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Local newspaper banned by FA from printing youth football results

refFootball chiefs have ordered a weekly newspaper to stop printing the results of youth matches, claiming their publication is “detrimental” to the players’ development.

The Surrey Mirror received a letter from the Surrey County Football Association advising the paper to stop printing the scores of matches featuring teams between the age groups of under-7 and under-11.

The organisation said the directive was being made following a review by the Football Association, the sport’s governing body in England.

In the letter, SCFA chief executive Caroline McRoyall said publishing scorelines was “detrimental to the development of the player and the game”.

She added: “The changes brought in by the FA Youth Review are designed to make youth football more child centred and less results orientated, supporting the long-term development of players.”

A spokesman for the SCFA later added the order was a national directive handed down from the FA.

After receiving the letter, the Mirror asked the FA for a comment on the matter.

However, after getting no response before going to press, the paper decided to publish the results as usual and says it will continue to do so. It is not clear what the penalties for breaking the directive will be.

Surrey Mirror editor Deanne Blaylock said: “We have asked the Football Association for more information on what the penalties would be for breaking the directive and what exactly we are not allowed to publish.

“Until we receive a response, the Surrey Mirror will continue to publish match reports sent in by youth clubs, including the final scores, in the manner we have always done, responsibly and sensitively.

 “The feedback we have received so far from youth football managers and parents suggests they want to see their children’s names and achievements in the paper.”

Youth football coach Paul Slaney is among those to have written to the SCFA on the matter.

He told the Mirror: “I can’t see any reason why people can’t be proud and have a mention in the newspaper.

“It’s not how you win, it’s how you lose as well and you have got to lose to win. We had three seasons where we never won a game at home and it’s only this season that we started winning.

“It’s something we are very proud of and the Surrey Mirror supported us. That was essential for our development.”

A spokesman for the FA subsequently told the Daily Telegraph: “The FA places a great deal of importance in ensuring that youth football is played in a positive and fun environment. Our aspiration is to ensure that a progressive, child-friendly approach pervades and we challenge the win-at-all-costs mentality that has been recognised to stifle development and enjoyment for young people.

“Among the range of measures to have been introduced to reflect this, The FA now directs leagues not to publish individual score-lines from matches in competitions featuring Under 11s teams.

“While it is not the intention of The FA to stifle the positive benefits that come from recognition of achievement – and do not suggest this – significant consultation during our FA Youth Review with children (players), parents, coaches, clubs and league volunteers concluded that where there are one-sided score lines, these can act as a disincentive to continue playing for many children.

“This conflicts with our aspiration to make youth football more child-centred and less results orientated on order to support the long-term development of players.”

19 comments

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  • December 9, 2015 at 8:57 am
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    Fair enough on the part of the FA, although a major blow for the yobbish parents who infest the touchlines at many of these youth matches. How very daring of the newspaper to challenge this outrageous threat to Press freedom. Makes a change for re-jigging so-called news releases.

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  • December 9, 2015 at 9:07 am
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    Proof that the FA really do know FA about anything.

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  • December 9, 2015 at 9:23 am
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    Pathetic, I’m tempted to set up my own Twitter and web feeds purely to broadcast these results. This country is doomed.

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  • December 9, 2015 at 9:37 am
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    There’s quite a difference between ‘advising the paper to stop printing the scores’ and ‘Local newspaper banned by FA from printing youth football results’. Especially when it can’t ban them from printing them.

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  • December 9, 2015 at 9:38 am
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    Another pathetic power trip from the world of football. Surrey Mirror is right to carry on regardless.

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  • December 9, 2015 at 10:14 am
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    A prime example of why British sport has lost its competitive edge. No-one must be seen to lose. For heaven’s sake! Perhaps the FA would prefer the national team’s failures, sorry, non-winning performances, to be ignored by the press too.

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  • December 9, 2015 at 10:47 am
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    “[we] concluded that where there are one-sided score lines…” … how can a win or loss not be a one-sided score? And will the FA allow draws to be recorded?

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  • December 9, 2015 at 10:57 am
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    This is hardly news and has been the case for a few years with the intention of encouraging skill over results-led performance in the youngest age groups and to encourage increased participation.
    It is a recommended practice not to play competitively until past the age of 10 and most leagues abide. If you want to know the reasons, look at the under 8, 8,9,10 clipboard wielding ‘coaches’ poaching kids for their teams while scores of others never get to kick a ball.
    Then look at the drop-out rate when they get to 14 with shelves of plastic medals and two knackered knees!
    It is not a ‘banning,’ it is a request and leagues are supposed to subscribe to the recommendations and to subscribe to match reports slagging off refs and the rest, hardly to the betterment of the game in this country.
    If you want to know the basic premise for it all, just repeat: ‘1966!’

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  • December 9, 2015 at 11:45 am
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    My son plays at U8 level and they are not allowed to have ‘results’ until they are older. I totally agree with the FA’s policy and shame on the clubs who send in reports with scores in them. We need to stop concentrating on the results, and concentrate on technique, team-work,etc, in the early years of a player’s development.

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  • December 9, 2015 at 1:53 pm
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    I used to collate the youth football results and every week the same team would be getting thumped 10-0, 12-0, 14-0 etc but their manager would always send in a report and praise the players who had tried hard. After a while I decided to do a feature on them and mini-profiles on the team and they were happy to go along with it. Guess what? The following season they won their first game and a couple of others and within two seasons they were winning their league and it was all the better for knowing how they had struggled at the start. In schools we always tell kids to be resilient and try to overcome adversity and well done to the paper for carrying on.

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  • December 9, 2015 at 2:14 pm
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    I think this is scandalous. I’m a grandparent. I remember my parents were over the moon when my name appeared in our local Ross-shire Journal for the occasions I achieved on the sports field – usually the sack race at Tain Primary School.

    There was no jealousy then when my school pals achieved must greater accolades for their sporting successes

    I was hopeless at sport but the others were great at their’s

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  • December 9, 2015 at 3:32 pm
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    Hasn’t anyone told the FA it’s not the winning that matters but the taking part ? Silliest thing I’ve heard since the EU tried to standardise fish and chips and ban newspaper delivery boys and girls.

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  • December 9, 2015 at 3:41 pm
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    As a Newcastle fan, I sincerely hope the FA extends this ban to the professional game as a matter of urgency.

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  • December 9, 2015 at 4:47 pm
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    The basic idea is possibly good so as to not put off very young kids playing football. It’s hardly new but it’s getting a bit silly now. The fact is simple: sport is conpetitive. Winners and losers I’m afraid. On one hand this idea protects the youngsters on the losing team but what if their goalie is heroic or their striker scores a hat-trick in a 4-3 defeat? Or the left back is outstanding? Surely they deserve recognition? And surely the winners do too? Of course they do. And let’s be honest, the FA can’t ban results being published, they can only advise or request. Rather than a futile attempt to ‘ban’ results being published in local papers perhaps the FA should take positive steps to ban obsessive and bullying parents from the touchline.

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  • December 9, 2015 at 5:49 pm
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    Here are this week’s politically correct football results:

    Kiddy Rovers 1 Youngsters United 1
    Baby Faces 1 Lads Athletic 1
    Toddlers United 1 Kids City 1
    Juniors 1 Little Tykes 1

    All other results withheld due to one sided shorelines!

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  • December 9, 2015 at 7:44 pm
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    My old rag used to receive 500 word reports on under 11s matches. If they were desperate, and they usually were because of staff shortages, they ran them, usually without editing. Ego tripping for kids!

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  • December 9, 2015 at 7:47 pm
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    Sport and competition really does teach you about life. Some you win, when you don’t deserve to, and some you lose, when you deserve to win. A lesson for all kids.

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  • December 10, 2015 at 8:14 am
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    This sentiment started a few years ago, whipped up by internet prattle (like so many of these things are). I used to get occasional letters from moaners complaining about innocuous phrases in football reports, trying to create trouble where there was none. When my youngest son played for a youth team, as soon as they discovered I was a journo they fell upon me, desperate for reports in the local rag. I could write it up in five minutes so it was not a problem. Most of the teams love seeing all the names in print. The FA have caved-in to mock-pc mass hysteria, the same kind of nonsense that has busy body school secretaries making up policy about naming kids or only picturing the back of their heads. Of course reports have to be fun and restrained at that level. Well done to this paper for taking a reasonable line. And what’s all this about “penalties” imposed by the FA if their “directive” is broken? This is the FA, folks, not the Nuremberg Trials.

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  • December 10, 2015 at 11:30 am
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    Has the FA not stopped to think that while its pathetic attempt to ban the football results may result in some newspapers meekly accepting the “ruling” it can’t stop parents and other onlookers from talking about it. There is too much “banning” in our world and not enough “promoting”. Down with the “we know best” politically correct brigade.

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