Dear Coaches/Players/Parents,

Further to the release of the subscriptions for the 2016/17 season a significant minority of parents and coaches have asked where the money goes. To give you an idea the following is a list of the major expenditure the club has:

Rates to the Council
Ground costs
Ground maintenance
Building maintenance
Utility bills
Professional services
Training of coaches
Player training facilities
League fees
Player registration fees
FA affiliation fees
Maintenance of qualifications
Referee fees
Prize provision
So, whilst this list should not be seen as exhaustive, for an average minimum of 6 sessions (4 training sessions and 2 games) per month costing around £6 per week this is what we deliver to you. Uniquely we do not expect players to be charged for away games to ensure fairness and encourage inclusion. Some parents have asked why they are required to join the gocardless system. The simple answer is that it is a modern system of payment. It reduces the administrative burden on the volunteers in the club and going forward will enable to us to obtain tax efficiencies thay we are currently unable to tap into because of ineffectual individual team administration. It is transparent and fair to every player in the club. We are audited (stress tested) by the FA to ensure we are financially sound and at a glance this demonstrates that. Other parents have asked if we would do a reduced rate for siblings. We feel that it is fairer to set the base rate rather than charge more for one and less for another. It is administratively difficult to apply where siblings are in different subscription groups and discriminates against those who perhaps are not as well off as others. We have been asked to consider a discounted one off upfront payment. Again this discriminates between those that can afford to do so and those who cannot and so was not voted through as a way forward. Some have asked why, if their player cannot train one week, they still have to pay. The answer is that the facilities we rent do not charge by the player. They charge by the hour and so we still are charged whether a player is absent or not. One person has asked if the kit to play in is theirs and it is. We have also been asked what happens if a player falls ill during the season and cannot complete all or part of it. I have already tested this and very simply the club refunds all the money for the period not played. After further discussion it was agreed that the base line monthly subscriptions would be as previously stated: £22/£25/£27. A proposal was put forward that where a player plays twice some of the costs we incur as a club do not occur twice (insurance for example). It was therefore agreed that where a player plays twice the subscriptions would be £33/£37/£41 as the club still needs to find referee fees and administrative costs and there is increased ground maintenance at least. This still represents better value for money rather than joining a second club.

No club wishes to lose players, coaches or teams but we have a duty to be financially efficient and fair to the players and parents who play once as well as play twice. We cannot allow tax efficiencies to pass us by and we cannot remain administratively in the past. We are certain after discussions with other clubs (and we have great contacts at committee and coach level across a number of our most similar clubs) that what we are doing is competitve for the high standards of facilities we offer our players and I know other clubs are looking to us as the lead in modernising and streamlining club financial processes. If after this explanation a player or coach or parent feels that they are being disadvantaged or unfairly treated or simply feel that they do not want to follow the lead of the rest of the club to balance the financial responsibilities then I, as the Chairman of the club and on behalf of the committee am saddened that we have been unable to persuade you of the benefits to club andh volunteers and where our future lies. I would wish you well wherever you decide to play football. Importantly whilst this is now the end of the discussion for this year, as we need to prepare the many teams and players who are remaining at Platt Lane and recognise that what we are doing is in their best interests and that of the club in a tough footballing environment, we will look again next summer at subscription rates and see if they are correct. Where there is capacity and a surplus has been achieved it will be up to the club as to whether it wishes to continue or amend subscritions. Of course this could mean lower subscriptions in the seasons that follows this.
— The Chairman