Between March and September 2021, the Football Association of Wales commissioned an independent organisational review entitled ‘A Sustainable Association for the Future.’
The report setting out the findings were put in front of the FAW Shareholders this week for their consideration and all 80 recommendations suggested in the report were passed without exception. The FAW Board subsequently ratified the decision of the FAW Shareholders.
The decisions of the Shareholders and Board is incredibly important as the governance changes that will now take place will be essential to the delivery of Our Wales – The FAW’s 2021-2026 Strategic Plan for Welsh Football.
Dr Carol Bell, who chaired the ‘A Sustainable Association for the Future’ Steering Group, said: “The FAW needs an organisational structure that is ‘fit for purpose’, takes its responsibilities for leading the game seriously and one that has the right governance framework in situ underpinned by robust structures, policies, procedures, systems and processes.
“We will not achieve this overnight, but it is critical that we begin the journey together to modernise and transform every aspect of our association to comply with the current policies of FIFA, UEFA, Welsh Government and Sport Wales.”
The FAW will align itself and its stakeholders behind six guiding principles:
- Good governance – the FAW will adhere to the UEFA 10 Principles of Good Governance. It is recognised that one of the key components of culture change is the development of a responsible attitude to governance.
- Stakeholder engagement – the FAW will listen to all recognised stakeholders and use these opinions to inform decision-making. This includes regular staff forums.
- Staff training & development – the FAW will recognise its people as assets and, as such, invest in their personal development which will form part of their regular Personal Development Plan (“PDP”) review meetings.
- Performance management – the FAW will become a high-performing organisation, not just ON the pitch, but off it too. This will include the establishment of a formal appraisal process aligned to regular succession planning reviews
- Insight-led – the FAW will invest in the conversion of data into actionable insights to support strategy and policy development.
- Effective reporting and communication – the FAW will embed a process into the organisation designed to significantly improve the quality and regularity of communication.
The 80 recommendations passed by the Shareholders and ratified by the Board have provided a blueprint for change.
These changes will deliver:
- One FAW: one team, focusing on one strategic plan, with one set of objectives and KPIs.
- Clear roles and responsibilities for both the FAW and the FAW Trust, with the former focusing on the core processes of performance, participation, commercial growth, governance and regulation whilst the latter will be clearly repositioned as the FAW’s partner for supporting and financing targeted participation & accessibility strategies, equality, diversity & inclusion strategies and sustainability & social responsibility strategies (including health, education and community development) thus enriching greatly the work of the central FAW team.
- A greater emphasis on grassroots football with two new FAW grassroots hubs, based at Colliers Park, Wrexham and Dragon Park, Newport supporting the work of the six Area Associations, focusing specifically on club development services and the long-term sustainability of local community football.
- Alignment of the six Area Associations behind the FAW strategic plan with nationally agreed objectives, KPIs and progress reports to ensure the FAW can track its strategic performance.
- An FAW owned and operated portfolio of football development facilities and a clear strategy to improve the quantity and quality of pitches across Wales.
- Visible change in equality, diversity and inclusion through a review of both the FAW membership criteria and the representation of all relevant stakeholder groups within Welsh football.
- An overhaul of the FAW’s executive structures, systems and processes with an emphasis on people, data, technology and insight as key enablers for change.
- The establishment of a new para-football organisation in Wales, affiliated to the FAW and committed to the development of football for all players with a disability or special needs.
- The creation of a sustainability strategy with tangible outcomes, owned at a senior level and supported by the Board, fully aligned with the Welsh Government’s Wellbeing of Future Generations (Wales) 2015 Act.
- A commitment to delivering gender parity in all Welsh football legislative bodies at national and Area level.
- An emphasis on collaboration with new partnerships being launched including the creation of a Welsh Football Coalition, involving the FAW, FAW Trust, Welsh Government and Sport Wales plus the establishment of a stronger bond with the higher and further education sectors within Wales.
Noel Mooney, Chief Executive of the FAW said: “The FAW is at the start of an exciting journey that will see us become a thought leader in world football. To achieve this, we need to have all of our objectives, structures, processes & governance aligned. The approval by Shareholders & Board of these recommendations empower us to reach our full potential.”
Steve Williams, FAW President added: “Together Stronger means all of Welsh football. We have now agreed the fundamental re-structuring and modernisation required. Following the decisions taken this week, we can now move forward in implementing these changes. I’m excited to move the association forward into the future with the knowledge that we will be in the best shape possible for promoting, developing and leading the game of football in Wales.”