Club Mark aiding development of female game
More clubs and leagues around the country are now catering for female players, which has led to significant growth in participation numbers as the appetite for women's football continues to grow.
The FAI Club Mark Programme has played a part in assisting clubs with this as 22 clubs have started a female section since registering, while another 18 have grown their number of females teams and volunteers.
Overall, there are 488 clubs registered with the Club Mark Programme, which helps to improve club structures both on and off the pitch by becoming more efficient at what they do. Clubs have increased their volunteer team, retained both playing and non-playing members, enhanced their facilities and been successful in applying for various grants and initiatives by proving that the governance and operating structures off the pitch are at a good standard.
The Club Mark Programme starts with an Entry Level Award before clubs can then progress on to the One Star Award. A new Two Star Award is currently being prepared to pilot with clubs before that will be rolled out nationwide.
The Programme aims to support clubs in every area and one of the main issues that clubs have been experiencing is setting up the right structures for female football. Galway Bohemians, based in Knocknacarra, County Galway, were one of those until they signed up for Club Mark and worked closely with FAI Development Officer Emer Flately.
Now, Galway Bohemians are thriving with more girls playing and more coaches getting involved to help out. And this kind of development is being replicated at clubs all around the country.
Barry McGann, FAI Club Development Programme Coordinator, said: "The FAI Club Mark Programme has provided a support network to Grassroots Clubs to help them implement best practice in the governance, management and administration of their club. One of the areas that has been noticeably affected by this is Women's and Girls' Football.
"Some clubs simply did not know where to start in creating the structures required to introduce girls' football but through the assistance of the Club Mark Programme and guidance of FAI Development Officers, they have made significant strides in this area.
"The development of football for women and girls is massively important to the Association, which is why it is a key pillar in the 2022-2025 Strategy. To see clubs all around the country embrace this area and use the Club Mark Programme to strengthen it is hugely encouraging for the future of Irish football."
For more information visit our Club Mark page