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Coach and Officials' education transfer to Welsh Athletics

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10/07/2023 00:00, In Blog /

From 1 October 2023, each of the Home Country Athletics Federations (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland) will assume responsibility for the licensing of coaches at all levels and officials at levels 1-3 in the UK.

Further information about these changes can be found in the supporting FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) included as part of this communication.

From 1 October 2023, coaches at all levels and officials at levels 1-3 will be licensed to their respective HCAF rather than UK Athletics.

Individuals will be contacted directly by the HCAFs later in July to inform them of a change to the Terms and Conditions (T&Cs) of their license and to request that they accept revised licence T&Cs to enable coaches and officials to remain insured beyond 1 October.

In summary:

  • Each HCAF will continue to deliver coach and officials' education qualifications in their respective home nation.
  • The HCAFs will work collaboratively to ensure the continued coordinated alignment of education qualifications for both coaches and officials across the UK as part of these new arrangements.
  • England Athletics will, as part of these new arrangements, coordinate key administrative processes associated with the production of licenses for both coaches and officials on behalf of each of the HCAFs. This will include management of the digital and IT systems used UK-wide to administer and deliver education qualifications.
  • England Athletics will coordinate these functions as part of an agreed and aligned UK-wide approach to coaching and officials' education and reflective of the principles agreed in the established UK-wide strategy for our sport “Athletics Unified”.
  • UKA will continue to provide specific coach education and development in relation to those working on the World Class Performance Programme at elite level as well as continuing to provide leadership in DBS checking and safeguarding.
  • UKA will provide education and licensing for Officials at Levels 4 and 5.

In a joint statement, the HCAF chief executive officers said:

Coming out of the pandemic, it is clear there remain challenges faced by the sport, particularly in the critical area of recruiting and retaining coaches and officials. The world is very different to the one that we realised pre-pandemic and whilst the number of club athletes and runners continues to recover, we feel the time is right to ensure that our support services for coaches and officials are as good as they can be and where we put the needs of our membership at the heart of everything we do.


Together, the HCAFs and UKA have concluded that given each of us is dealing with club development and participation issues at a local level daily, the responsibility for coaching and officiating (Level 1-3) education and licensing should now reside with each respective home nation. This will enable us to better understand and address these issues through collaboration with our members and with an open mind to enhancing the volunteer experience, thus improving the journey for someone coming into our sport, whether that’s a first-time coach, athletics leader, or official.


We will continue to work with UKA, particularly when it comes to ensuring that these specific courses align to the support pathway that UKA provides to coaches operating in the World Class Performance programmes.

CEO of Welsh Athletics James Williams added:

The new approach should be seen as a big positive for Welsh Coaches and Officials. Our community is a close one, we now have the ability to work with our clubs, coaches and officials to ensure that the education process is robust yet meets the demands of the sport in Wales.


We look forward to working with our colleagues across the other Home Countries to further develop the support resources to enable more coaches and officials to be recruited, developed and to feel rewarded for their efforts across all parts of the sport in Wales.

FAQs to accompany the above:

  • Which Coaches and Officials will this affect?
    • All existing licensed coaches and leaders at every level
    • All new coaches and leaders entering the coaching pathway
    • All existing officials up to and including level 3
    • All new officials entering the official's pathway
  • How will this affect my current licence and insurance
    • All coaches and officials at the levels highlighted above will be asked to accept specific HCAF coach or officials licence Terms & Conditions (T&Cs) via MyAthletics Portal before 1 October 2023
    • Coaches and officials not accepting HCAF T&Cs before 1 October 2023 will have their licence temporarily suspended until such time as the T&Cs are accepted 
    • Insurance cover will remain exactly the same after 1 October 2023
    • Coaches and Officials will be licensed to the country of their permanent residence.
    • HCAFs have worked together to ensure consistency across T&Cs which allows officials and coaches to operate across Home Country borders and still be bound by the T&Cs of their HCAF.
    • Licences will still be recognised for accreditation purposes at domestic and international competitions
    • New licenses will only be issued when existing licenses are renewed in line with the current renewal policy. Until licences are renewed existing photocard licenses will remain valid as long as HCAF T&Cs have been accepted.
    • Licences will be re-branded and carry the same details as existing licence cards
  • I am involved with running an affiliated club or as a competition provider – how does this affect me?
    • Any coach or official who does not accept the HCAF T&Cs by 1st October will no longer have a valid licence to operate and as a result, will not be covered by the governing body insurance policy. We will continue to keep clubs and competition providers updated as the transfer process rolls out and any support you can provide to spread the message to officials and coaches ahead of the 1st October deadline would be appreciated.
  • What specific functions will each HCAF now have responsibility for?
    • Delivery of all existing coach education courses
    • Delivery of officials' education at levels 1-3
    • Review and development of course content and delivery models for the above
    • Licensing (including DBS checks) of coaches and leaders at every level – both new and re-licensing
    • Licensing (including DBS checks) of officials at levels 1-3 – both new and re-licensing
    • Delivery of the Recognition of Prior Learning programme for coaches (including foreign coaches or coaches based abroad)
    • Delivery of the Athlete to Coach Programme
    • Setting policy for all mandatory training except safeguarding
    • Communication to coaches and officials at the above levels
  • What specific functions will UKA carry out in the education space?
    • Licensing and education of level 4 and 5 officials
    • Coordination of education and development programmes for coaches working on the World Class Performance Pathway Programme (Olympic and Paralympic) and some provision for those on the Futures programme.
    • UKA will continue to be the lead safeguarding body for the sport and will have responsibility for setting policy for safeguarding as well as delivering mandatory safeguarding training for both coaches and officials as required.

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