News & Updates

FA changes to youth football – what’s in store?

The structure of English youth football will be changing from the start of the 2013/14 season.

That is when the FA’s new youth development proposals will start to become reality. The changes have two main strands:

(i) a revised player pathway
(ii) a flexible, child-centred approach to competitive football

So what will the changes mean for your club, team or league?

Youth football change #1: Revised player pathway

Key features:

* New 5v5 format for U7s and U8s
* New 9v9 format for U11s and U12s
* New formats phased in for U7s & U11s only in 2013/14 season
* Mandatory for all age-groups from 2014/15 season
* U9s and U10s continue to play 7v7 and U13s upwards continue to play 11-a-side
* Age-appropriate pitch and goal sizes (see table below)

190Key benefits:

* More touches of the ball
* More goals and scoring attempts
* More one-v-one encounters and dribbling attempts
* Leads to increased enjoyment
* Helps develop technical skills
* Provides better preparation for 11-a-side football

Youth football change #2: Child-friendly approach to competition

Key features:
* Traditional league table season to be phased out for all kids up to U11s
* Phased introduction of flexible competition starting 2013/14 (see table below)
* Seasons will be split into thirds
* Each third to feature developmental matches and trophy events
* Trophy events will increase in duration as kids get older (see table below)
* Short-term burst of competition for even youngest kids (U7s & U8s)
* Parents and coaches encouraged to drop a win-at-all-costs approach

Key benefits:
* Puts emphasis on learning & development
* Puts kids at heart of football process
* Reduces adult-driven pressure on kids to win
* Winning & losing still at heart of game
* Makes more matches competitive for more kids
* Leagues will ensure trophy events are evenly matched
* Teams can be moved between mini-seasons to match ability
* Reduces likelihood of 18-0 drubbings – no good for anyone

June 2014 update – youth football progress report

If you have any questions regarding the new structure to youth football in England, please read our interview with the FA’s Nick Levett published in June 2014, which provides a progress report on the changes to youth football and answers a number of frequently-asked questions.

In particular, for all those people asking whether kids can ‘play up a year’ from the start of the 2014/15 season, all will be revealed in the article!

Youth football changes get “positive” feedback – Nick Levett (June 2014)


wayne says:

Its clear that we see englands record in tournaments something is drastically wrong.In terms of skill level ball control passing we have always lagged behind many of the top footballing nations.The only way to recify this is to see how the other countrys achieve this and makr the chages to our game.the changes may feel difficult and uncomfortable at first but are the only way englands tournament record will improve

October 13, 2012 at 09:47

Tony says:

The FA are a joke these new rules will take any enjoyment out of the game . You play football to win plus all these new rules will put more financial pressure on clubs. The club where my son plays has had 3 coaches leave this year because of the new rules the FA are bringing in This will kill the game as we know it……

October 11, 2012 at 21:31

Martin says:

We have a great pitch available but only 2 teams can use it on a Sunday, if we could staggervkicknoff times , like 10am,12, 2, and 4, we could accommodate more teams and/or save on pitch hire.
And with that much use how long would your pitch be great for?

September 16, 2012 at 22:59

Paul Miller says:

Brilliant, let’s move youth football forward, but please , let’s be more flexible with kick off times, we have a great pitch available but only 2 teams can use it on a Sunday, if we could staggervkicknoff times , like 10am,12, 2, and 4, we could accommodate more teams and/or save on pitch hire

September 16, 2012 at 22:28

Martin says:

Mark the question you should be asking is how many of the FA’s shareholding voters actually know anything about grasroots youth football. Take a look at the list of shareholders and you will see what I mean. The FA deliberately lumped all their proposals together and voted them in en-mass using the image of 10 year old kids playing on full size pitches in full size goals to sway the vote. They failed to mention all the teams playing on youth size pitches with youth goals and produced dubious stats showing that 97 % were in favour of all the proposals. No youth leagues were involved in the vote and any negativity to any of the proposals was simply ignored. Nobody in youth football wants to see kids playing on pitches that are not of a suitable size but just think how many suitable pitches with the correct size goals could have been provided with the money wasted by the FA on Nick Levetts needless roadshows, tv adverts and the SGP development. What this country needs is a massive improvement of facilities not people meddling with formats and leagues.

September 16, 2012 at 17:26

Mark Meekings says:

Our club had 20 players at under 6/7 training ready to start a new season.
One problem! Two teams one coach??
I was pushed into managing the B team because of lack of volunteers. 10 kids would of been let down if they couldn’t play in a team.
The FA talk about 85% of the shareholders thinkng its a good idea.
Do they have kids that they are training at U-7 LEVEL? Are they the ones to turn around at the end of the season and tell Billy your not picked for the team anymore?
If this is happening then i am out! i will encourage my boys to take up another sport! I hear hockey is getting more popular.
Clubs should stick together and vote against it.

September 12, 2012 at 22:19

steve says:

why would you want to take the competion out of the game every kid should have a competive streak other wise you are not goin to better yourself or have anything to aim for if you dont want any competion dont join a football team just go for a kick around with your mates up the local park this is goin to ruin are football and take all the enjoyment out of it for the kids they have nothing to aim for to me its a joke and i no i could get a petition from thousands of people who agree with me every one i have spoke to thinks the same

August 29, 2012 at 16:02

Martin Cloake says:

Nick Levett’s comments fill me with hope. Nuff said.

August 12, 2012 at 12:24

Emma Hodges says:

What happened to the consultation on the age relative issue? I have an August baby in the new season Under 7’s he is still 5. Not picked to be signed as team over subscribed – have no issue with that in principle he needs to earn his place – but really for his confidence he’d be better being a good Under 6????

August 11, 2012 at 17:37

Gary Taylor says:

We as a club have two spare under 10’s players due to them going 9v9 at U11 level BUT those two players are apparently not allowed to step up an age group to my U12’s.
Basically the League are saying no 11 a-side for U11’s at all – is this correct / allowed under FA rules as it means potentially putting kids out of the game ??

July 13, 2012 at 16:53

Adrian says:

I hope the season 2012/13 will show an improvement in referee’s ability to protect the young boys and girls on the field of play during a match, as they have a duty of care during this time to ensure that the pitches are safe for the players to play on and that if a player is injured, that child is awarded the referee’s immediate attention, and if required medical assistance.
It has been apparent in the 2011/12 season, specificaly in the under 12’s league, that certain referee’s have been negligent in this regard.
Parents, and the players themselves are aware that there is a risk of injury playing football, but leaving injured children on a pitch without an assessment of the injury at the time, prior to continuing a match is one of negligence on the part of the referee in charge and could lead to a childs health being seriously compromised.
Here’s for some common sense approach by certain referee’s next season, after all it is Law 17 of the handbook !!

June 23, 2012 at 12:16

Kenneth Clark says:

Why not let kids of all ages just play football.
When I was a kid we play football round the local
park with four coats has goal posts, some of my
football mates became paid footballers for local
clubs. if the skill is there it will always come
to the top.Too much detail training can kill the
skill in young lads.

June 19, 2012 at 16:56

Julia says:


Just a quick question my son who is currently 7 plays up a year and has been with his team for 2 years now. At the start of the 2012/13 will he still be able to play as the team will then be u9’s?

Thank you

June 19, 2012 at 12:30

Graham Shaw says:

FA give your head a shake.
Where do we place the children who cannot get a game because you have reduced the sizes of the teams.
Don’t tell me they will join other clubs – We struggle to get coaches to run the number we already have.
Are you going to fund the new changes re goals, pitches and other facilities?
We’ll end up playing across adult pitches in the mud like we did in the 70’s.
Not one size fits all, Why mandatory? Your’e tinkering for tinkering sake without answering our questions you promised to answer at your political broadcasts (you named them roadshows!)

June 13, 2012 at 22:14

Eric Kershaw says:

Any League interested in the work being done by the National Conference of Youth Leagues can take a look at the web site:

June 13, 2012 at 10:13

Eric Kershaw says:

For all those that feel the FA’s proposals are wrong or impractical, there is an alternative.

The National Conference of Youth Leagues (NYCL) is an organisation whose purpose is to allow the volunteers who actually run Youth/Junior Football Leagues and Clubs to meet, share ideas and make the decisions on how best to move the junior game forward.
These latest FA proposals remove the rights of children, parents and volunteers to spend their own leisure time how they want.
The children spend all week in school and, when the week-end arrives, they want to enjoy their leisure time – Not be given more lessons.
The FA have employed professionals to make changes to the amateur game. Do you think they would allow amateurs to change the pro game ?
The main thrust of this debate should be “Do we want the FA making decisions for us or, should the players, parents and volunteers be making the decisions ?”
Not every League set up is the same and the FA’s ‘one size fits all’ policy, along with their ever increasing demands on volunteers time and money will only serve to reduce opportunities for young people to play the game.
The FA have spent a lot of time and money publicising the negative aspects of the game.
Parents need to be put behind barriers, Team Managers are manic, League Officials are not prepared to “embrace change”.
Nowhere do they give any credit to the ‘dinosaurs’ who actually built the very leagues upon which they now proudly stand.
The purpose of this negative publicity is simply to make the FA appear like the saviours of junior football.
So far, the FA have failed to provide any evidence that their ideas will make any difference whatsover.
Don’t forget, the FA sang exactly the same song when they launched mini-soccer 12/14 years ago. Where are the stars 12 years later ?
Development – Isn’t that what we have training nights for ?
If you want ‘Development’ games (or friendlies as they are otherwise known in the amateur game) that’s fine but why do you want to impose your ideas on everyone else.
If the FA’s ideas are so good, why do they need to be Mandatory – Surely a good idea will sail all by itself.

June 13, 2012 at 10:12

Martin says:

“Why are you going to make a 13 year old keeper play in a 24 x8ft goal instead of a 21x7ft. goal”
Because they haven’t a clue what they are doing or what they were actually voting on. The FA painted a picture that ALL our under eleven year old teams were playing on full size pitches with 24′ x 8′ goals. They conveniently forgot to mention youth pitches and 21′ x 7′ goals, then bundled all the proposals together and people who have nothing to do with youth football and knew no different voted ‘enmass’.

June 13, 2012 at 00:07

Albert Fellowes says:

Why are you going to make a 13 year old keeper play in a 24 x8ft goal instead of a 21x7ft. goal/

Albert Fellowes

June 12, 2012 at 21:56

A.Fellowes says:

I dont understand while you are allegedly making it better for the boys you intend to make a 13 year old keeper play in a fullsiize goal

June 12, 2012 at 21:49

Daz says:

Re Ant says:Our league is one of the biggest

Totaly agree.

Its going to be hard,

find 2 5 aside teams for some

find parents to ref and help

find pitches

May add cost


With 7 aside and 2 teams you can take in engough fees and find parents to help. (remember not all parents will or can)


Fun went a long time ago and nows it is all about Money.

June 7, 2012 at 14:17

Ant says:

Our league is one of the biggest and Proud recipients of the National Charter Standard League of the Year Award 2010.

The first ever Charter Standard League in Lancashire!

The League for 2011/12 will consist of around 520 teams playing either mini soccer from under 7s to under 10s, 9 v 9 football at u/11s to u/12s and 11 v 11 football at u/13s to u/18s. (Many of these teams were mixed with girls and boys), we also have girls sections at under 10’s to Under 16’s.

In all we have around 7,000 children taking part in three formats of football each weekend.

We have around 150 referees, with many moving onto the adult game and members of the referee academy. The problem with the new format were will we find new pitches for all these games? and were will we find more refs (which is tuff as it is)?

June 5, 2012 at 07:58

Joe Wallis says:

These proposals are likely to lead to fewer children actually playing. We have a successful U7 side at present with 10 boys, however most weeks due to illness or holiday we have 8 max 9. This means that with 7v7 all the boys get a good run out. If we were to have to go to 5 aside we would have to tell 2 or 3 boys that they would not be able to play for us. To try to put together 2 teams would mean trying to find more players and someone to run the 2nd side, which is hard enough as it is. Therefore less boys playing football, crazy idea. Also the smaller the pitch the less chance for boys to pass the ball around, it will just encourage the strongest players to run everywhere, not how we want to play football

June 3, 2012 at 13:44

Daz says:

Re msb03 says:I though it was worth re posting what Nick Levett

Yes i get what you are saying but this is not what the leagues in my area are taking up. They are bring in 9v9 non competitive but still sept to Mar. not broken up into 3 stages.

I agree with the chap who says 5v5 you will have the one lad hogging the ball. It happens in mini football (5 to 7years) which stop the others getting the ball and having the touches. Also having the better ones at the top gives the new ones a chance on the ball in the lower league. The problem lies with parents who try to start to high when there lads start football. Not many will go to he bottom team in div 3

June 2, 2012 at 22:57

Dave from Sedgley says:

It is good to see that an emphasis on skill development is paramount and, for certain age groups, is paramount to competition. I like the idea of short term competitions. I do have three comments:-

1) All the desire and rule structure for skill development is wishful thinking unless the problem of poor playing surfaces is addressed. At grassroots level, we must have the worst playing surfaces in the developed world.

2) Why should competition be denied to those who want it. is it not possible to set up a tier of competitive football for the skilled and talented players who desire it. It is probably for established Charter Standard clubs. This type of competition could be rigorously supervised.

3) Academies! When are Academies going to be stopped from stripping young players from their clubs, thereby ruining that club, and then only for said players to be spat out later as unwanted.
No Academy should be looking at players until, in my view, they are 14 years of age. How many of the thousands of optimistic young players end up with a Professional contract and how many just end up disillusioned and finished with the game before they have even left School.

Football is a great game – it is a simple game often spoiled by experts. The skill development will come with a freer, more relaxed attitude to playing. Get the enjoyment in the game, let free expression reign, stand back and watch the improvement!!

June 2, 2012 at 22:28

Mike says:

Fantastic to see these plans confirmed! However the main problem is educating parents and coaches that really have no idea what they are doing, some negative comments on this page are laughable! Poor excuses if you ask me. These changes will bring about real change but only if they are embraced by all, my worry is the thick coaches will play 11 a side matches during the friendly u10 and u11 season like some do now during u9 and 10 seasons.

June 2, 2012 at 21:39

Peter Hucker says:

All that will happen at 5-a-side is the big strong kid will dribble past everyone and smash it past the terrified keeper at least with 7 a side he has more chance of being tackled it will in fact increase the likelyhood of 18-0s or 18 alls, where have the people who devised this been watching their kids football for christs sake

June 1, 2012 at 18:38

Phil says:

Simple sit downs on the grass in front of your team and ask do you want to win today
You will only get one answer I can guarantee you it will be some funny looks and the answer will be 100% YES
The game is about winning score more goals between the stick than the other team sm

June 1, 2012 at 17:07

Peter Hucker says:

how can leagues make sure u7 and u 8 are evenly matched most of them have never played before

June 1, 2012 at 10:37

Marie O'Grady-Hills says:

I think its a great idea and it works well in other countries. My husband and I have ran a team for the past 6 years – our team are now U12s. We have an ethos of giving each child a game regardless of ability. They all pay the same fees and although we want to win and be competitive we are not a ‘win at all costs’ team. We have played teams in our competition that choose 15 kids from 150 trialed kids. It is very difficult to play against teams who work like this – their subs will be a strong as the players being replaced. Any monkey can manage a team and win a game if they have a hand picked squad of highly skilled players – however give this manager a team of mixed ability kids – thats where you can measure a managers ability. I also feel that managers should have some sort of qualification at least FA Level 1. This was you can encourage and develop each childs ability not just pick kids who already have the ability. We have seen some of our kids with weak ability at U7 really shine when they get to U10 and likeways I have seen kids with super ability at U7 on other teams that lose interest at U10s.

Please let us know if we can help you in any way to make this a success,


June 1, 2012 at 10:33

Jason W says:

These measures have been on the horizon for a while so it’s not really ‘shock news’. For the FA to bang the drum and officially declare, define and grow this strategy is excellent for the younger age groups. As a coach of mini soccor I am really pleased that managers, coaches and clubs are being encouraged to get the young players to play different positions, play two footed and so on and to downgrade the competetive nature of the game for a few years. With the non competitive approach already in effect at very youngest age groups, this strategy is already in place to some degree and to expand that to the U9, U10 and U11’s is terrific.

Funnily enough I imagine this will encourage boys and girls aged 9,10 and 11 to start football should they not have started earlier. Perhaps the non competition will remove some of the fear factor for them.

I think some parents and coaches of talented teams will object because it is often here where the real competeitive edge comes from. Fathers and mums pushing their kids to win, especially those with some talent. That will make life difficult for many coaches and clubs and will take some time to overcome.

I do hope the acadamies and centres of excellence for the clubs in the higher divisions actively adopt this. Their recruitment of the younger players and treatment in my view does not always align itself to having ‘fun’. They are always looking for talent to take to higher levels (nothing wrong with that) but that by its very nature encourages competitive behaviour (and often selfish behaviour) and the boys, girls and parents in that environment are less inclined to go along purely for fun or to experiment greatly by playing in different positions. I would like to see more news about how such a strategy could be carried into that level of U9, U10 and U11. It is from here that the real stars of tomorow will come from afterall.


June 1, 2012 at 09:09

msb03 says:

I though it was worth re posting what Nick Levett said about “non competative football” as so many people appear to to issues with the words non competative

‎19 OCTOBER, 2011

Nick Levett
FA National Development Manager for Youth and Mini-Soccer, P/T Academy Coach at Fulham FC

It’s Not Non-Competitive. It’s Child-Centred Competition.

I think it’s time to clarify, clear up, eradicate and move on from some of the nonsense I keep reading about some of The FA’s plans for youth football.

Let’s get this very clear from the outset: The FA is not making youth football non-competitive. The game is a competition; the battle between two teams to see who wins over the period of time the game goes on for, whether you are 7 or 57, the game is still about seeing if my team can beat your team. End of story. Hope that’s now clear.

Non-competitive implies everything is a friendly, like the game doesn’t matter. That’s simply not the case. All games matter to the kids, for some adults it matters too much and therein lies a lot of the problems.

What the plans are looking at are about making flexible competition, where children can still experience the importance of winning and losing, still feel the highs, the lows, the exhilaration and depression that all get associated with the game we know and love. However, this is about making sure that they experience a children’s approach to competition, not an adult’s approach.

We have taken the adult model, league tables, three points and goal difference, and imposed this on young people. What we have found from listening to young people is that it has increased pressure and is a reason they leave the game. I can’t find any academic research that says pushing children down an over-competitive route is good for enjoyment or development. None. All I can find is the opposite, such as the writings of Lynn Kidman.

I have heard from managers about children being sick before the game because they are so nervous about losing a game in a relegation battle and children not turning up or wanting to go on because they were so scared at doing something silly and making a mistake and they didn’t want the repercussions. The repercussions from adults after a kid makes a mistake?! I heard one manager about Christmas time last year say to his U11 team that today was a “must-win game”! Nothing is must-win when you are 11. Please, give it a rest!

However, children have also told us they like seeing their progress and they like to see themselves get better, something they like from leagues. We simply have to find the balance between the two that enables development and enjoyment from a young person’s perspective.

So, the plans are this; Give leagues the flexibility to organise football for the children in the primary school age group which involves periods of development matches, time to learn the game, interspersed with periods of competitions, where they might play for a trophy or two.

And this flexibility is open to the league. For example, one of the issues we have found from looking at youth football around the country is in most leagues there are only two maybe three teams that might win the league and they invariably know this before the season even starts! The teams that aren’t great know they are never going to win anything either, therefore might monitor development and progress in a different way – losing by less goals, sneaking a draw here and there, social and player outcomes etc.

What we are saying to the leagues is this – can you find a better way that encourages and promotes more opportunity for more teams to be competitive? So, in a division of 12 teams, have 6-8 weeks playing development matches, putting into practice what you have been learning and then some form of competition, but be clever and smart with this. Organise a little competition for the top six teams to play for a trophy and the same for the bottom six, where the teams in the bottom six now have a realistic chance of winning something, of feeling good for this, or feeling down because you lost in the final. Something the kids might otherwise never have felt.

And use the scores from the blocks of development matches to get teams in the right groups. No team wants to have games that are too easy or be beaten by loads every week so there is a crucial role still in the administrators making sure teams get pitted evenly against others.

One guy from a league said he had 32 teams at the U10 age group, could he organise a World Cup format with 8 groups of four, little round robins and then go through to a knockout and a final? Absolutely! Do things that are going to capture the attention of the kids. Just don’t stick them in one league for 8 months a year!

When this has been discussed and understood by people on my travels they have started to get it, to understand why. Not listening to hearsay, fourth-hand information or making up their own spin on something because it suits them. I met the KNVB (Dutch FA) Technical Director, a UEFA Grassroots Panel member, a month ago and discussed these with him – he was hugely impressed with this modern approach and asked if I would meet with his team to discuss further what we are planning. England leading something in football and the Dutch liking the ideas of!? There’s a first!

This isn’t saying what we have doing has been wrong for years, we are saying this might be a great way of engaging more kids in the game we love, for longer, in a more modern way. We have to move away from the win-at-all-costs culture in this country, we quite simply have to. It is ruining the game for everyone, stifling development and hindering enjoyment. Winning is important, but somewhere down the list behind a number of other more important factors.

Striving to win? Absolutely important.The score? Not as important.

The game is evolving rapidly; new types of player and no longer just giant athletes, new types of football and no longer just 4-4-2, new formats of the game and no longer just 11v11.

“The difficulty lies not in new ideas but in escaping the old ones” (John Maynard Keynes). And he was a smart man.

June 1, 2012 at 08:46

Jo says:

My sons team has been playing the 9v9 set up for the past year in the u11’s and it has proved worthwhile, there is more space on the pitch for the kids to play football in and enables the whole team to get involved, The team will normally finish around the mid of their table but this time they finished at the top winning to move up a level to the b league, we had a tournament recently where they played 11v11 and they struggled to get used to the pitch so i think its a good idea to introduce it to all leagues

June 1, 2012 at 07:33

Daz says:

Re; Nick B says: Brilliant, absolutely brilliant news

Just because people don’t have your view don’t mean they havn’t read the full doc or that they havn’t attended FA course’s.

One point is that the FA want more England players so really those that will only play for Fun don’t really come into it. Good players will learn diff postions and do use both feet. The problem is they don’t get the chance to progress into the Big football clubs.

June 1, 2012 at 02:18

marie holt says:

Maybe some of the bad and i mean bad as in really bad refs will have to play fair. when the refs team is to embarrassed to celebrate their goals then this is not good for either team. Also the clubs that are adult and supposed to bring on lads to fill their teams later really need to get much more involved.

May 31, 2012 at 23:11

Nick B says:

Brilliant, absolutely brilliant news – ten years too late, but better late than never. May I suggest all of those who have posted negative comments, actually read the full document until you understand it – then make the effort to attend some of the really good courses available through your regional FA’s.

May 31, 2012 at 22:46

Philip, Byfield says:

I do think that the FA are right with 9×9 for under 11s but i fill they are making a mistake with the u10s and the 9s. Boys and girls play to win even if is a Frendly , that is the way it is . With coaches where are you going to get them from , we are losing coaches every year due to parents and the Fa coming out with new rules etc . i think this is going to back fire , and you are going to lose out to private spots clubs that will bring in leagues for boys and girls who wont want to join a club . clubs will not be able to get teams and you will lose mini football .

May 31, 2012 at 21:56

John Scott says:

I have read with interest both the FA proposals and the comments from coaches and parents alike.

Being from Scotland we have been following the SYFA ‘player pathway’ for a couple of years now and having been involved in both trophy football and trophy free football I have observed many changes to our primary football.

I can see the merits of trophy free football but in my opinion we will only see the real benefits when the kids (and coaches) that have been part of that era have moved on and the whole culture is that of plying football and not winning persay e.g our current U10’s have grown up desperate to follow in their brothers footsteps and win whatever cup their brother won whereas the current U7s have no such notion as the concept of winning is just there in game time and not trophies.

It will take time here but what we were doing – and England by their tournament record – just wasn’t or isn’t good enough so something needed to change.

I was all for the excitement of winnong but now looking back to my time in primary football I remember the pressure he was under to deliver. That same pressure just isn’t there any more with the emphasis on encouragement by the coaches – fortunately we have coaches who have bought into the idea and its game time rather than winning.

We still know who the best players are but not who the best players are going to be.

We have around 200 kids running about at various training nights and our Sunday league and we are giving it a chance.

Time will tell but it’s hard for the age groups that are within this transitional period!

John Scott – Oban – Scotland

May 31, 2012 at 21:52

Mick Grant says:

This (in my humble opinion), is brilliant.

I have been longing for the day when I can draw my teams’ names out of a hat on a Sunday morning allowing each to play in a multitude of positions, safe in the knowledge that should we lose the result will not be published and therefore the kids are playing for the reason they want and that is because it is fun.

From my view point as a coach/manager/father I can concentrate on what I believe is important and that is that the kids learn to play in all positions, with both feet, and not that the big lads play at the back the “one footers” play on their respective wings etc.

From a development point of view it will ensure that the England teams of the future will have a training that means they have the technical ability to play all over the park.

Finally, the FA should publish the survey on “Why Children play Football” and issue it to evey club in the land to be read to the parents at the start of the season.

Its time to reclaim the game we gave to the world and at last train our children to play it properly.

Very Best Regards

Mick Grant
Sheffield 6’s
Under 10’s

May 31, 2012 at 21:29

Stephen Eblet says:

I see some good comments and input here to what I consider to be more wooly, politically correct proposals for junior football. All the F.A’s tinkering with the formats and regulations have done over the past few years, is accelaerate a decline in jnuior football ( in my locality).

Specifically, football is a competitive sport and provision must be there for those parents and children who want to compete. Aside from this, there are children out there, who despite however much training they receive, they will only ever play for fun. Nothing wrong with that either, but league table and competition are a must for most.

I also agree that something must be done to stop academies not only ‘raping’ clubs of their best players, but making up numbers and giving false hope to the majority they take, only to build a squad around their few potential future stars. I regard this as a form of deprivation, when the majority who do not make it, realise they have missed out, by not ‘enjoying’ football with their own friends.

Where has all this tinkering over the last 20 years got us? What have we won at national level? It’s high time the FA took of those rose tinted glasses and got real.

As for the economics, I could fill an encyclopedia! The millions that are squandered in the Premiership, while kids can’t afford to play and clubs can’t afford decent equipment?

I spent 15 years in junior football and our biggest obstacle was always the F.A.

May 31, 2012 at 21:12

Dennis Johnson (kent says:

Why do you not want children to be competitive at football? Any child wanting a future career in football in this country is already in a difficult position due to the industrys thirst and preference for foreign players. Silly non competitive rules and encouragement just reduces there chances further and is like fitting handcuffs on them. I agree some just want to play for fun and there needs to be a place for them, but isnt that why we have divisions. The best thing you can do to affect youth football in this country is look at how there role models act and behave and that isnt there parents. Its the pro players. If you want to add rules add them to the adult players and add rules on english clubs ignoring and not investing fully in youth football. Perhaps if there were more english pro players in this country we would have a better national team. Non football loving people watch the national team play and a good performance and enjoyment of this creates the fans of the future and fills the stadiums. It is simple business economics. Get more people intrested in watching the sport and spend more on creating good english players. Stop ignoring the obvious.

May 31, 2012 at 20:18

Darren says:

This is the right way to develop young footballers, the next is to stop sliding challenges so you can only win the ball on your feet. This will make sure the players are in the right position to win the ball no lunging challenges because they are out of position, also the player with the ball can become comfortable on the ball doing their skills without getting slid out by a recklous challenges.

May 31, 2012 at 20:13

Peter Livingstone says:

There is a danger to the attempt to arrest the decline in eleven aside Adult Football with a lack of facilities and amenities for Parks Football .

It is becoming more difficult for those running teams or starting up young Adult teams in areas of deprivation.

When trying to encourage young individuals to participate particularly NEATS embarressed when unable to afford subs.

In some cases groups of talented young players after leaving well organised junior Football are faced with economic reality of not being able to afford pay to play.

Especially when they try to start a new team they are collectively faced with the apparent “Cartel hire prices” of most facilities developed through PFI’s and those schools with Governers who regard facilities developed by Sport England as theirs.

There is a trend of schools putting restrictions in the way of community use despite them committing to local arrangements, claiming eg: caretaker unavailable to open up for community use during half term or school holidays with the excuse it would leave facilities vulnerable when used out of school hours. Local Education authoritees are unable to intervene.

There are limited financial resources available for Local Authorities in the current economic climate thereby compounding decades of lack of investment to provide REAL GRASS ROOTS district league parks teams with affordable facilities.

With less grant aid available social inclusion from junior to senior Football through sport is in danger of floundering due to lack of sponsorship and financial investment.

FA gurus please when catering for the latest Junior Football pitch developments. Remember kids do grow up and if we don’t provide Adult Grass Roots upgraded parks facilities for them in the future.

We may endanger the future life blood of the local district league grass roots 11 aside game.

May 31, 2012 at 19:40

Jo Jackson says:

Personally I see this as a massive step backwards, I coach U8’s at present and regardless of what the FA believe the children are competitive regardless of a fluffy league and this needs to be recognised. What they should have done is set a minimum team number and a minimum amount of playing time for each player in a competitive environment. You will still have egotistical parents and clubs that well be win at all costs and will not make any difference to them.

May 31, 2012 at 19:33

Daz says:

RE MARK BURTON says: ; parents will learn more respect for each other.

No this will not change because the struture change.

Are you saying you can’t compete and have fun????

(I run a team and my teams parents are quiet and so am i but my lads like to compete and win.)

I started a new team with lads new to football at under 10s. Gone from div3 to div1 next season and the lads want div1. I even kept them down in div2 last season despite being able to go up.

May 31, 2012 at 19:07

Ashley Beecham says:

I have been involved in youth football for 12 years and whilst I understand the bit about development will be encouraged by taking away the pressure of the win for a league position, I do not think the over complicated replacement of 5v5 and 9v9 will achieve the FA objective. Why not just remove the league system so that teams are playing friendlies instead of competition to encourage the development of all players not just the best and remove the ability of accademies to rape the teams of all their best players that are developing in an environment with their friends witout the pressure of having to compete against their fellow players at the age of 8 up wards.

May 31, 2012 at 17:44

Derek Hartas says:

“this is the right way forward as all children can play and not compete all the time.”

What is wrong with a bit of competition?

May 31, 2012 at 16:57

Phil says:

So clubs will have to buy even more equipment, nets and goalposts, and persuade councils to create more small pitches….
There is nothing wrong with the present structure, and it wasn’t long ago that we changed to that. More change just to keep the FA boys in jobs.

May 31, 2012 at 16:29


this is the right way forward as all children can play and not compete all the time. this will put more enjoyment back into our game and providing all children benefit the parents will learn more respect for each other

May 31, 2012 at 16:19

Daz says:

If you want to help development then keep it as it is and if a ie under 10s win div 1, let them progress to a age up and also if a team end up bottom of div 3 let them go down a age group. This way you won’t get 18-0

May 31, 2012 at 16:17

Daz says:

Less kids will play at a early age because you won’t get people to run the extra teams.

Kids in the Div 1s want league status if they didn’t then why would they leave lesser teams to play in beter ones.

5v5 will need to be run with 20 lads split in 3 teams.

7v7 will need to stay at A Team and B Team

9v9 is going to make it hard to keep 16 for 11 aside.
May be look at how many subs and increase match time so you can have 16 lads

May 31, 2012 at 16:13

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