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UEFA Congress set to Vote on Jersey FA Membership

Joe Smith
Jersey FA Chiefs are set to attend UEFA Congress in Bratislava on Monday the 26th February.

UEFA Congress to vote on Jersey FA UEFA memebership

After years in the planning, in December 2015 the Jersey Football Association (JFA) launched an application to join the Union of European Football Associations otherwise known as UEFA. On Monday the 26th of February 2018 UEFA Congress will vote on Jersey FA's application to join UEFA. Jersey FA will need 28 of the 55 members votes to become a member. Jersey Football Association President Phil Austin MBE and Chief Executive Officer Neville Davidson will travel to Bratislava ahead of the vote, where Phil Austin MBE is expected to make a short presentation to congress ahead of the vote.

Why Choose UEFA?

The Jersey FA is the governing body of football in Jersey. The mission statement;  “Is to efficiently govern and develop the local game, regardless of age, ability, sex, sexual orientation, race, religion and socioeconomic status.” The aim is to protect the future of Jersey’s football making it available to all.
The decision to apply to UEFA was not taken lightly. It has been years in the planning, Jersey first looked to apply in 2001 under president Charlie Tostevin but were told by UEFA not to apply as they would not be entitled to become a member.

If the Jersey FA are successful in an application to join UEFA, there are many benefits that would arise.

Meaningful Representative Fixture Programme 

In recent years the Jersey FA has struggled to find a meaningful fixture programme, for their senior Representative teams. This is can be explained for a number of reasons; the cost of travelling to the island often has increased putting visiting teams off, this cost is now often absorbed by the Jersey FA. On top of travel costs visiting teams have to consider the cost of on island transport and accommodation, which peaks in the summer months. 

Away fixtures are just as difficult to organise due to the cost of travelling off the island averaging £7-8k for a squad of 23. Fixtures often have to be planned around the UK clubs fixture schedules, resulting in mainly spring and summer fixtures. 

If the Jersey FA obtain UEFA status Jersey FA Representative teams, will have access to a meaningful games programme, at different age levels.  The Jersey FA will be able to compete in UEFA tournaments funded by UEFA development funds. These tournaments include; UEFA European U21, U19 and U17 Championship, UEFA Women’s Championship, U19 and U17, Men’s and Women’s European Championship Qualifiers and International Friendlies.

In addition to the Representative teams clubs who are successful in the Jersey Football Combination League will qualify for the qualifying rounds of the group stages of the Champions League and Europa Cup bringing in revenue that is much needed to sustain and develop local clubs.

Increased Revenue for Jersey 

Jersey FA is a limited non-profit organisation; funds that we receive will be pumped back into local football. Obtaining UEFA status would be financially beneficial for Jersey Football, not only would the Association receive an increase in funding, local clubs could be applicable for UEFA grants and development funds. In addition to new grants and development funds, we would also see an increase in commercial sponsorship, from the private sector, increased revenue for hoteliers and travel operators from visiting teams.

Raising Standards

Obtaining UEFA status would stimulate and incentivise local football. As Jersey FA 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 successful clubs and the possibility to qualify for UEFA international tournaments if selected by the Representative team.

The Jersey FA believe that membership of UEFA would;

• Improve participation through incentivising the Combination League and Representative teams increased prestige of competing UEFA competitions.
• 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 tourism.
• Job creation
• Allow the league and clubs to maintain their current status
• 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