As part of the Irish FA’s continuing implementation of Club Licensing policies, the Licensing Committee met on Monday 25 April 2016 to consider applications for the award of UEFA, Premiership, Promotion and Championship Licenses for season 2016/17.
In line with the current UEFA, Premiership, Promotion and Championship Licensing Manuals, applicant clubs were assessed in five key areas, namely: Sporting, Infrastructure/Safety, Personnel & Administration, Legal and Financial.
Based on these entirely objective criteria licences were granted / refused to the following clubs:
UEFA CLUB LICENCES GRANTED:
Ballinamallard United FC (Shamrock Park, Portadown)
Ballymena United FC (Seaview, Belfast)
PREMIERSHIP LICENSES GRANTED:
Ballinamallard United FC
Ballymena United FC
Carrick Rangers FC
Dungannon Swifts FC
Warrenpoint Town FC
PROMOTION LICENCES GRANTED:
Ballyclare Comrades FC
Larne FC (Dixon Park, Ballyclare)
PROMOTION LICENCES REFUSED:
Lurgan Celtic FC
CHAMPIONSHIP CLUB LICENSES GRANTED:
Annagh United FC
Ards FC (Bangor Fuels Arena, Bangor)
Armagh City FC
Ballyclare Comrades FC
Donegal Celtic FC
H&W Welders FC
Lisburn Distillery FC
Lurgan Celtic FC
Sport & Leisure Swifts FC
CHAMPIONSHIP CLUB LICENCES REFUSED:
Banbridge Town FC
Limavady United FC
Communication of these decisions has already been made to the clubs concerned.
Clubs who have been refused a licence have the right of appeal, in line with 3.2.7. of the Club Licensing manual(s) with any such appeals tentatively scheduled for 9 May 2016.
Club Licences are valid for one season only, namely 2016/17.
As part of its Promotion Licence application, Larne FC has nominated Dixon Park, Ballyclare as its alternative ‘home’ stadium as under the terms of its current General Safety Certificate, Inver Park does not meet the minimum capacity requirement to host Premiership football. The club has indicated that it intends to further engage with Mid & East Antrim Borough Council to secure a revised General Safety Certificate to enable home Premiership fixtures to be played at Inver Park should the club sportingly qualify.
The Committee unanimously agreed that Glentoran FC should be sanctioned for failure to have club representatives attend the session in respect of UEFA stipulated criterion S.08, Refereeing Matters and Laws of the Game. Whilst this is a ‘B’ criterion which does not result in licence refusal, the club was issued with a written warning in respect of non-attendance at the same session in last year’s licensing cycle. As a result £250 will be withheld from the financial award made to Glentoran FC for successfully attaining a licence.
The Committee wishes to congratulate those clubs who have been granted a Club Licence and acknowledge the efforts of many key personnel at each club for the time and contributions they have made towards the successful application.
Licensing Committee Chairman, Allen McKinstry commented: “It has been a landmark year in the continuing development of the Club Licensing process with the introduction of mandatory licensing for those clubs seeking to participate in the new ‘Senior’ Championship. The record number of licences awarded is testament to the hard work of applicant clubs across the country and also supports the position that the licensing standards in place have been both reasonable and achievable.
However, with the new NIFL league structure due to take effect from next season, one of the considerations moving forward for the Licensing Committee is to look at how to gradually narrow the gap in terms of licensing requirements between both senior divisions to ensure that clubs are more prepared should they sportingly make the step up to the Premiership.”
IFA Licensing and Facilities Manager, Leigh Sillery added: “It is important to recognise the efforts of the many people working hard behind the scenes at our clubs to ensure that licensing applications are successful. This has been a challenging cycle with such a high volume of applications and many clubs undertaking the licensing process for the first time. It is therefore very satisfying to have so many clubs successfully achieve the required standards to be awarded a licence.”