Key priorities include arresting the decline in the number of men’s 11-a-side teams, implementing the recent Youth Development Review and raising standards of behaviour.
The new strategy draws on consultation with 25,000 people from the grassroots football community, including schools, County FAs and those people who completed the Big Grassroots Football Survey in March.
FA General Secretary Alex Horne said: “The FA is focused on delivering football for everyone, and we are proud of the success we have achieved over the last three seasons since our last National Game Strategy was published.
“By publishing our new refresh, we are able to let all our football stakeholders know that we have a robust framework in place to ensure funding is used to get more people playing the game, to protect facilities and provide a fun and safe football experience.”
The strategy refresh continues to focus on four core areas – Growth and retention; Raising standards of behaviour; Developing better players; Running the game effectively – and outlines for each the challenges, priorities and targets for 2015.
Key priorities for the next four years include:
- Focusing resources on retaining and developing the existing 129,000 FA affiliated teams
- Raising standards of player and spectator behaviour via the Respect programme
- Providing flexible formats of football to suit changing lifestyles of players
- Increasing football opportunities and the profile of women and minority groups
- Expansion of the The FA Tesco Skills Programme
- Maximising investment into facilities
There are currently 30,355 men’s 11-a-side teams in the UK – a drop of 5.4% since the 2008 strategy was launched, when there were 32,000 teams registered.
However, participation in other forms of the games has increased, with women’s 11-a-side teams up from 1,179 to 1,437 (21.9% increase), small-sided teams up 13.5% to 28,370 and disability teams up from 88 to 1,110 – a massive 1250% increase.
Roger Burden, Chair of the FA National Game Board, said: “An enormous amount of work has been delivered and it’s important that the hard work of all those involved at the grassroots level of the game is acknowledged.
“There are more boys and girls playing the game than ever before, more coaches and officials are gaining qualifications, and behaviour on and off the pitch has shown improvement.
“The next four years will be challenging in the difficult economic times, but we remain committed to achieving all our targets set out in the new refresh plan.”
Have your say on the FA’s new strategy!
What do you think of the National Game Strategy 2011-15? Does it deal with the main issues facing grassroots football in England? Are you happy with the priorities that the FA has outlined for the next four years? If not, where do you think they need to focus?
Have your say in our comments section below.