The gradual phasing out of competitive youth football will ‘ruin’ the game according to a concerned league representative, writes Mark Wood.
Having already banned the reporting of U8 results, this season U9s can’t be published either and concerned Chiltern Junior Sevens League secretary Steve Joyce has warned it’s endangering the future of the game with interest already waning amongst its members.
He said: “This season U9s results cannot be published, next season U10s cannot be published and the following season U11s cannot be published.
“U12 will then be the first age group allowed to play competitive football.
“The FA say they have done extensive research and this is what the players, parents and clubs want.
“Within our league it is very difficult to find anyone that supports this, the general view is that this will ruin youth football, we will have to wait and see.
“There are already signs that clubs are finding it difficult to find people to run their teams as they have no interest in ‘non-competitive football’.
“I think as this filters into older age groups there will be players losing interest as well.
“Unfortunately our hands are tied as no-one is even allowed to suggest that the FA are wrong.”
Joyce admitted they have known for some time that these changes were coming, but is disappointed that their previous calls for compromise have been ignored.
He added: “This has been in the pipeline for about two years, so no it isn’t anything new.
“When it was first brought in at U8 we asked to run both competitive and non-competitive sections to give teams the choice, but it was refused as I believe the FA feared the lack of support for non-competitive football would be overwhelming.”
The Bedfordshire FA were unable to respond before we went to press.
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