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.
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.
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.
Canada Soccer outlines return to soccer guidelines. The return to soccer guidelines provide member organizations with a five-step process, including a checklist of weighted questions known as the Return to Soccer Assessment Tool.