For the second year running, we are pleased to announce free affiliation and County Cup entry to all Surrey affiliated clubs for the upcoming 2021-22 season.
Thanks in part to support from The FA, free affiliation is to be offered to all clubs in the County at the end of a difficult twelve months for grassroots football. In recognition of the financial challenges which Surrey clubs continue to face, the Surrey FA Board have decided to go a step further by also offering free County Cup entry to Surrey clubs.*
Our wider package of support for clubs extends to insurance, with a 23% discount on offer for those who choose Sportsguard cover.
Football matches cannot take place without match officials, and we are recognising their importance by extending our support package this year to assist these individuals. As a result, referee registration will be free for the 2021/22 season. This decision has been made in light of the limited fixtures available to many over the last twelve months and forms part of our most comprehensive referee recruitment and development plan ever, ahead of the new season.
Surrey FA CEO, Sally Lockyer commented, “We are delighted to offer our clubs free affiliation and County Cup entry as well as free registration to our match officials, as we continue to support our football community who have faced significant challenges over the past twelve months as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
We felt it extremely important as a governing body to do all that we were reasonably able to, in order to ease financial pressures and help clubs bounce back from the pandemic. This is a significant investment on behalf of SFA and is the latest in the wide range of support delivered by my team alongside over £1.3m of COVID funding secured by Surrey clubs since March 2020. I would personally like to take the opportunity to thank everyone involved in Surrey football for your dedication, patience and positivity over the past year.”
Surrey FA Chair, Les Pharo added, “This past year has been an incredibly difficult time for everyone, without exception. The world of sport has not been immune to effects of the pandemic, and grassroots football has been hit particularly hard by the stop and start nature of lockdown restrictions as society has been opened up and then closed.
Despite this uncertainty, I have been blown away by the remarkable spirit demonstrated across the game in the County. Despite financial hardship affecting many, we have seen the strength of the grassroots community like never before. There have been inspirational contributions and stories shared from across the County. As a Board, we felt that we should be doing all within our power to support clubs and individuals who may be facing hardship in this challenging period. The individual savings we are offering for this season represent a major investment into football as a whole across the County and I sincerely hope they will help to ease the burden. I have no doubt that grassroots football will come back stronger from the adversities which have been faced.”
We would also like to take this opportunity to thank our leagues for their co-operation and collaboration in working with us to ensure the safe return of grassroots football in Surrey. The support which these volunteer-run leagues have shown to their clubs has been crucial.
While football took an unwelcome pause, we continued to offer support to clubs, leagues, coaches, players, referees and volunteers through a series of webinars including sessions on how to keep players connected during lockdown and how to plan during times of uncertainty.
We have also hosted sessions with our commercial partners, with themes including how to market clubs, with our girls’ football sponsor Hyped Marketing, and a series of online sessions for coaches through Sporting Connect.
A huge positive of the past year have been the number of funding opportunities made available through a range of grants via organisations such as the Football Foundation, Sport England, the FA and Premier League as well as SFA’s funding including the Football Fix-Up project. This saw clubs gain funding to spruce up their facilities in summer 2020. More recently, 46 Charter Standard clubs achieved a share of £10,000 of funding through our Charter Standard Booster Pack.
The period without on-pitch activity has also allowed us to innovate, and in January, we became the first County FA to venture into the world of e-Sports, as we launched the first-ever e-County Cup. 56 of our clubs have been represented during the tournament so far, ahead of a live-streamed finals day at Meadowbank Football Ground on 23rd May. Our video content partner, Capital Content will be making this possible on the day.
Finally, in March 2021 as part of the wider return of football, we ran a series of online sessions for the Surrey football community to help them prepare in the week leading up to the easing of Government restrictions which permitted the restart of grassroots.
To catch up on any of our webinar content from the past year please head to our Technical Area Events Page or our YouTube channel. You can also keep up to date with the latest news and information from football in the County by signing up to the Surrey FA e-zine.
*Please note, there will be a secondary affiliation fee for all non-Surrey FA affiliated clubs competing in Surrey FA competitions.