A shake up of grass roots football is planned. The proposals set out by Nick Levett could be considered radical and thought to be in response to the perceived failings of the national team at major championships.
Key elements of the plans include:
- Children will not Move to 11 a side football until they are 13
- Different size teams for age groups under 13 years old (5 a side for ages 7-8), (7 a side for ages 9-10) (9 a side for ages 11-12)
- Different size pitches for age groups under 13 Years old each age group as above will have specific goal and pitch sizes.
- No League tables under the ages of 11 – Non competitive football until under 12′s
- Encouragement of different types of small sided tournaments, mini leagues and joint club training sessions.
- Change of age of eligibility for teams from school year ages to the calendar year so that children late in the school year are no longer the youngest in the team. (If signed off this will start in 2013 but only for the current under 7s then rolling as that group moves up the age groups.
The rational is to have kids playing for fun and not for “Adult Minded” reasons having more touches in a small sided format developing skills before they start competitive leagues in 11 v 11 format when they reach 13 years old. The hope is the glory hunting parents will not move their kids to teams that always win and that children fall in love with playing football for themselves and not because of the passions of their parents.
Some very well meaning sentiments in the proposals that are claimed to be as a result of thorough research and extensive consultation.
fff would argue that you can ask a question to get the answer you want and you can make studies of other European countries such as Spain and aspire to emulate but with no proof that it will bring success in another country with a different culture, smaller population and different climate.
There are some huge considerations; smaller sided teams up to the age of 13 takes the overall number of kids playing football down straight away, less kids in a team paying subs means clubs have less money to provide team funds for existing overheads of kit, equipment, winter training pitch hire etc, let alone extra goals and groundsman fees to accommodate the proposed changes.
Even if the children are not interested in league tables the very fact that the parents are, to some extent, drives them to volunteer to be managers and coaches often going on the do FA coaching courses – With their kids playing non competitive football, will the urge to get involved still be there? If not, there will be less teams and even less players.
Changing the age groups to be calendar year based, instead of school year based discourages children to invite classmates to join their team, reducing the number of children getting into football in the first place.
The reported £200 million of investment better be spent wisely or there is potential that these changes will send our national game backwards and with less of a talent pool to select from, our national team will suffer as well.
The encouragement of additional small sided tournaments and combined team training actually sounds like the most likely part of the proposal to improve football at grassroots and that is the one part of the proposal that is not going to be imposed.
fff wishes Trevor Brooking & Gareth Southgate all the best of luck rolling this out, we hope it works!
The planned adoption is 2013 / 2014 Season – Click here
read more about the proposals.