Sports development officer’s role

‘Grass-roots’ football in the United Kingdom is the responsibility of the 43 County Football Associations throughout England. These are independent bodies, which are affiliated to the Football Association, and are responsible for all aspects of the game at local level. One of the key tasks undertaken by County Football Associations is the affiliation of local competitions e. g. the Milton cup organised by the Kent county football association and leagues e. g. the Medway news city boys league run by the Medway football association, registering players to clubs and the organisation of match officials and the administration of discipline.

Sports development officer’s role Football in swale Local football leagues in the swale district are mainly Sunday leagues and are all affiliated to the Kent county football association but all run independently, with their own league and cup competitions. As it currently stands in Swale there is a very tough route for talented footballers to progress to elite football.

In swale although there are a lot of football facilities (see appendix 1) there is not a clear way for children to move from school/local football teams into academies or professional football teams. Fig 1 below is a possible route for a grass roots player and how they can progress through to elite football but in swale this route is not evident. Although there are many different schools throughout swale they do not compete in a competitive league with each other they only enter the Kent youth cup.

There are also many different leagues with teams based throughout swale (e.g. Medway league) but they do not have representational squads that are made up of the best players from the league and swale do not have a district football team unlike in athletics where you can represent swale at regular competitions because these teams are not present there is a smaller chance of the young footballers being seen by professional clubs because they do not send their scouts out to regular Sunday league matches but only to match of significance E. g. Kent cup final A regular Route for grass roots players to progress to elite

Fig2 (Fig2 shows possible routes for aspiring footballers) The red arrows show David Beckhams route to the professional game but this route is breaking down today as only 0. 6% of the 500000 registered footballers in England register in football academies, and a further 1. 2% in centres of excellence. Also, no football academies or centres of excellence have registered the maximum number they can. This maybe because the big clubs neglect minor leagues because of lack of profile or because of the leagues poor organisation.

The solution maybe to involve an independent body when leagues or competitions are being set-up to make sure they have adequate exposure to academy scouts. The boxes shaded grey show where the local provision for football breaks down because there is no district teams or rep squad meaning players are not shown to football academies e. g. Gillingham F. C. regularly.

Disabled Provision There seems to be no disabled clubs in the region, but there are obviously opportunities (as shown on disabled football team websites e. g. Wimbledon disabled football team website) for the mentally or physically handicapped to participate in football in other areas of the UK. There are physically handicapped referees in the area, and there is now National “Multi-disabled Soccer Association” which runs North and South. Chelsea football club has a very successful handicapped football team, who were the European champions. Scotland has a National Cerebral Palsy Squad, which competes in international tournaments.

There is also the English national disabled football team which won the disabled football world cup in 2002. Disability grassroots football coaching in England is also set to receive a major boost with the creation of hundreds more specially trained Disability football coaches. The grassroots initiative funded by FA community partner McDonald’s will see the number of Disability football coaches increase by 100% over the next four years. Although handicapped teams tend to be more privately run this scheme will help shift disabled football into the public sector.

It is estimated that around 70 thousand boys play football, for either a school or club team, at each age level between the age ranges of Under 11 to Under 16, and that over 500 thousand play between the ages …

There seems to be no disabled clubs in the region that I know off, but there are opportunities for the mentally or physically handicapped to participate in football. I do know of disabled schools in the region that have football …

Other schemes that the grass root of FA provide is funding for leagues outside the national league systems. These are the leagues that the majority of all children play in and are the foundation for young talent A big Charity which …

During this project I am going to look at local and national provision for netball in the following areas: grass roots development, provision for/ pathways for elite performers, additional agencies and bodies, provision for disabled participants and the provision for …

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