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FA to cut back on junior football?

The FA could be set to cut back on the number of junior football matches in order to encourage less competitiveness and focus on development, effectively turning the remaining games into friendlies.

They are also backing a radical strategy which would prevent the publication of youth football results, scorers and league tables for certain age groups.

FA-backed youth competitions are being encouraged to become 'development leagues', with a greater emphasis on training and skills development.

The goal is to enable players to reach their full potential, and the FA believes that traditional youth leagues can hinder this by encouraging a win-at-all-costs mindset.

The FA would like competitions for children under the age of ten to become development leagues next season, and ultimately the governing body favours extending the concept to older age groups, possibly up to under-14.

Opponents brand the development leagues 'non-competitive', fearing they would add to the already mounting problems of attracting new players to football and could result in breakaway leagues operating outside FA jurisdiction.

If development leagues become FA law, then regional branches like the LFA will have to enforce them and local leagues will have to accept the change if they wish to remain under the FA umbrella.

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