Norfolk FA determined to ‘break the myth’ around cost of playing football

Norfolk and District Sunday League Cup Final between Acle Rangers ( yellow/blue )v AFC Wanderers. Ph

Norfolk and District Sunday League Cup Final between Acle Rangers ( yellow/blue )v AFC Wanderers. Photo: Steve Adams

Norfolk FA is looking to 'break down the myths' surrounding the cost of local football.

After the survey revealed many players in Norfolk felt the game had become too expensive at grassroots level, the FA set about analysing how much it costs each player to have a game every weekend.

All factors were considered and the FA averaged out a figure of £5 to ensure all running costs for the club were covered.

The FA argue, with good reason, that other activities people get up to at the weekend provide far less value for money and have started a campaign highlighting this.

'There is a flyer that we will be sharing asking how much it actually costs to have a game,' said chief executive, Shaun Turner. 'We looked at everything from the Anglian Combination First Division downwards and worked out that it actually only costs a fiver to play football every week.

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'I don't honestly think there's a lot you can do for a fiver – if you want to bowl it's £10.50, if you want a pint of beer it's £4, if you want to go to a nightclub it's £7 to get in. We've tried to put it into context that football isn't expensive when it's played correctly.

'We've obviously had to take an average of fees because we appreciate pitch hire might be more expensive in Norwich than it is in King's Lynn for example but we feel £5 is about right.'

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Turner believes the majority of clubs must become stricter in collecting subs fees from their players. Too often players forget to pay and it often falls upon the club to make up the shortfall at the end of the season leaving them in debt.

This has to change, according to Turner and the FA has struck a deal with Barclays to provide free banking to clubs.

Clubs can then give their players the opportunity to pay directly into this account, thus making the administration that much easier for club secretaries.

'The biggest thing we've come across is that for whatever reason some clubs struggle to take money off the players,' said Turner.

'We need to educate people and modernise clubs that can cause their own problems at times by not collecting the money.

'If we can get a system in place where we are strict and everyone pays their money. We're not saying it should be a fiver – that's just the average we have worked out.

'Can it be we can get players to transfer money electronically? Can we get players to set up a direct debit? Can they pay two lump sums during the season?'

Turner insists clubs won't be forced to go digital in their administration but hopes to incentivise those that do.

'We will never force anyone to run their entire club online,' he added. 'What we're trying to do is incentivise people to use it online – we're not sure how we're going to do that yet – it might be financially, it might be in kit. 'For the traditionalist that wants to do everything by cheque and come into the office that option will always be available because they are as important as people who can embrace the smartphone etc.

'But we will be incentivising to go online because it saves everyone time and money.'

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