Jersey FA UEFA Bid

After years in the planning, on the 9 December 2015, the Jersey Football Association (JFA) submitted an application to join the Union of European Football Associations, otherwise known as UEFA. Over recent months, the application has been met with a number of questions, both from the Media and the Public. This webpage has been constructed to help increase understanding and public awareness of the situation.

Why Choose UEFA?

The Jersey FA is the governing body of football in Jersey. Its mission statement is; “ To efficiently govern and develop the local game, regardless of age, ability, sex, sexual orientation, race, religion and socioeconomic status.” Its aim is to protect the future of Jersey’s football making it available to all.

The decision to apply for UEFA membership was not taken lightly. Jersey first looked at this route back in 2001, but the opportunity was never pursued and, since then,  UEFA’s membership criteria has tightened.

If the JFA are successful in its application to join UEFA, there are many benefits that would arise.

1.    Meaningful Representative Fixture Programme

In recent years, the Jersey FA has found it challenging to put together a regular, competitive games programme for its Representative teams. First and foremost, cost is an issue. Most teams who come here to play expect the JFA to contribute towards their expenses and a normal contribution, per game, would be around £2000. Away fixtures are, obviously, even more expensive and can easily reach £7000/8000k for the playing squad and management team, when travelling for games in the UK.

Another problem is finding dates that are acceptable both to our sides and the opposition. In recent years, the JFA has developed strong contacts with a number of professional and semi-professional clubs, and these relationships are providing good opportunities for games. However, more often than not, these clubs want to play in their pre-season – July or August – which tends to be a bit early for our players and, in any case, that’s an expensive time to come to Jersey. Nonetheless, we are making progress on this front and, gradually, the quality and regularity of games will improve.

If the JFA were to obtain UEFA status, it would immediately have access to a meaningful games programme, both for our Men’s and Women’s teams, at several different age levels, with all costs being covered by UEFA. In short, the Jersey Representative sides would be able to compete in the following tournaments; Men -UEFA Senior, U21, U19 and U17 Championships; Women – UEFA Senior, U19 and U17 Championships and, of course, for both Men and Women, friendlies against other UEFA members.

In addition to the Representative teams, the Champions and Runners-Up of the  Jersey Football Combination would have automatic entry to the qualifying rounds of the group stages of the Champions League and Europa Cup, respectively, bringing in revenue that is much needed to sustain and develop local clubs.

2.    Increased Funding for Jersey Football

Obtaining UEFA status would be enormously beneficial financially for Jersey football, because not only would the Association itself receive an increase in funding, but local clubs would be eligible to apply for UEFA grants and development funds. Funding would also be available for the development of coaches and referees through different UEFA programmes. Furthermore, the higher profile games would be likely to attract more sponsors to football, whilst the Island’s leisure sector would almost certainly benefit from increased visitors, mostly in the winter months.

3.    Raising Standards

Obtaining UEFA status would undoubtedly stimulate and incentivise local football. As JFA UEFA delegate Mr. David Brookland explained; “UEFA would provide a summit to Jersey football without dismantling its current league structure, something that the JFA are very proud of.”  By obtaining UEFA status, prospective players would be more inclined to take up the sport with the incentive of playing in UEFA tournaments with their clubs, and the possibility of qualifying for UEFA international tournaments, if selected by one of the Representative teams.

The Jersey FA believe that membership of UEFA would;

  • Improve participation by providing a pathway for players right through to international competition.
  • Provide a meaningful representative fixture programme for different age groups.
  • Improve coaching standards
  • Increase participation amongst match officials
  • Increase volunteer & spectator interest
  • Increase revenue from commercial sponsorship
  • Increase revenue for the Island’s tourism sector.
  • Provide job creation
  • Allow the league and clubs to maintain their current structure
  • Increase media coverage and promotional activities across Jersey football
  • Provide a sporting and cultural focal point for the supporters of Jersey.
  • Provide a sustainable long term future for Jersey Football

The JFA sees UEFA as the best option for the sustainable future for all football on the island.

Phil Austin Jersey FA President commented; “The JFA believes the decision to apply for UEFA membership is the right move for Jersey football. The application is proving challenging and progress may not be quick but, nonetheless, we are of the view that the rewards are worth fighting for.”

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