Heated debate prompted by FA's decision to ban competitive football for under-eights.....
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Mixed reaction to overhaul of youth soccer

Posted on March 30, 2008

Heated debate prompted by FA's decision to ban competitive football for under-eights.

This article was published in March 2008. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Youth FootballAn overhaul of youth football across the county has prompted a heated debate among fans.

A mixture of disgruntled parents and supportive coaches swamped Bedfordshire's Football Association (FA) with calls following a decision to ban competitive soccer for youngsters.

The county's football bosses have enforced English FA regulations banning knockout cup matches, league tables and the awarding of points in under-eights matches.

The regulations were not new, but until now had not been enforced. They affect competitions across the country.

All of Bedfordshire's under-eights football teams will still follow a fixture list and play matches, but will not get points for winning, ending the competitive element of the Chiltern Junior Sevens League and Filmergraphics League.

Peter Brown, Bedfordshire FA's chief executive, said: "We have had a lot of reaction, but we are only the messengers not the decision makers and this is a policy across the country, not just in Bedfordshire."

Visitors to our websites were mainly against the FA's decision, and 76 per cent of people who took part in our internet poll said the spirit of competition is one of the key lessons in life.

Drew Stanley, of Luton, said: "Has anyone thought to ask the kids what they want? My bet is that 99 per cent of them will want the competitiveness of leagues. Kids love being competitive."

However the FA have also gained some support from football fans. Bob Smith said: "I think it is a good idea. We spend too much time just trying to win and not enough time playing the beautiful game.

"Maybe this will stop parents bellowing from the touchline - a public embarrassment."

Source: Bedford Today, 27 March 2008

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