This season, club secretaries have been forces to use the FA’s Whole Game system. it’s not exactly going well

For the last couple of years, we have been using an FA programme (sorry, program) called Full Time to confirm the registration of players. This worked fairly well after some teething troubles. This season we are using an FA programme (sorry program) called Whole Game System to register players. WGS was supposed to fully integrate with FT; we would register a player on WGS then FT would tell us which matches a player was eligible to play in. (Yes, I ask myself why two systems are needed).

From using FT, I was shut out of it once the ‘integration’ happened. Nobody could figure out why. You can imagine how annoyed I was transferring from the simple system we had for many seasons before.

This is how we used to register a player at the start of the season: give him a registration form, he fills it in, submit to the League who accept or reject. If it’s in the season, phone the last club up to see if he’s been released. Simple.

So, I start off, in July, registering players. It takes upwards of 4 hours to register a player, this is mainly because the system hangs every time I try to add a player. Imagine you’re designing software. Simple isn’t it, because you are involved in football and you know what’s needed – one page where you can put in any information needed hit ‘submit’ and it goes to the League to be accepted or rejected.

Here’s WGS. Once the registration page is open (10 minutes some days) you have to search for the player. You put his name in, nothing comes up, it goes to another page where more details are asked for including the player’s FAN number. Ask any player what his FAN number and see what happens.

I won’t bore you with this whole process, suffice it to say you have to leave this page three times before you can press ‘Submit’, keep in mind it’s taking ten minutes to load a page.

Anyway, there’s more. If, on your search the player is found, you may be told that the player does not exist, you try to register him only to be told to contact the County FA. Or the player is already attached to a club so you can’t sign him… Phone county. Hang on, it’s July, unless he’s on contract, he can’t be ‘attached’.

Phone his previous club… ”He’s not with us mate.” Phone County, “He’s got three different FAN numbers.” How did the second and third club sign him without having the first Fan number? I won’t bore you with every single example of how this dreadful system didn’t work at the start of the season.

However, I try to make my feelings known. Both the League and County are aware of the problems and having the same themselves. They must be really tearing their hair out.

County: “The FA will try to extend more bandwidth when its needed,” like when there’s a FA Cup deadline on Friday noon….the time when the whole damn country is trying to sign people.

Last year, when our whole team walked out, I signed 5 players in an hour before the 11am Saturday League deadline. This season, I’m telling my manager, if we don’t sign players by Thursday night…don’t expect them to be registered for Saturday.

So, this season, I sign a player for the 36 hours before the deadline. A week later, I get an email from County (now keep in mind that County have already given me his FAN number and detached him, and his previous club has allowed him to double register) they’re de-registering him from my club because he has other FAN numbers. I have to re-register him and ask the league to backdate his registration to the time of the original registration.

Here’s the best one, we all know about, 7 Day Approaches? Basically (let’s keep it at Saturday clubs) if you want to sign a non-contract player with another club you are now supposed to use WGS. How do you do it?

First you search the player. How do you search the player. Youou put in his FAN number, his name, dob, and post code. Once the player appears, you send the 7 Day Approach to his club. Hang on there! How did you get his date of birth, post code and FAN number? You must have asked him… You’ve just proved that you made an illegal approach. And this is an FA designed system.

No, here’s the best one! On WGS we are told of player cautions and suspensions. Sad man that I am, I go online this morning and see that one of our players…let’s call him Jacob Reese Mogg, has been suspended Sine Die. What….he’s only got two yellows. Let’s wait until after 9 and make some phone calls. I find out that Jacob wants to work with children…(I know) so he contacted the Disclosure and Barring Service for the mandatory check.

Only thing, he does not complete the process. Because he does not complete the process he’s banned until he completes!

You’re joking? No. Imagine Jacob’s best mate Boris is playing for us. Although Boris spent some years in Feltham Young Offenders Institute, and finished his sentence in Pentonville for a crime which puts him on the offenders list, he is now spearheading our attack to stave off relegation to League Two on the Isle of Man.

He hasn’t applied for DBS because he knows he’s unlikely to get it. Don’t you think there’s a bit of disparity in the way both players are being treated?

Well, days later, after I’d informed Jacob of his suspension for life, he showed me the documents from ‘The Big House’ ok, the FA. On the letter, it clearly states he’s free to play football on Saturdays… this an example of the FA living up to its name and knowing FA?

I would say that none of this is intended to reflect anything but utter support from my League and County FA both of which have been towers of support.