FA youth football proposals get grassroots support

The FA’s proposed changes for youth football in England have won support from the majority of the grassroots football community, a Club Website poll can reveal.

If the proposals – outlined in The Club House last month – are accepted, the 2013/14 season will feature more small-sided football, including new 5v5 and 9v9 formats, no 11-a-side football until under 13 level and no league tables for under 11s.

The plans, which would mean a radical overhaul of the current setup, have got Club Website members talking like no other before. And while the debate on these pages is still raging, the majority of people appear to be in favour of the changes.

Asked if they were in overall favour of the proposals, 56% of respondents offered the FA their support (33% “strongly in favour” and 23% “in favour”) while the remainder were split evenly. 22% of respondents were against the proposals (12% “strongly against” and 10% “against”) while the same number (22%) did not express a view.

If the latter group were to be discounted – indeed, those responding that they “don’t know/care” about the proposals could include people from outside England and/or those not involved in youth football – the figures become even more encouraging, with support rising to 72%.

Taking your views to the top

As promised last month, we’ve fed all of your comments to date back to the Football Association and their National Development Manager for Youth and Mini-soccer, Nick Levett, for consideration as part of the consultation process.

The issues raised have no doubt been debated long at hard at youth football clubs and leagues across the country – many of which Levett has visited to discuss the proposals – but we’re sure that the debate here at Club Website captures a cross section of the grassroots community like no other.

With this in mind, we’re sure that the FA will be interested to hear what Club Website members have to say, so as soon as we hear anything back from them in response to your feedback, we’ll be sure to let you know.

Back to March’s edition of The Club House >>


Club Website poll result:

The FA has outlined proposed changes to the structure of youth football in England. Are you in overall favour of the proposals?

* Strongly in favour  33.1%
* In favour  23.2%
* Don’t know/care  21.7%
* Strongly against 11.7%
* Against  10.3%

Total votes cast: 7,857

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Dan Pope
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Freelance writer, editor and copywriter, with a passion for grassroots sport. A right back turned football writer, Dan is the former editor of Club Website and has been lucky enough to work in the field of grassroots and community sport for the last 10 years.

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  1. Daren harrison on March 31, 2011 at 4:39 pm

    My main concern would be pitch space as theses different formats require various size pitches I have seen a lay out of pitch within pitch that will NOT work as wear rate on pitch will drastically ruin the pitch plus fixture congestion I myself struggle as my club is getting bigger more teams and the fact the local council are taking away areas suitable for pitches I will not be able to accomadate this change and fear kids will suffer because of this

  2. frank brady on March 31, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    these changes will cost money councils around the country are cutting cost it should be up to the junior league committees what changes the wish to make and not the national fa or county fa telling them this is what your junior league will do because we know best a servey can be misleading

  3. Darren on March 31, 2011 at 6:55 pm

    Smaller Teams will result in the need for more Managers. It is hard to get mangers now!

  4. Dave Whitby on March 31, 2011 at 8:36 pm

    Does this mean we will be able to play official matches on the abundance of artificial surfaces available? Or will we have to continue on the poorly maintained council designated areas?

  5. micheal ogrady on March 31, 2011 at 9:41 pm

    my biggest issue with this is poor availability of well maintained football pitches the way this proposel is it seems your going to need different size pitches i think a serious effort is needed in the direction of supplying good quality football pitches free of dog fouling broken glass an motor bikes rideing up and down

  6. Darren on March 31, 2011 at 11:16 pm

    Following up on the comment made about artificial surfaces. Yes this would be good as touch and controll is better to learn on a artificial surfaces and also easier with out the bumps and lumps of a grass pitch. Plus most astro pitches you could play 7 aside and 9 a side on them or two lots of 5 a side (in each half).
    Also you could get away from just week ends as most astro pitches have flood lights.

  7. GT on April 1, 2011 at 9:40 am

    It certainly makes sense if the astro pitches could be used by clubs for their leagues matches.

    Personly feel it would have to be no lower than the 3g type pitches but as said there are plenty of them around now in most counties so why not use them for league matches as well as just training in the winter.

    Again thou cost is a factor as some places charge silly prices to use them but then so do some councils to use sub standared grass pitches.

  8. Daren harrison on April 1, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    Astro turf is a good idea but to expensive to hire plus hard to book appropiate times as its so heavily booked and with young kids you need an early slot which is impossible to get so we are back to grass pitches if enough were provided and maintained they would be in better condition as always its money that will not allow this to happen I feel its a good idea about 9v9 but not practical to do it I feel we will be lumbered with the problem by the FA

  9. Daz on April 4, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    To get more out of the youth then surely looking at the size of the leagues they play in has to happen. When i say size i refer to distance from one team in a league to another. Leagues don’t worry about travel as they want more teams in there league.

    Many kids don’t even play football because of the travel involved with away games and also the cost involved with playing football.

    The Fa and council can change this but money will always be more important.

  10. Guy on April 5, 2011 at 8:55 am

    Fully support the 9v9 proposals.

    I’m against not having leagues until 11. While it is all about participation, from about 9 years old its right that kids understand the world (and football) is a competitive place.

    Managed right, competition does not destroy enjoyment. We are bottom of our division (whichin turn is the 4th in our league) but I still have the full squad wanting to play each week. The league tabnle provides a focus and helps the kids take it seriously and helps them mature on and off the pitch.

  11. sean hellett on April 12, 2011 at 8:52 am

    I am fully supportive of these proposals. I am involved with coaching U10 this season and we are keen to adopt the 9v9 format next season. However, these FA proposals seem to have been around for some time and whilst many leagues have had the foresight to adopt already we are struggling to find a local 9v9 league. Why can’t thes proposals be endorsed more quickly? Leaving it until 2013/14 seems to be such a waste of valuable time especially for the current U9/U10 who may be denied this opportunity.

  12. bill crompton on October 23, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    does anyone know when we can expect to get thigs officially signed off by the fa re the new 9v9 proposals?

  13. Andy Croll on November 15, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    Am for certain proposals and changes but 5 x 5 would mean splitting into two teams and this would be difficult as would require more pitches ,managers and time consumed. 7 x 7 is better and then onto 9x 9 at u10,u11 and u12s then onto 11 x 11. Girls allowed to mix upto u14 level only. Smaller clubs like mine have limited pitch area availability and there are plenty like ours and we depend on schools. More pitches more games means more moneyto fork out.we are struggling to get money and sponsors now.
    Our league TJFA start competitive leagues at u9 as per you the FA instructs yet the younger kids are always asking why they cant have there reults and named scorers in the local papers. They dont mind losing but want some recognition. Life is a competition and everything else that goes with it whether we like it or not. Some things do need to change but not everything. If its not broken then dont fix it.

  14. Martin on February 20, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    You guys must create your stats the same way as Nick Levett and the FA do. On this site under News + Updates – Support for the FA’s Youth Football Revolution the figures given are:
    44.3% In Favour
    31.3% Against
    24% Undecided
    I would like to see you equate that to 72% in favour.

  15. Club Website on February 20, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    Hi Martin

    You might not have noticed that this article was published in March 2011.

    The stats reported mark the results of our poll at the time. We certainly don’t make any of them up.

    The CW Team

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