Thailand FA hosts FIFA Women’s Club Licensing Workshop
A workshop on club licensing was held in May for clubs in the first- and second-women’s leagues
The Football Association of Thailand (FAT) is working closely with FIFA’s Women’s Football Division to develop women's football
The country is currently implementing six of FIFA’s eight women’s development programmes
The fact that women's football has experienced a strong boom in recent years is evident from new attendance records and well-filled stadiums around the globe. Worldwide popularity continues to grow enormously, and this is also true in Southeast Asia. Recently we saw the Philippines and Vietnam, make history by qualifying for a FIFA Women's World Cup™ for the first time. A momentum to build on, following Thailand’s participation in 2015 and 2019 who are aiming for qualification to the 2023 edition. For the past year, the Football Association of Thailand (FAT) has been working closely with the Women's Football Division at FIFA to regulate women's club licensing at national level for the top women's football competitions. For this reason, the FAT held a workshop in Bangkok attended by clubs from the first and second divisions. "In Thailand we have had club licensing in men's football for many years now, and we are proud to be one of the first member associations (MAs) in Asia to implement it in our women's national leagues. The women's club licensing workshop has been a key step to make the system a reality,” said FAT Vice President Sirima Phanichewa, underlining its importance.
On FIFA's recommendation, the FAT conducted a pilot project to test the criteria for their club licensing system. This pilot project allowed clubs to go through the system without the threat of sanctions for non-compliance. Globally, club licensing has been used as a development and monitoring tool for over two decades. As women's club football has continued to develop, competition organisers have begun to integrate club licensing procedures into their professional and amateur competition structures over the past five years. But what does it entail? Club licensing is a development and control tool that FIFA member associations can use to raise standards in the key strategic areas of football clubs. Traditionally, this includes (but is not limited to) the following areas: sporting, infrastructure, administration, legal and financial.
The system uses a set of criteria that clubs must meet to receive a license and be permitted to participate in a specific club competition, assuming the club qualifies based on sporting merit. MAs act as licensors, determining the domestic competitions for which clubs will require a license in order to participate and establishing the minimum criteria that clubs must meet.
“Today is the day that we could mark a key milestone for women's football in Thailand, since we have both FIFA and AFC representatives to introduce the club licensing system to the stakeholders in women’s football game as well as to encourage them to keep developing their clubs by the implementation of the club licensing,” says General Secretary Patit Suphaphongs.
"I truly believe that club licensing will drive and create the professionalism for women's football in many ways both on and off the pitch and will take our women’s football game to another level.”
In addition to club licensing, the Football Association of Thailand has actively participated in FIFA’s Coach Education Scholarships, League Development, Women's Football Strategy, Women's Football Campaign and Capacity Building for Administrators.
Thailand are a shining example of how a member association can collaborate with FIFA, under the banner of the Women’s Development Programme to access tailored expertise and support to develop women’s football.
FAT’s efforts off the pitch are bearing fruit on the pitch, which was evident at the end of May when Thailand reached the final of the Southeast Asian Games. In the group stage, the Thai women defeated Singapore 3-0; Laos 5-0 and drew 1-1- with Myanmar. The final against Vietnam, which Thailand lost 1-0, was watched by around 16,000 spectators. Another highlight for women's football in Asia.
"At the first ever in person workshop for club licensing in women's football in Thailand, we congratulated the clubs for joining us in the journey to set up and implement club licensing in our competitions. It has been a long journey to get to where we are today, but we believe it has allowed us to create the correct club licensing system for our clubs in Thailand," said Natcha Tarateerasarn, FAT Women’s Club Licensing Manager
Additionally to the workshop, FIFA and AFC visited the Chonburi FC Women from first division and the Chonburi Sports School who is in the second division to get to know two of the clubs oft he Thai women’s leagues.
"Receiving a visit at Chonburi FC Women from FIFA, AFC, and FAT was a great opportunity for us to show our stadium and training fields. We were also happy to host the representatives during a friendly match so that they can witness the quality of our first team football players,” said Chonburi FC President Thanasak Suraprasert. "Going forward we want to keep learning from the club licensing system and use it as a guide for the development of our club."