The National League becomes first Football Governing Body to sign the Armed Forces Covenant

L to R Lcpl Frankie McCabe, jake Gallagher, Shahid Azeem, Sean McGinty Sgt Alan Roberts. Major General John Crackett and Brian Barwick. The National League, the competition which covers the fifth and sixth tiers of football in England & Wales, has joined an ever growing list of leading companies and organisations in signing up to the Armed Forces Corporate Covenant. The National League consists of 68 clubs, arranged over three divisions – National, North and South. Today’s specific signing event took place in the iconic military setting of Horse Guards and involved the Competition itself. Today’s signing followed the November board meeting and Chairman Brian Barwick signed on behalf of The National League. To further recognise the close link between The Army and the game of football two football players from Aldershot Town, the home of the British Army, were present alongside soldiers from the London Irish Regiment and HQ London District. 100 years ago members of these units were among those soldiers who took a break from hostilities on the Western Front to play the “beautiful game” – the First World War Christmas football match has become an icon of how sport can transform lives, even those enduring the horrors of the worst of war. Photographer: Sergeant Rupert Frere RLC

L to R Lcpl Frankie McCabe, Jake Gallagher, Shahid Azeem, Sean McGinty Sgt Alan Roberts.
Major General John Crackett and Brian Barwick.

The National League, the competition which covers the fifth and sixth tiers of football in England & Wales, has joined an ever growing list of leading companies and organisations in signing up to the Armed Forces Corporate Covenant and in so doing becomes the first football governing body to do so.

The National League consists of 68 clubs, arranged over three divisions – National, North and South. The specific signing event took place in the iconic military setting of Horse Guards and involved the Competition itself. Chairman Brian Barwick signed on behalf of The National League and Major General John Crackett, Assistant Chief of the General Staff on behalf of the Ministry of Defence.

To further recognise the close link between The Army and the game of football two football players from Aldershot Town, Jake Gallagher and Sean McGinty, were present with their Club Chairman Shahid Azeem, alongside soldiers from the London Irish Regiment and HQ London District.

100 years ago members of these units were among those soldiers who took a break from hostilities on the Western Front to play the “beautiful game” – the First World War Christmas football match has become an icon of how sport can transform lives, even those enduring the horrors of the worst of war.

Aldershot Town are the first football club from The National League to sign the covenant which was enacted at the same time. It is the intention of The National league to seek pledges from the other constituent member clubs, with plans to sign their individual pledges at the League’s half yearly conference at Telford in January 2016.

The Covenant has been in existence since June 2013 and to date over 700 companies have publicly pledged their support to the armed forces community by signing the Corporate Covenant. The covenant exists to redress the disadvantages that the armed forces community may face in comparison to other citizens, and to recognise sacrifices made. The Armed Forces Covenant is a promise between the nation, government and the Armed Forces to treat our serving personnel, veterans and their families with fairness and respect. Corporates, charities and local authorities can sign the Armed Forces Covenant and make their own promise to support the Forces in ways of their choosing.