Charter Standard

Charter Standard

How to join the FA Charter Standard Programme

Launched in 2001, The FA Charter Standard Programme supported by McDonald’s is The FA’s accreditation scheme for grassroots clubs and leagues.

Its goal is to raise standards in grassroots football, support the development of clubs and leagues, recognising and rewarding them for their commitment and achievements.

With this in mind, The FA Charter Standard accreditation is awarded to clubs and leagues rigorously adjudged to be well-run and sustainable – and which prioritise child protection, quality coaching and implementation of the Respect programme.

There are three levels of FA Charter Standard Awards for clubs:

  • FA Charter Standard Club for youth and adult clubs: the entry-level accreditation
  • FA Charter Standard Development Club: for clubs clearly enhancing the quality and scope of their football offering
  • FA Charter Standard Community Club: acknowledging the most advanced level of club development and football provision.

For clubs who have FA Charter Standard accreditation, the challenge is to progress to the next level or to maintain that level. For clubs without FA Charter Standard status, the scheme provides aspirational points on its development journey.

There is only one accreditation level for leagues: FA Charter Standard League.

The FA Charter Standard League is an accreditation that sets an operational benchmark for FA sanctioned leagues; it was launched in 2009 in partnership with McDonald’s.

For more information, please see the Frequently Asked Questions section below:

Get In Touch

Nick Birchall

Football Development Officer (Education)

Area contact for: Preston, Fylde, Wyre, Blackpool

01772 282757

Who can help with my query?

Any club can apply for FA CS status, even a one-team club – provided the club is affiliated to Lancashire FA.

The criteria are challenging, but attainable for every club.

Once awarded, FA Charter Standard clubs are given an annual ‘health check’ to ensure the standards of provision are being maintained.

For more information please click here and download the Criteria document under Useful Resources, ensuring you get support from Lancashire FA to complete this process.

FA Charter Standard Criteria can be found in the latest FA Charter Standard Criteria document. Please click here and scroll down to the bottom of the page under Useful Resources to download it.

At entry level criteria covers four areas and expects an annual commitment to the programme, which is checked via an Annual Health Check process each season. The four areas are:

  • Administration & Operations
  • Constitution & Policies
  • Checks, Coaching & Qualifications
  • Links, Pathways & Development Plans

After achieving the entry level accreditation, clubs may have the ambition to apply for a higher level of accreditation within the FA Charter Standard programme.

With this comes an additional criterion highlighted within the criteria document.

Please seek support from Lancashire FA if you have such ambitions for your club as additional benefits are rewarded for reaching these levels of accreditation. 

To apply, clubs must complete an application form and return it to Lancashire FA with the requested supporting evidence.

Please download the application form from the document list above.

Feedback will be obtained from the leagues that your club plays in, to ensure that your club displays the high levels expected of an FA Charter Standard Club.

The FA Charter Standard Working Party will provide feedback on each application, which will include an action plan and a recommendation.

If your club meets the criteria, we will forward your application to The FA for awarding. If your club does not meet the criteria, we will provide you with an action plan and advice.

The accreditation lasts for one season and will be renewed each year as part of the club re-affiliation process.

The accreditation awards can be withdrawn if a club has a poor disciplinary record or is unable to continue to meet the criteria.

The benefits are many and varied. Some are tangible and some intangible, but no less valuable.

Tangible benefits:

  • Free tickets (upon application) for England youth and women’s internationals (tickets promoted via County FAs when fixtures are released)
  • Invitations to local In-Service & CPD events organised by your local CFA
  • Access to administrative support sessions organised by your local CFA
  • Support with funding applications via your CFA

New FA Charter Standard clubs also receive:

  • An official FA plaque and certificate
  • Resources to help promote the club
  • £100 worth of official FA Nike matchballs (FA Charter Standard Youth and Adult Clubs)
  • £150 worth of official FA Nike matchballs (FA Charter Standard Development Clubs)
  • £200 worth of official FA Nike matchballs (FA Charter Standard Community Clubs)
  • Opportunity to become Nike Partner Club (FA Charter Standard Development and Community Clubs)

Intangible benefits:

Overall, FA Charter Standard status is a clear demonstration to all parents, sponsors and the public, that a club (or league):

  • Is well-organised, safe and offers opportunities for all
  • Has FA-qualified coaches as standard
  • Adheres to FA Respect Policies and Codes of Conduct
  • Prioritises child welfare
  • Maintains appropriate levels of discipline
  • Has access to the County FA and FA regional workforces
  • Can use the coveted FA ‘Three Lions’ FA crest on its marketing and business materials

Annual Health Check 2018-19 Benefits

FA affiliated Charter Standard clubs receive a certificate and the following footballs if they are successfully awarded in submitting their 2017/18 Annual Health Check:

  • FA Charter Standard Community Clubs – 12 Nike Footballs
  • FA Charter Standard Development Clubs – 8 Footballs
  • FA Charter Standard Youth Clubs – 5 Footballs
  • FA Charter Standard Adult Clubs – 5 Footballs

Leagues interested in attaining the FA Charter Standard status should register their interest by completing the FA Charter Standard League registration form and sending it to John Treacy, our Football Development Officer leading on Leagues, at

Once a league has registered, John Treacy or another member of Lancashire FA staff will contact the league to confirm how to access the resources and incentives for the programme and to arrange a meeting or invite the league to a workshop with other leagues.

The second step is to audit and assess the league against the FA Charter Standard criteria, then work with us on an action plan to achieving the criteria.

Once this criteria is achieved, we will approve FA Charter Standard status and organise the official plaque and other benefits.

We will then work with the league on continuous development and the health check.

The base criteria for a league wanting to achieve The FA Charter Standard League award are:

  • Evidence of how the league plans to retain/grow the number of male, female and disability teams (mini-soccer, small sided and 11v11) as appropriate
  • At least 60% of teams in the league have Charter Standard Club status, working towards 100% within two seasons
  • The league has an equality policy and complaints procedure that adheres to The FA equality policy and complaints procedure template
  • The league has a safeguarding children policy and procedures that adheres to FA requirements (youth leagues only)
  • The Youth League Welfare Officer and Charter Standard League Co-ordinator sit on the league committee
  • The league has a web-based administration system for results, tables and fixtures. FULL-TIME is recommended for this purpose but it isn’t mandatory
  • The league has a development plan that identifies key development objectives and targets linked to the National Game Strategy key goals and enablers
  • As part of the benefits each Charter Standard League is eligible for two tickets to The FA Community Shield courtesy of McDonald's.

FA Charter Standard League primarily offers leagues a process to raise standards within leagues and a practical means to deliver initiatives in line with the needs of member clubs. The base criteria ensures that clubs within these leagues are consistent in delivering Respect, have a minimum Level 1 qualified coach with every team (Mini Soccer and youth football only), and have a qualified first aider. However, for most leagues, this is just the foundation on which they then build significant positive change and initiatives through the implementation of a league development plan.

The league development plan should be a clear set of actions that will make a practical difference to the operation of the league and the progress of the clubs/teams and players within it.

If you are looking to clarify your league's purpose, raise standards in your league and use the huge influence of your league to affect change at grassroots level - then FA Charter Standard League is for you.

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