WESFA is the first league to achieve England Football Accreditation this season.
The league has been facilitating men's 11-a-side football since the early 2000s. The league currently has 84 male teams playing weekly. In 2019, the league set their sights on becoming England Football Accredited. However, COVID-19 caused a range of challenges for the league and their clubs. Jase Verrillo has served on the WESFA committee for many years and has overseen major change and development of the league. We caught up with WESFA Secretary Jase, his colleague Michael, the London FA and FA staff that made this possible.
Jase Verrillo, WESFA Secretary, said: ‘I must applaud the driving forces at WESFA, the volunteers that make such an exciting league an enjoyable experience each week for so many people around our community. However, it would be remiss of us as a league to detract from the importance of a supportive County FA, and in particular, Niamh Coyle and Amanda Lewis. Both have been steadfast in their belief that we were/are ready to make the next step and be recognised for the innovation deployed and governance displayed. Both are drivers, starter-finishers, who pay attention to detail, embrace new ideas and add real value to a conversation to empower volunteers to thrive. Real credit to the London FA, and by extension, The FA.’
Michael Kiely, WESFA Accreditation Lead, said: ‘We are very pleased at WESFA to get this over the line. The Football Accreditation highlights us a league who hold the highest standards. This project has been in the works for a few years but due to Covid and other restraints we were unable to follow it through. This season we were determined to finally see it through. This would not have been possible without the help of Amanda and Niamh at the London FA, as well as the co-operation of our clubs.’
Amanda Lewis, London FA Football Development Manager, said: ‘WESFA continue to lead the way with Respect, constantly striving to provide the best experience for all members. It's been a pleasure working alongside Jase and the league and great to see them rewarded with this recognition of their dedication to excellence. We look forward to supporting their future endeavours in providing a competition for all.’
Niamh Coyle, Football Development Officer, said: ‘WESFA are an extremely motivated and proactive league. Assisting the league and their clubs to become England Football Accredited has been a wonderful opportunity for league and County FA collaboration. We are very proud to award WESFA England Football Accreditation status.’
Paul Bickerton, London FA CEO, said ‘I would like to congratulate WESFA on reaching this milestone. The accreditation framework aims to recognise the clubs and leagues that help raise the bar for football in their local communities so this is a great achievement. It provides further evidence to their member clubs that they are playing in a competition that is run to the highest standards and this is only possible due to the enormous dedication of a small team of voluntary committee members.’
Nathan Batchelor, FA National Grassroots Leagues Services Manager, commented: ‘It is testament to the commitment and progressive attitude of the WESFA and in particular the hard-working league committee members and its member clubs that the league is able to attain England Football Accredited league status. The league delivery plan submitted was of a high standard and clearly demonstrated that the league and its member clubs are working together. What is clear is the league is demonstrating that they are constantly striving to improve, for players, coaches, referees and clubs. Keep up the good work’
The dedicated and experienced committee plan to continue supporting their clubs to achieve England Football Accreditation. We are delighted to be able to recognise and reward the league for all the hard work that has gone into improving and growing the traditional men's game to date and look forward to working together in the years to come.
The England Football Accredited League is an accreditation that 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.
To find out more about becoming an England Football Accredited League or Club, click here, or email Niamh.Coyle@LondonFA.com