For me to write a post about football (or Soccer if you prefer) – even on a Friday – is a pretty odd occurrence. I played Rugby instead and I’m not even an armchair fan of the game – would rather watch Motor Racing. I belong to that contingent who are pleased that England aren’t in the European championships (and no I don’t mean "Scots" by that). With EU employment law used to remove the requirement to have home grown players, and the Top clubs awash with TV money (Rupert Murdoch famously called sport "a battering ram" to get his satellite TV into homes) so they can buy the best players from anywhere the poor state of the national side can’t really come as a surprise.
The football association – oddly – has the job of looking after the super rich clubs, the national team and the grass roots: things like children’s football. And the last is something I do something about. A year or so ago one of the Fathers at my daughters school decided it was high time we had a village team* and set about getting a mixed under 8s team together. Some of the team members would have qualified for under 7s. Sadly, after a year the team looks like it might not have a future because only allow 8 year olds will be allowed to play in the under 9s group. The village it looks as if the Village won’t be able to muster enough 8 year olds,nor enough 7 year olds to have a team in either group. Today the BBC has a news story "Football leagues ban for Under 8s" So I wonder if the rule is that under 8s can’t play in competitive league – so this is only a quirk of the under 9s bracket.
Under 8s football will still have goals, the teams will keep track of who scores the most goals. So each game will be every bit as competitive (we won’t get the spectacle of the uber-PC sports day where children can not race each other – even though they race in the playground every other day of the school year). Organization of fixtures means that the teams will all play each other; yet tabulating the results is frowned upon. "The FA said there was too much emphasis on winning leagues, when the need was to improve youngsters’ skills." One has to ask how one goes about winning a league without skills. Where would are national team be if they didn’t worry about results as whole ? Sitting at home watching the European championship on TV probably.
*Update. Both our coaches had to go through CRB checks – see this story – one more barrier to getting anything off the ground.