SPORT: Amateur football clubs question NAFL over ‘extortionate’ fees 

By Edward Maxwell 

Local Amateur football clubs have raised concerns about the extortionate amount they are being charged in ‘fees’ and have queried where this money actually goes. 

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One club revealed on social media that they had been billed over £765 by the Northern Amateur Football League (NAFL) in fees. 

This charge was made up of a registration fee of £140 for a 1st team and £120 for a 2nd team. 

The club were further charged a fee of £5 for every player registered and transferred. 

It is understood these charges are applied to all clubs in the NAFL. Using a model of 4 leagues with 14 teams this would equate to an income of approximately £31,000 on registration fees alone. 

On top of these outrageous fees there are also hefty fines for disciplinary matters which include £5 per booking for a 1st team and £3 per booking for a 2nd team. These fees do not go directly to the NAFL. 

One Premier Division manager described the fines issued to small local clubs per booking as “extortionate” and “another IFA racket”. 

Each club is also charged between £25-£50 for entrance into cup competitions. 

Serious questions are also being raised as to where all this money goes and why local clubs- many of whom are folding under financial pressures- are being hit with extortionate fees by the NAFL for registration and signing players. 

The clubs then have to pay their own referee and pitch costs and one source has questioned where a minimum of £31,000 actually goes. 

He said “where does this money go? £5 per player registration. This is a racket and no wonder decent clubs are going to the wall. 

He continued “A couple of years ago the NAFL were rumoured to have over £100,000 in the bank. What for? Who is benefitting from this?” 

A number of those on the NAFL management committee also have prominent roles within the IFA, including the NAFL chairman Terry Pateman who was appointed IFA Deputy President in 2011. 

David Martin, who is in charge of the NAFL finances which are now being questioned, doubles up as the President of the IFA. 

Questions have been raised in the past about the stranglehold a number of key influencers such as Martin have on the local game. 

This long standing group of key influencers, known mockingly in football circles as the ‘NI football Mafia’ felt their close knit circle under threat from Howard Wells during his time as CEO of the Irish FA. 

As a result of this, and the threat it posed to their cushy junkets, David Martin (current IFA CEO) conspired to have Wells removed from post. This cack-handed intervention cost the IFA a substantial amount of money. 

Many clubs have also queried the numerous conflict of interests within the various committees and have said they are afraid to speak out due to the Stalinist nature of the local football bodies. 

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