Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Londoncentric Thinking

Many countries across Europe are currently enjoying following their national football teams in Euro 2008 where us English people have to watch other countries enjoying the party whilst wishing we were there as every game gets screened live on terrestrial TV.

When England failed to qualify the national board the FA promised a what they were calling a root and branch investigation to get to the bottom of our nation’s failures over recent years to compete on the worldwide stage as well as the current lack of English born players currently plying their trade in the Premier League.

As many of you are aware I am actively involved in youth football in my local area so I was interested to see what changes if any were going to be made at grassroot level. So now months on from that investigation and I receive some news via local channels on new rulings from the national FA board.

For year’s professional football clubs and county organisations have ran academies. This is where they select the best players from the area to get trained by them and use their facilities whilst competing in a fixture programme against other academies. For girls football it use to be that girls could play for an academy side whilst still playing for their local youth side but now the FA are soon to either vote on or pass a regulation saying that if they play for an academy they can no longer player for their local youth side.

Now this may work in big cities where they have a wealth of players but when you are in a small region which is only just emerging with a handful of local youth teams with some of those teams struggling to get enough players for a full side an academy could kill the development of girls football dead in that area. The fifteen or so girls you have in the academy could turn in to great players but after they have gone through their will be no other players coming through as there will be no leagues for them to play in. To improve girls football there has to be access for all.

Instead of taking the easy option of just working with a select group of players if county organisations and professional teams could invest time in setting up good local leagues for girls it will give more players access to football and a lot better in the long term. Having a competitive league of ten teams would see a minimum of seventy girls playing football on a weekly basis which is nearly five times the amount that would be catered for by the academy.

If local youth teams get their best talent cherrypicked by academies then are they going to bother continuing without them? If this is the case what if that player gets let go by the academy half way through the season and she comes back and she has no club to play for? By taking one player from a team could spoil football for many girls. Young people become better players by playing with and against good football players.

So there you go that’s my rant of the week have you guys experienced situations like this where national organisations have passed down rulings which don’t help at local level? We want to know and you can share your views by going to our topic of the week:

Adam Sibley
Founder of the Talented Young People organisation
"Envisage it, Believe it, Achieve it!"

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