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Mixed views on moves to play junior soccer in summer
10:36am Thursday 10th March 2011 in General
There has been a mixed reaction to the possibility of switching junior football matches from winter to summer.
The move, which is being spearheaded by the Tyne and Wear Youth League, who want to start their season on June 1 this year, has been mooted to avoid the raft of postpone- ments caused by bad winter weather and, in the long term, to improve playing standards.
The Football Association, who currently don’t allow organised 11-a-side football after June 1, have been discussing the idea for several months with a view to bringing it in from season 2013-14, but Eddie Presland, organiser of the Keighley-based Keybury Lea- gue, which has some 200 teams from under-sevens to under-11s, is firmly against the idea.
He said: “They are thinking about this because of the bad weather but you have to think of the reverse of that.
“Kids are going to get far more bumps and scrapes and bruises playing on hard grounds and suffer more injuries in the summer than they ever would in the winter.
” Other potential problems are making children choose between football and cricket - our national winter and summer sports - ground availability (when grounds are used by football and cricket teams), holidays and exams. The FA are keen to play summer mini-soccer at six-a-side or seven-a-side up to the age of 11 but if this proves a success, it could be extended right up to under-18s, and even possibly at senior level.
The Craven, Aire & Wharfe Junior League, which caters for under-11s to under-18s and has almost 60 clubs, including Burley Trojans, Horsforth St Margaret’s, Menston, Otley Town and Ventus United, have had to cancel all but one of their League Cup competitions because of the poor weather.
“We’ve had the longest lay-off that I can remember,” said league secretary Mike Breeze.
“The difficulties we have with finishing the season raises the question about summer football.
“We have used the all-weather pitch at Sandylands Sports Centre in Skipton for two Sundays in order to claw back some of the backlog.
“We have teams that still have 14 games to go - there’s just far more games left than Sundays in the season.
“We've also had three clubs withdraw, all of which could be related to the fact children just haven't been playing for weeks.
“They lose interest, look at other things, and you can understand why. It’s not a good thing for football.
“We have even thought about starting our season in August.” Breeze wants a firmer commitment from the FA before taking any further action.
He said: “We're looking for someone to show the lead. We’ve not heard anything for a while on this subject but if they do decide to go down that route we’ll do our best to get it going.”