Norfolk FA chief looking to solve the decline of clubs

Norfolk football authorities want to get the game on a solid footing. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Norfolk football authorities want to get the game on a solid footing. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016

Norfolk's footballing community is being asked to help reverse the decline in the number of local clubs.

The county's Football Association has published a wide-ranging questionnaire as they bid to beat the trend.

Starkly titled 'Why is the Grassroots Game dying?', the survey is available for all players, management teams, volunteers, officials, parents and spectators in the county.

It follows what the FA says is a steady decline in the number of adult clubs and an increase in incidences of teams folding over the past few seasons.

Norfolk FA chief executive Shaun Turner said: 'The launch of this survey is a strategic piece of work which will pull together months of research and discussions with various local football bodies and individuals, coupled with using the findings from the 2013/14 survey.

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'It is hoped that our grassroots community will take the opportunity to give us their honest views on how we can stop this worrying and ongoing decline in our traditional adult game.

'At a time when the world is such a demanding place, with so many other things going on in people's lives, we are trying to understand what needs to change to increase participation numbers in the county.

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'We hope that the fantastic volunteer workforce, the players, coaches, spectators, referees, administrators and anyone who cares about the grassroots game in Norfolk, will take 15 minutes out of their busy schedules to help us identify what needs to be done to buck the trend and increase numbers again for future seasons.

'We know people have varying opinions of our great game, its governance structures nationally and locally, the money in the professional game along with England's recent lack of tournament success, all of which are just some of the reasons that makes our national game so great; we just hope individuals take this opportunity to share their respected views with us via the survey.

'If everybody involved locally works together and pulls in the same direction we have a real opportunity to make a difference for future seasons and to ensure the game is in a good and better position for the next generation of participants.'

The survey includes questions on the price of playing football, what players believe is a reasonable match fee, whether or not the current disciplinary system is fit for purpose and if sin bins would improve on-field discipline.

There are 29 sections, which culminates in a bonus prize draw for taking part.

The Norwich and District Sunday League has seen clubs fall by the wayside in recent years and secretary Ben Casey has urged its players to have their say.

'We all know that the beautiful game that we love, is struggling at grassroots level, for reasons that nobody has a definitive answer for,' he said.

'To this end, rather than sit back and accept it, the County FA are conducting a survey, asking clubs, players, official, supporters and everyone else, for their opinions on the decline and what we can do about it.

'Please can I ask you on behalf of the league, to spend 10 minutes of your time filling in the survey.

'If, as I know you do, care about this decline, every question answered will be a help in the challenge we face against this serious problem to our game.'

The survey will be available on the FA website at until midnight on Friday, January 27 – it can also be completed verbally over the phone by calling county HQ on 01603 704050 or in paper format by calling the same number

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