The Combined Counties League have become the first adult league within Surrey to be awarded Charter Standard Status.
The league has a rich history having been founded in 1922, since growing to include 38 teams over two divisions, the Premier Division and Division One.
The league's present title was not adopted until 1979. The first champions in 1922-23 were Egham, with Carshalton Athletic as runners-up.
In 2019, the restructuring of the National League System reached Step 5 & 6. The expansion allowed existing leagues to bid for new divisions close to their existing areas. Following a successful bid the Combined Counties League were awarded a new step 5 division covering the area to the west & north-west of London. The plan was to implement the new divisions for the start of the 2020-21 season.
At the conclusion of the 2018-19 season Chertsey Town became the first Combined Counties League Club to win the FA Vase. In an exciting final at Wembley Stadium, Chertsey beat Southern Counties East League side Cray Valley (PM) 3-1 AET.
The FA Charter Standard League is an accreditation that sets an operational benchmark for FA sanctioned leagues. Since 2009 this is awarded to leagues which can demonstrate their commitment to provide well organised football in safer, more inclusive environments.
Commenting on the success, the League’s Charter Standard and Respect Coordinator Debbie Ford said, ‘I am very pleased to have received Charter Standard for CCL, when I joined the League, I was asked to be Charter Standard coordinator. At first, I was not sure of what was needed for this role but I read everything I could find and met with Emma Barnes from Surrey FA who made it very easy to understand.
I could not have fully completed this application without the help from the board of the CCL and especially Martin Etheridge, who helped with the final written parts of the application.’
The FA Charter Standard Programme is The FA’s accreditation scheme open to all grassroots clubs and leagues. It aims to raise standards in the grassroots game, supporting the development of clubs and leagues, recognising and rewarding commitment, quality and achievement.
To find out more about how to gain Charter Standard for your club or league, find out more here or contact Mike.Gilham@surreyfa.com.