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BFA to get tough with unlicensed coaches

Policy officially introduced: BFA president Mark Wade

The Bermuda Football Association’s decision to sanction clubs who do not have qualified coaches at the senior level is drawing mixed reactions in the game.

This summer the BFA offered two Intro to Coaching courses to enable club coaches to meet the licensing standards for the new season. Recently the BFA revealed plans to sanction clubs in the form of fines and/or deduction of points for clubs who are non-compliant, giving them until August 31 to have senior coaches who have the required “B” licence.

Yesterday, it emerged that the BFA had delayed such sanctions until after the Congress meeting next week, with president Mark Wade revealing in a letter to club presidents, dated September 20, that the “response to the coach licensing policy has been very disappointing given the year-long window provided”.

In the letter, Wade also wrote: “The large number of coaches who have not completed the necessary courses and/or application process is also troubling. Thankfully, there has been a flurry of activity, with clubs and coaches working to meet all of the requirements, albeit after the August 31 deadline.”

Yesterday, one coach accused the BFA of double standards, saying that even some National Academy coaches are not sufficiently qualified. “The BFA created this licensing policy over two years ago and said it was coming into effect, but they themselves are not compliant with coaching at the national programme,” the coach stated.

“They have coaches in the National Academy who do not have the required ‘B’ licence. The question is how can you enforce it on the clubs when the BFA themselves are not in compliance with the National Academy coaches having the required licence level. What type of sanction is being placed on those coaches in the BFA programme who are not compliant?

“A lot of club coaches are being sanctioned, not because they haven’t done the coaching course but because they failed to complete the process, which is an application form to the BFA, attaching their credentials in terms of coaching education. Some may have been delinquent in those areas.”

Wade did not return a call yesterday, but it is understood the BFA plans to follow through with sanctions of senior teams, fining clubs and coaches at the youth level where coaches are required to have a “D” licence to coach from under-seven to under-11 levels.

“At the monthly Executive Council meeting on September 19, 2018, the Executive Council voted to delay administering match forfeitures until after the annual Congress meeting of September 27,” Wade told the presidents. “We hope to address the failure of clubs to meet the August 31 deadline and hopefully get an explanation of why there was difficulty in completing the necessary steps in the year the policy officially was introduced.”

Richard Todd, the president of the Bermuda Football Coaches Association, wonders if the penalties against the clubs will be sufficient deterrent. “It is important for us to enforce the policies and regulations,” he said.

“They have been put into place to ensure that clubs meet the standards with regards to preparation of our players. I am uncertain whether the financial penalties that are in place are severe enough deterrent to discourage clubs from being non-compliant.

“With regards to the deduction of points, I have to wonder if they have the mettle to follow through with enforcement. From my standpoint and opinion, the monetary fines should be greater and on a per-match basis; that is an incentive to the clubs that would rather invest in a coach getting his licence.”

Todd added: “With regards to the mentoring programme that they have put in place for the ‘B’ licence coaches and senior teams, this needs to be a short-term fix — no more than a period of two years — because we have 12 candidates currently enrolled in the ‘B’ licence and will look to compete it in October.

“We have 40 candidates doing the ‘C’ [licence], with a large number of candidates who have been identified as strong potential to move on to the ‘B’ licence. There are some coaches at the senior level who don’t even have a ‘C’ licence.

“Ultimately, we want to ensure that ‘B’ licence coaches who have invested time and financial resources into obtaining their licence levels are not being overlooked or shut out in preference to coaches who are not qualified.”