Norfolk FA to stage series of roadshows to try and breathe new life into local football
- Credit: IAN BURT
Sports reporter Mark Armstrong talks to Shaun Turner about how the Norfolk FA chief executive seeks to breathe new life into local football
Norfolk FA is staging a series of roadshows to highlight proposals aiming to arrest the decline in grassroots football across the county.
After digesting an all-encompassing survey asking why there had been a five per cent drop in the number of teams affiliated to Norfolk FA, chief executive Shaun Turner and his band of merry men have formulated ideas to attract players back into the game.
The next few weeks will be vital if the raft of changes proposed can be implemented for next season.
The proposals can be boiled down into three key elements.
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Cost – 'breaking the myth' the game has become too expensive to play and regionalising leagues to cut down on journey time.
Standardisation – rules and fees to be the same across the board at adult and youth level.
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Referees – improving standards
However, Turner acknowledges that key to these proposals is how they are presented to individuals. Not everything will be popular with everybody but Turner hopes people bear in mind that it is the 1,400 players that took part in the survey that have asked for these changes as Norfolk FA looks to protect the game loved by so many in the county.
People will have three chances to have their say at the roadshows, which will take place at:
Fakenham Town FC – Thursday, February 27, 7-9pm
Football Development Centre, Norwich – Monday, March 3, 7-9pm
Lynn Grove High School, Gorleston – Tuesday, March 4, 7-9pm
Turner hopes people take the time to come and have their say on the proposals. If there is a level of apathy towards the game then that five per cent figure is only going to increase over the years.
'We are going to see what it looks like from the roadshows – if we get 100 people turn up at every roadshow we know there is some interest out there,' he said. 'If we get 10 people turn up then we know that there is very little interest in the regulatory side of things. If that's the case then I suppose people have to accept what the rules are and can't whinge about them.
'We want to try and educate and try to get people to come and have their say. At the roadshows it's not going to be about whinging about what happened 15 years ago. It's about dealing with what we've got now and how we can make it better moving forward. Too many people in football love to chat about the old days and say how great it was. The old days are gone – we're in 2014 so we need to talk about 2014 onwards.'
Key to sustaining the proposals will be in the FA's communication to the players and educating them on how the regulatory side of football should proceed. 'There will be complications – that's why we're trying to get the information out there to the players,' added Turner. 'Through our player database we can better educate them. Without them we don't have a game.'