'Summer Football' for Juvenile Age Groups
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Due to the impact of Coronavirus and the uncertain times we are in, we have no idea when things will ever return to normal. Of course we need to see how things progress but there is a need for an initial plan going forward.
Regardless of what happens to the Youth Football season for 2019/2020 we need to look ahead.
Since today's news that there can be no football across the board until 10th June 2020, we have to try and give some hope to the kids that we may return to normal at some point.
Every plan will be flawed, some will be quick to point out problems rather than the solutions, however the benefits of moving Youth Football to the so-called Summer months could be massive. Polls across the country have shown a want for this from kids, coaches, parents and individual clubs.
Grassroots football in Scotland already this season has decimated by a glut of postponed fixtures and training sessions due to numerous storms and freezing conditions. This debate is normally reserved for our reliably dismal winters, but surely the case for juvenile football in Scotland to be played in the spring and summer months stronger than ever?
'Summer' Football has to surely now get a consideration, this season there have been teams playing on average 1 game per month from October '19 - February '20. Countless wasted mornings have been recorded in travelling to pitches frozen or unplayable
Most winters bring frequent rain, turning grassroots pitches into bogs. If and when games do go ahead, kids are forced to play in arctic conditions on quagmires, often in high winds too not at all conducive to good football. It is critical that young footballers are not put off for life, but offers of encouragement can prove difficult when conditions are so vile. So what is the answer?
More 4G pitches would mean games can go ahead on always-excellent surfaces that encourage good football – but it would still mean children playing in freezing, howling conditions. Even some 3G/4G pitches have been unplayable this year!
Furthermore, the hiring of 4G pitches is prohibitively expensive for football clubs that are all running on tight budgets. Add to this the extreme training costs of hiring of floodlit/astro/indoor training facility (if available) due to the weather in Winter months with little or no games forthcoming.
Your proposed increase in fees may be viable with reduction in club costs elsewhere.
Meanwhile, we are helpless, plodding on every weekend and hoping the rain stops, the storms stay away and Jack Frost doesn’t rear his head. Out of all the doom and gloom surrounding Coronavirus we have a golden opportunity to transform grassroots sport in this country. What do you think?
Midweek matches when required, more grass pitches playable and available, better weather, active and happier kids ultimately and there is the potential that they can watch the team they support as seasons won't clash as often with the SPL/SPFL.
Should this happen the potential to complete the current season from August onwards could be considered, the effort our kids have put into the season so far should not feel wasted to them. Especially for teams who remain in national and local Cup competitions.
Loads of positives for change, very few negatives.
Of course, i want to add that my immediate thoughts are with all those affected by Coronavirus and a massive thank you to all keyworkers especially those in the NHS.
So to the SFA/SYFA, please give some serious consideration to these points and consult with the members of your associations.
As a parent, volunteer coach, club secretary and volunteer groundsman
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