Club Licensing Backgrounder

Canada Soccer Club Licensing Program Backgrounder

International mandate

An international football club licensing program was drafted by FIFA in 2006 at the 56th FIFA Congress. The resulting FIFA Club Licensing Regulations were to be transformed into Confederation regulations and onto national club licence regulations to be administered by FIFA Member Associations.

Confederation collaboration

With a FIFA mandate to have a system in place by 2016, Concacaf started work on its own Club Licensing program in 2013. Subsequently, the Concacaf Club Licensing program was created to support the development of domestic leagues and clubs qualifying into the Concacaf League and the Concacaf Champions League by setting minimum standards in key areas.

Canada Soccer Club Licensing Program

In 2017, Canada Soccer’s five professional clubs, Toronto FC, Montréal Impact FC, Vancouver Whitecaps FC, Ottawa Fury FC, and FC Edmonton were all granted a Professional Club Licence by Canada Soccer. With their licence, denoting that they fulfilled all the criteria required by Concacaf, all five were registered as eligible clubs for Confederation competition (Concacaf Champions League) leading to international competition (i.e. FIFA Club World Cup) for a period of two years. 

Amateur club expansion

Canada Soccer undertook the development of a whole of football club licensing system in 2016.

The process included adopting best practices put in place by its Provincial and Territorial Association membership, building on the systems of Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, New Brunswick, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. As well, by consulting with international programs and multi-sport partners, Canada Soccer ensured that development, safety, and appraisal metrics and measures were integral components to the program.

Made-in-Canada solution

The resulting Canada Soccer Club Licensing program will expand the National Club Licence program to include amateur organziations. The program will encourage clubs to set standards and add accountability to their mandates to provide welcoming, safe, developmentally appropriate environments for players at clubs committed to technical excellence. The program will also ensure inclusion for all standards-based clubs with the Standards for Quality Soccer program Canada Soccer resulting in a five-tiered made-in-Canada licensing program.