The Hackney Marshes Saturday Youth Football League is a Hackney Council initiative that was initiated in 2014. Based at the centralised venues of the iconic home of grassroots football Hackney Marshes and Mabley Green, the League has grown from 29 teams spread across 5 Divisions, to 156 teams who transcend 18 Divisions.
England Football League Accreditation sets an operational benchmark for FA sanctioned leagues. This is awarded to leagues which can demonstrate their commitment to provide well organised football in safer, more inclusive environments. The league and London County FA worked in partnership across two seasons, and throughout each lockdown, to ensure over 60% of the league’s teams held FA Charter Standard accreditation, with the rest to continue under the England Football Accreditation framework in the seasons to come, continuing the League and London FA’s partnership in supporting clubs with the accreditation process.
Nathan Batchelor, National Grassroots Leagues Services Manager said,” The League should be extremely proud to be recognised for being the best place to play and enjoy football. The league development plan demonstrates a clear commitment to raising standards throughout grassroots football, ensuring it is well organised, well managed and providing a positive experience for all players, coaches, referees and volunteers".
Michael Cole, the Football Development Officer for Hackney who is responsible for the initiation of the League in 2014, suggests that the marked success of the League is due to the collective buy-in from all of the League’s member clubs with the focus on continued development. "For the League and its members to have arrived at this position after 7 years of progressive hard work, creativity, collaborative partnership work and the support of The London FA is immensely rewarding. However, for the League, there will always be a huge focus on the development of the important aspects that support the grassroots game such as coaching, mentoring, officiating and administration".
Paul Bickerton, CEO of London FA said: “Many congratulations to HMSYFL for being awarded the Charter Standard accreditation. This accreditation is the best way for leagues to demonstrate that they provide the highest quality experience for their players and is a testament to the hard work of all those involved. At a time when we are missing grassroots football more than ever, it is inspiring to see how proactive HMSYFL have been to ensure that football in London continues to thrive and grow.”
Over the last 3 years the implementation of a number of initiatives such as the Hackney Marshes Referees Academy, Kick it Out Campaigns, Coach CPD events in collaboration with Tottenham Hotspurs FC Academy, funding workshops, and a number of FA Level 1 courses have demonstrated and defined the League’s commitment to football development which have aligned with achieving the award. The League and its members have the undoubted desire to want to progress and not standstill. This will mean turning their attention towards their 3-year strategic plan whereby there will be more League development programmes in the pipeline that will come to fruition. On the pitch, we will see the introduction of more female-only Divisions plus football performance opportunities and experiences that are associated with the professional game for both players and coaches. Off the pitch, the League in partnership with London FA are excited to be launching the Hackney Marshes Female Referees Academy in September (click here for info and how to apply!). The League will also be introducing a Referees and Coaches Mentoring Scheme and will continue to embrace all the technological features at its disposal via the Whole Game System and the FA Full Time. This provides the league with the platform to offer its members a forward-thinking contemporary approach to grassroots football administration. These years of dedication and progress have seen the league awarded with the prestigious London FA Grassroots League of the Year Award for the 2020/21 season (see News).
To find out more about becoming an England Football Accredited League, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
(Please note: The Accreditation process is currently closed for clubs, expected to reopen around November time. Find out more here).
For more information on the Hackney Marshes Saturday Youth Football League contact Michael Cole at email@example.com