achieve the Youth Development Criteria as set out by UEFA in its Club Licensing Regulations. To ensure that nationally, players of potential can access quality provision via the Academy structure in geographical areas where there is no provision; it is part of the strategy to permit the best clubs outside of the Cymru Premier League, should they meet all of the standards required to attain Academy status. These clubs may seek to attain academy status and will undergo an ‘Application for Approval’ Audit to meet the minimum standards before being accepted into the Programme.
2.1 All Cymru Premier League Clubs will be approved if they submit their application for approval no later than the annual deadline (See Core Process for Annual Deadline).
2.2 With the exception of 2.1, only Clubs with Academy status during the 2019/20 Season can apply for Academy status for the 2020/21 season.
2.3 Clubs outside of the Cymru Premier League must apply for approval no later than Wednesday 1st July, which is the Annual Deadline.
2.4 In order to gain approval, clubs outside of the Cymru Premier League must prove to the Auditor by the Annual Deadline that they have fulfilled all of the non-conformities listed in their latest independent academy audit report.
2.5 In order to gain approval, clubs outside of the Cymru Premier League must prove to the Auditor by the Annual Deadline that coaches (with required qualifications) are in place at all age-groups, training facilities are available for the duration of the season, playing facilities meeting the minimum standards are available for the duration of the season and the season can be financed by providing an annual budget containing the minimum requirements as defined in Appendix 3.
3.1 Academy status is mandatory for the Cymru Premier League clubs.
3.2 Other clubs may be accepted into the programme, subject to adhering to all Regulations, in the following hierarchical order;
3.2.1 Clubs playing at Tier 2 of the FAW Pyramid structure, may be considered for Academy Status under the National Academy structure, subject to the Application for Approval.
3.2.2 Clubs, based in Wales, whose first team is playing in the English pyramid system, may be considered to hold Academy Status under the National Academy structure, subject to the Application for Approval.
3.2.3 Clubs playing at Tier 3 of the FAW Pyramid structure will only be considered for Academy Status if the same club held Academy Status for the duration of the previous football season and met the required audits. The decision will be subject to satisfying the requirements of the Application for Approval.
3.3 The only new academies for the 2020/21 season, must be members of the Cymru Premier League.
3.4 The maximum number of clubs in Wales with FAW Academy status will be 26.
3.5 Clubs must be a Qualifying Club and affiliated to the Football Association of Wales.
N.B. Clubs competing in the FAW Tier 2 Leagues, who seek promotion to the WPL should work towards FAW Academy status by meeting the FAW Tier 1 Licence Criteria, but they do not have to have already gained the status in order to be licensed.
4.1 Academy Status will be issued annually and expire at the end of every Playing Season.
4.2 Only Clubs awarded FAW Accredited Academy Status, can use the FAW defined term “Academy”.
4.3 The ‘Academy’ title may only be used in relation to the designated age groups and operating conditions of the Academy as set out in these Regulations.
4.4 Academies will be audited in each season with a view to be issued with their approval for status for that season.
4.5 In order to be awarded Academy Status, Academies are required to submit their Application for Approval by 1st July annually.
4.6 To gain Academy Status, clubs will first be audited in July to maintain Academy status, Clubs will then be subject to two further annual inspections one based on Technical and the other on their participation in the Games Programme.
4.7 All aspects of the criteria will be thoroughly audited at every inspection. All administrative material, accounts, registrations, technical programmes, coaching records and development will be made available for inspection.
4.8 Academies failing to meet the criteria during the season, will be given an action plan to address all areas of concern with a deadline date for adherence at the Auditors discretion. Those Licence holders not meeting the action plan by the deadline date will be sanctioned by one or more of the following;
4.8.1 Academy status will be withdrawn
4.8.2 Funding will be withheld
4.8.3 A fine of up to £1,500
4.8.4 Issued with a final warning
4.8.5 Issued with a caution.
4.9 Information must be collated on the official forms or computer software, as provided by the Football Association of Wales Trust or Football Association of Wales from time to time.
4.10 Clubs relegated from the Cymru Premier League may apply to retain their Academy Status but will not be eligible for UEFA Solidarity Payment.
5.1 Any Club who is not granted Academy Status has the right to put forward its case to the National League Board, which makes a final decision.
5.2 Any club which is not granted Academy Status, but wishes to put forward its case to the National League Board, must write to the Chief Executive Officer at the Football Association of Wales within seven Business Days of receipt of its decision, paying a fee in accordance with FAW Rule 43.2.3 and clearly outlining the reasons for such request.
5.3 Until the National League Board has made a final decision, a club will not be accepted into the Academy Programme.
6.1 Academies must be within the same legal entity of the club or affiliated to its legal entity through an official partnership, which must be approved by the FAW.
6.2 All such affiliations must be recorded, open and transparent with a formal written agreement detailing the roles and responsibilities of both partners on an annual basis.
6.3 Financial and technical support must be provided by the club and affiliated Academies.
6.4 All parties within any partnership agreement will be under the direct management of the Head of Coaching.
6.5 The Head of Coaching will be responsible to ensure that the Academy meets the audit Criteria. All partners are bound by the Academy criteria and Academy status is subject to all parties meeting the criteria.
6.6 Academy status will be registered to the Club, not to any third-party partnership.
7.1 The Academy must have at least the following mandatory youth teams within its legal entity or affiliated to its legal entity.
a. Operate a skill acquisition programme for ages Under 8’s to Under 11’s. This is to be known as the Pre-Academy.
b. Operate a team at U12 to play in the Games Programme
c. Operate a team at U13 to play in the Games Programme
d. Operate a team at U14 to play in the Games Programme
e. Operate a team at U15 to play in the Games Programme
f. Operate a team at U16 to play in the Games Programme
g. Operate a team at U19 to play in an affiliated competition.
7.2.1 A maximum of 14 players per age band can be involved in the pre-Academy programme.
7.2.2 A maximum of 16 players and two Trialists can register for the U12 and U13 age-groups.
7.2.3 A maximum of 18 players and two Trialists can register for the U14, U15 and U16 age-groups.
7.3 Clubs are permitted to arrange friendly matches but must gain FAW sanction. Sanction would be granted for requests made 28 days in advance, if the proposed match did not clash with the FAW Academy programme. Requests made less than seven days in advance of the fixture, may not be sanctioned.
7.4 The age of the player must conform to the FAW Rules.
7.5 The travel distance for Players must not exceed 30 miles for Players aged 8 – 11 years and must not exceed 50 miles for Players aged 12-16 years. For the avoidance of doubt, the AA Route Planner is to be used.
8.1 A League competition will be organised by the FAW for the Under 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16 ages. It is mandatory for all Academies to participate in all of these competitions.
8.2 Academies must participate in an approved and affiliated Under 19 competition.
8.3 All academy games are to be played in accordance with the Academy League Regulations.
8.4 It is mandatory for Academies to fulfil their Academy League fixtures.
8.5 Academies not fulfilling their fixtures will lose a percentage of the allocated funding, as agreed by the National League Board and/or be subject to a sanction as defined in 4.8.
8.6 Academies should not play less than the following number of matches or programmes per season and per player:
· Age Range 12-19 – Minimum of 30
· Age Range 8 -11 – Minimum of 20 coached games or festivals.
8.7 All Players participating in the Academy League must be registered in accordance with the Rules of the Football Association of Wales. A list of Players participating in each match, must be submitted on the Team Sheet, using the systems and procedures agreed by the FAW from time to time. The completed Team Sheets, confirming the full names of players taking part and the names of substitutes indicating whether or not they took part in the match must be submitted to the FAW within sixty minutes of the match being played. Failure to comply will automatically result in a £10 fine per offence.
8.8 There is no obligation for the teams in the Pre-Academy ages (8-11), to participate in an organised games programme, however these teams are required to participate in festivals and/or coached games.. Pre-Academy teams must follow the FAW mini football rules. No mandatory registration of these players is required.
8.9 The skill acquisition programme must consist of a minimum of 1 session per week and a maximum of three sessions per week for the ages U8-U11's.
8.10 All registered players between the age of Under 12 and Under 19 must participate in a minimum of 50% of the Academy League fixtures.
9.1 There will be an optional Academy Futsal programme, as defined by the Association from time to time.
10.1 Changing rooms must be separate, accessible, safe and in close proximity to the pitch for both teams and the match officials.
10.2 Goal-nets and corner flags must be provided in all matches.
10.3 A designated spectator area must be made available at all matches and all parents and supporters must watch the match in this Area. This must be on one side of the ground and at least 1.5m away from the touchline. This area will be audited during the games audit and Clubs must change the designated supporter area if advised by the FAW or the Auditors.
10.4 The pitch must be marked as per the Laws of the Game.
10.5 A 9v9 pitch must be used for Under 12 and Under 13 matches, as described in Competition Rule 1.
10.6 9v9 goals must be used for Under 12 and Under 13 matches as described in Competition Rule 2.
10.7 Access to a 3G facility must be secured for the Under 15 and 16 age group during the months of December, January and February.
11.1 Changing rooms must be accessible, safe and in close proximity to the training venue.
11.2 The facility must have a meeting room to enable the club to meet parents and hold general meetings.
11.3 The playing area must have access to floodlights for sessions held during evening hours.
11.4 The area for coaching and development must be available in all weathers (ideally 3G / AstroTurf, if available) or a quality grass pitch (60m x 40m minimum).
11.5 Where 3G pitches and floodlights are not used, there must be access to a suitable indoor facility, to be used as contingency during adverse weather conditions.
11.6 Clubs must provide a minimum of half a pitch for ages Under 14’s to Under 19’s.
11.7 A Medical Room must be available to treat injuries.
11.8 Clubs must ensure and provide documentation that all facilities are adequately insured.
12.1 Academies must operate for a minimum of 30 weeks and a maximum of 44 weeks in this period.
12.2 All sessions must be a minimum of 1 hour and a maximum of 2 hours in duration.
12.3 There must be a minimum of two sessions per week, per age-group from Under 12’s to Under 19’s.
12.3. In the Pre-Academy Age group (8-11) there must be minimum of 1 x 90 minute session per week
12.4 There must be a weekly programme to accommodate all goalkeepers aged 12 – 21. This should be a minimum of 1 hour and up to a maximum of 3 hours.
The Academy must have its own personnel and administrative structure with the minimum areas of responsibilities being;
Staff may take on more than one role but must acknowledge the area of responsibility within each role undertaken.
Staff must fulfil their specific roles and responsibilities as set out below.
14.1 Academy Administrator
14.1.1 Clubs must register the Academy Operations Manager on COMET.
14.1.2 The Academy Operations Manager must adhere to the following;
14.1.3 The maximum payment from the UEFA Solidarity Grant is £2,000.
14.2 Head of Coaching
14.2.1 Clubs must register the Head of Coaching on COMET. 3.
14.2.2 The Head of Coaching must abide by the following;
14.2.3 The maximum payment from the UEFA Solidarity payment is £25,000.
14.2.4 All Cymru Premier League clubs must appoint a Head of Coaching in a full-time role, minimum of 35 hours per week.
14.3 Coaching Staff
14.3.1 All coaches must abide by the following;
14.3.2 Coaches can be paid the amount stated in the ‘Recommendations for Coach Payment’ (See 14.12). The total payment for all other qualified coaches from the UEFA Solidarity Grant is a maximum of £3,000.
14.4 Head Goalkeeper and Assistant Goalkeeper Coaches
14.4.1. The Head Goalkeeper and Assistant Goalkeeper coach must abide by the following;
14.4.2. The total payment for all other qualified coaches (including the Head goalkeeper coach) from the UEFA Solidarity Grant is a maximum of £3,000.
14.5 Safeguarding Officer
14.5.1 Clubs must register the Safeguarding Officer on COMET. 4.
14.5.2 The Safeguarding Officer must abide by the following;
14.6 Head of Foundation Phase (or Foundation Phase Lead Coach)
Responsible for skill acquisition within the foundation phase (U8-U11). Must ensure that the Foundation phase teams focus on training, learning and engaging. Minimum coaching requirement is FAW ‘C’ Certificate.
14.7 Head of Youth Phase (or Youth Phase Lead Coach)
Responsible for encouraging decision-making through football awareness and perception game-related practice within the youth phase (U12-U16). Must ensure that the Youth phase teams focus on embedding game understanding and sound decision-making skills. Minimum coaching requirement is UEFA ‘B’ Licence.
14.8 Head of Performance Phase (or Performance Phase Lead Coach)
Responsible for developing tactical specific, game related problems within the Performance phase (U17-U21). Must ensure that the Performance phase teams focus on the refinement of players’ technical, tactical, physiological and psychosocial capabilities. Minimum coaching requirement is UEFA ‘A’ Certificate.
14.9 Academy Medical Officer
Responsible for overseeing all medical maters within the Academy, including but not limited to the following;
14.10 First Aid Officer
The First Aid Officer must abide by the following;
14.11 Academy Education Portal Tutor
All Academies must have two designated individuals to present the FAW education training programme, which includes; Anti-discrimination, Anti-Doping, Laws of the Game and Integrity. This programme must be delivered to all mandatory age-groups annually.
14.12 Recommendations for Coach Payment
These are the recommended rates for Coach Payment;
Head of Youth Development . . . . . . .Up to £30.00 per hour*
A Licence coaches . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Up to £30.00 per hour
B Licence coaches . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Up to £20.00 per session
C Licence coaches . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . National minimum wage
Futsal coaches . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .National minimum wage
Football Leaders . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . National minimum wage
* Unless the Head of Coaching is remunerated from the UEFA Solidarity Fund.
Clubs may make individual decisions on coach payments.
It may be necessary for personnel at the Academy to adopt more than one role within the Academy staff structure. This is acceptable; however, staff will be responsible for the duties set out within their job descriptions.
14.13 A holder of the required coaching licence within the meaning of Chapter 14 is considered a coach who, in accordance with the UEFA implementation provisions of the UEFA Coaching Convention, has:
a) been issued a UEFA coaching licence by a UEFA member association; or
b) at least started the required UEFA coaching licence course. Simple registration for the required licence course is not sufficient to meet this criterion; or
c) been issued an FAW coaching certificate by the FAW.
d) All qualified coaches must be duly registered with the FAW.
15.1 There must be a minimum of 1 coach for every 12 players in the skill acquisition programme (8-11), but 15.2 must also be respected at all times. There must be a minimum of 2 coaches per Academy age from Under 12 to Under 19.
15.2 To ensure that all aspects of the FAW Safeguarding Regulations are undertaken, two coaches must work with each group of players.
15.3 There must be a minimum of one coach who holds the FAW First Aid qualification for every 12 players in a session.
16.1 Players up to and including Under 12’s must use size 4 balls.
16.2 Players at Under 13 and over must use size 5 balls.
16.3 There must be a minimum of 1 ball between 2 players available for coaching sessions at all age groups.
16.4 Marking discs (cones) must be available and must be safe.
16.5 Bibs of at least two differing colours must be available for every age-group.
16.6 Poles must be of a suitable height for each age-group.
16.7 Players must wear adequate shin protection during training and games.
16.8 All equipment must be checked for safety prior to every session.
17.1 Each Academy coach must undertake a programme of continuous professional development training per year. This will be a minimum of one accredited workshop per year.
17.2 Training should be delivered through the Accredited Coaches Programme this is delivered at local, regional and national level, supporting the FAW Coach Education Programme.
17.3 A list of accredited coaching workshops, which all Academy coaches must attend, will be circulated annually by the FAW Trust.
17.4 It is the responsibility of all Academy Coaches to revalidate their qualifications as per FAW/UEFA Criteria.
17.5 Each coach should maintain a detailed log of training that they have undertaken.
17.6 There must be a minimum of 2 qualified skill acquisition coaches in ages 8-11.
17.7 The identified Coach mentor must complete two documented assessments of age group coaches across the season.
18.1 Regional Forums will be held at least annually.
18.2 The FAW will facilitate the regional forums and make recommendations to the relevant FAW Board and FAW as a result of the forums findings.
18.3 Each Academy should send two delegates to the Regional Academy Forums, one of which needs to be either the Head of Coaching or Academy Operations Manager. Failure to do so will be subject to a fine or caution by the relevant FAW Board.
19.1 Clubs must provide evidence of a coaching curriculum which must be age specific or phase specific (see appendix 4).
19.2 Staff must work within a technical programme which will be clearly outlined by The Head of Coaching Heads of Phase.
19.3 Weekly session planners must be maintained to support the work undertaken.
19.4 At least four hours of technical educational work, must be undertaken with each age group throughout the season. The technical education programme must include as a minimum;
19.5 The FAW E-Coach education programme must be delivered to include the following topics;
19.6 All players must undertake an Education programme on the responsible use of social media.
20.1 Players in the age-groups Under 12 and above must be registered with the Club in accordance with FAW Rule 59.
20.2 Clubs must also refer to Appendix 1, ‘FAW Academy Player Registrations Regulations.’
20.3 Players should be registered by the Club for attendance at every training session and match.
20.4 Details of player’s medical conditions should be available at every session, using the systems and procedures as set by the FAW from time to time.
20.5 Players should not be released from the Academy without having an opportunity to address concerns raised on their appraisal. See Appendix 1 for more information.
20.6 There must be a minimum of two parents’ evenings per season to coincide with the appraisal report.
20.7 Coaches must complete a player performance review with parent and player before Christmas and before the end of the Season.
21.1 The Academy must adhere to all Welfare and Safeguarding Rules and Regulations.
21.2 Every Academy must have a Mission Statement which is promoted openly.
21.3 Every Academy must operate a policy of equality.
21.4 Codes of conduct for coaches, parents & players must be signed annually and stored securely. Codes of Conduct must include consequences for non-compliance.
21.5 The signed copies of the Academy Codes of Conduct as described in 21.4 above, must be available for inspection.
21.6 The Academy must draw up a health and safety code, which all staff must work within at all times.
21.7 An induction process for every Member of Staff must be carried out before they can work at the Academy.
22.1 All Academies are to have their own bank account, separate from the first team. Statements must be accessible at Audit.
22.2 All income and expenditure must go through the bank account of the Academy.
22.3 The income and expenditure of the Academy must include all of the minimum disclosure requirements as stated in Appendix 3.
22.4 Up to date records of expenditure and income with receipts must be maintained for audit.
22.5 As Academy finances must be run independently from the clubs, a formal written agreement must be drawn stating the financial arrangements between both parties and that all money from the UEFA Solidarity grant (if applicable) is spent solely on youth development.
22.6 Records of terms and conditions of employment stating rates of pay must be maintained.
22.7 All cash coaching payments must be reconciled with a signature to confirm receipt of payment.
22.8 Regular interim statements and end of year accounts must be available for the Academy Forum and clubs’ Board of Directors.
22.9 Following agreement by the member clubs in the 2019/20 season; from the 2019/20 season onwards, all clubs will contribute £5,000 from the UEFA Solidarity Grant, to the Parachute payment fund, which will be used to support the relegated academies the following season, up to a maximum of £30,000 per academy and subject to audit compliance.
22.10 UEFA Solidarity Grant payments, which can only be received by top-division clubs must, be used in accordance with the UEFA distribution criteria and the Cymru Premier League Academy Financial Scorecard.
22.11 Cymru Premier League Clubs must submit annual audited academy accounts to the FAW upon request.
23.1 Academy Officers
The Academy should operate under the direct control of appointed Academy officers. These should include; Head of Coaching, Academy Operations Manager, a representation from the Clubs Committee or Board of Directors. Cymru Premier League Clubs should also operate with a Head of Coaching. Additional members may be appointed as required.
23.2 Academy Forum
The Academy Officers must form an Academy Forum. The Forum will set its own terms of reference which will include; Staff appointments, discipline and grievance procedures, preparation for the Annual Audit, authorisation of the Annual Audit, direct reporting to the club’s committee or board of directors.
They should meet a minimum of 4 times per year. A chair shall be appointed, and minutes will be kept of all Academy Forum meetings. A minimum of 5 representatives should be nominated to include a representative of the club’s board of directors and the player’s parents.
The Academy will remain the responsibility of the club it’s affiliated to. Its committee and Board of Directors shall retain input in all Academy matters and should be informed directly on a regular basis of developments within the Academy.
24.1 General Procedures
Every Academy is required to maintain accurate records on the FAW’s Portal and to inform the FAW and FAW Trust regarding any changes in personnel.
24.2 Every Academy is required to maintain an accurate Workbook, as provided by the FAW Auditor from time to time.
24.2 Other Records
A database of Attendance Records and the Technical Programme must be maintained.
25.1 It is the responsibility of the Academy that all insurance matters relating to the activities of the Academy are covered. This must include players, staff, facilities, matches, travel and any other areas for which the Academy may be liable.
25.2 It is advised that the Academy seek professional guidance regarding all insurance matters.