Reader Mike Holmes believes there are serious problems within Norfolk in terms of the decline of adult 11 a-side football.

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In your report this week, Greg Dyke, chairman of the Football Association, compliments Norfolk FA and indeed praises the county officials for the undoubted quality of the facilities at Bowthorpe.

He has been lulled into a false sense of security about the situation. In fact, there are serious problems within the county in terms of the rapid decline of adult 11 a-side football.

Of course junior football seems to be thriving and the facilities countywide are generally good for that. The real problems are within the adult game. Adult football is dying a slow death at grass roots level and I am most surprised that Norfolk County officials have not been saying more about it.

We know that there are 60,000 fewer adults playing the game 12 months on from the Olympics so what planet does the FA chairman come from? It is actually Mr Dyke’s FA which is seriously contributing to the demise of grass-roots adult football nationwide. There are serious issues.

Rules governing the game at the very pinnacle of the sport (Premier and Championship for example) are draconian when applied at grass-roots levels, with repercussions that are driving adult players from the game. As an example, there is no right for a player to appeal against errors of, perhaps, refereeing judgment unless that appeal is accompanied by video evidence. What sense does that make when applied to local and cash-strapped adult football?

Examples like this of the lack of understanding by the likes of Greg Dyke’s Football Association are the true reasons for the downward spiral of adult players. This doesn’t necessarily apply to junior players — at the moment!

Mike Holmes, Sheringham.

3 comments

  • I think that it reflects a change in working patterns-more weekend work- and that young men are quite rightly sharing the burden of childcare and household duties with their working partners. For too long men have been able to indulge their hobbies at weekends while women pick up the slack There is no reason why sporting facilities for adult males should be provided out of public spending out of proportion to that spent on women's sports, nor why footballers cant pay the whole cost of their sport i the same way that horse riders or gym members do.

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    Daisy Roots

    Sunday, January 26, 2014

  • Yes working patterns may be a small part of the problem. However a more alarming reason could be the integration of youth into adult football. As an example my son played many season as a youth until Under 16s when the youth league finishes. He then signed the following season for a local Saturday mens team, along with a few of his mates. Despite attending training for 2 or 3 months he was not selected for the mens team. The club appeared to want to select the older experienced players who have played together before and were unwilling to give the boys a try. Hence my son and his mates drifted away, to end up playing 5 a side games on one or two evenings per week. Therein lies the problem.

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    Bruce87

    Sunday, January 26, 2014

  • Not only work patterns but the outlay for village clubs for the costs of pitches, maintenance, kit, travel, insurance and draconian laws of the game When you consider that a certain Mr Rooney has now negotiated a weekly wage of £300,000 it would appear that as usual the FA has lost tough with grass roots football We are lucky to scrape together a team and then obtain a match fee from our players towards the cost of a referee I would like to know how much the Greg Dyke experience cost the Norfolk FA as they no doubt also entertained him?

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    Claire Voyant

    Sunday, January 26, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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