Northants FA 'regrets' increase in affiliation fees as youth clubs raise serious concerns

The Weetabix Youth League believe youth teams are being 'targeted' following a rise in fees ahead of next season

By Jon Dunham
Friday, 7th May 2021, 11:23 am
Updated Friday, 7th May 2021, 11:24 am
The Northamptonshire Football Association's decision to raise affiliation fees for next season has cause a great deal of concern for youth clubs in the area

The Northamptonshire Football Association (NFA) say they “regret” having to increase affiliation fees for clubs ahead of the 2021-22 season.

A hike in fees for clubs, in particular youth teams, has sparked outrage from local leagues with the Weetabix Youth League, which serves the north Northamptonshire area, saying they feel that youth football “is being targeted” by the NFA.

An example of the rises, seen by the Northamptonshire Telegraph, from one anonymous club in the area suggests they are facing a “332 per cent increase” in their affiliation fees for next season even with the help of a grant from Sport England which has been given to all county FAs.

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And, should no grant be forthcoming, that same club is facing a “402 per cent increase” for the 2022-23 campaign.

The club in question revealed the cost for the 2019-20 season would have been £178 but that is now set to increase to £591.43 for next season and then £715.40 for the season after.

The NFA insist the affiliation increases have been made due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the fact that the Football Association has to save £300m over the next four years.

However, the increases have caused major concern for local clubs and leagues.

Weetabix Youth League chairman Gerald Hawthorn said: “These rises are as high as 400 per cent, some of our largest clubs such as Ise Lodge in Kettering are reporting added increases of £1,000 on top of the normal.

“With the Covid-19 pandemic affecting the finances of youth football clubs and due to the lockdown which meant no revenue was coming in for the vast amount of clubs and little chance of fundraising, it will be the parents having to cover the additional costs.

“For a single-parent family, this would be totally unjustified and it risks losing players at youth level as well as having a long-term effect on adult clubs.

“Eighty five per cent of adult players work so why haven’t the NFA increased their affiliations to cover the rest and they have over 1,500 players registered.

“As leagues and clubs, they could probably accept some sort of increase based on what’s happening.

“All this is no fault of youth football clubs. But it does feel that youth football is being targeted by the directors of the NFA with these increases.”

In response the NFA released a statement expressing their regret over the increase in fees.

“The reason for the affiliation increases is because of the Covid pandemic,” the statement said.

“The FA has to save £300m over 4 years and as a result every county FA has been impacted as they are seeing major reductions in funding from the FA.

“We regret that we have had to increase affiliation fees at this time.

“However, like many businesses we have had to adapt our financial model to survive.

“Because of the level of funding support the county has enjoyed for the last 15 years, the NFA has been able to subsidise the cost for people playing football at every level.

“The increase, while regrettable works out at approximately £5 per player, or approximately 10p per week.

“This has also been reduced for the forthcoming season by 20 per cent thanks to a special grant from Sport England given to all County FAs via the FA.”

The NFA have also posted a list of frequently asked questions and their responses to them on their website