Where do my Football Fees go?

It’s important to be transparent about what we charge clubs and members, and what those funds are used for. For club football, this is not straightforward as we charge clubs, not members directly. Also, the structure of those charges differs throughout the Federation depending on things like if they pay their own ground fees, how referees are costed, and the overall cost to run the game.

If you look at our annual report and finances, which are publicly available, then you’ll see we receive around $345k of competition entry income Federation-wide (during a non-Covid year). This article details what that income is used for.

We have excluded the ODT Southern Men’s and Women’s Premierships from these calculations as they skew the picture – especially during 2021 which is a transition year into a new competitions structure.

From the income we generate through competitions, all but 17% goes against actual expenses to run those competitions. Here is some more information:

Staff 31% – we have two full time staff working on club competitions throughout the year. From draws, ground bookings, club meetings, COMET trainings, processing protests and issues, updating COMET and the website – the workload is pretty full-on and starts months ahead of the season commencing.

COMET 6% – is the system that runs all our competitions and registrations. It’s an integral part of what we do, and creates important efficiencies as we run competitions for over 700 teams each season.

Referee Costs 6% – these are the fees and travel expenses for appointing referees to games outside the Men’s and Women’s Premierships. 

Trophies / Awards 4% – includes the cost of trophies, engraving, and the Football South awards.

Ground Charges 17% – the council charges which we are responsible for paying in some regions. Where we don’t pay ground charges directly, we have reduced the team entry fees to compensate.

Other Competition Expenses 5% – a mixture of other expenses including facility hire, goal and field upgrades, travel, and the costs for some of our centralised competitions such as the Fun Football and First Kicks programmes.

Regional Association Payments 14% – in some regions where we don’t run the competitions directly (such as Southland, or Waitaki) we invest a portion of the fees back to the region so they can employ staff to run the competitions and develop the game. We provide support and service to ensure the competitions are aligned and run to a high quality.

Membership/Overhead 17% – whatever is left goes towards the costs of overheads and running our strategy. This has previously been known as affiliation. These membership funds contribute towards our strategic plan, a big part of which is employing Federation-wide staff to develop the game - such as myself, our Football Development Officers, Women's Development Officer, Referee Development Manager, Futsal Development Manager.

Your 17% is important for that, and makes up around one-fifth of the total cost of delivering on our strategy - we also attain funding from other sources including grants, sponsorship and New Zealand Football.

Hopefully that explains what happens with the funds which we charge clubs. However, if you’re a member wanting to know where your money goes – you’ll have to ask your club who should be able to give you a breakdown.

We charge the clubs based on a per-player basis, as follows:

Clubs add their own overheads in addition to our charges, which help ensure you have good coaching, club rooms, kit, equipment, and that the club can invest in their own capability.

We know from national research that our clubs charge some of the lowest fees nationwide, and calculated on a per-week basis we believe both the Football South and Club fees present extremely good value.

We’re aware that the cost to play the game needs to remain accessible. As such we are constantly mindful of ensuring our fees are as low as possible whilst supporting us to deliver on our strategy.