JUNIOR football around the Wakefield district will receive an overhaul after the Football Association (FA) voted in favour of sweeping changes.
FA shareholders voted overwhelmingly in favour (87 per cent) of introducing major changes to the way youth football is run across the country.
The changes are designed to help improve the technique of the country’s stars of the future rather than placing the emphasis on winning and losing.
It’ll mean young players playing on smaller pitches with smaller goals and less players to allow more touches and involvement.
The reforms mean players won’t compete in 11-a-side matches until they’re 13.
“These changes are a massive step forward for the future of children’s football in this country,” said Nick Levett, he FA’s national development manager for youth football.
“This is about grassroots football but also a 15 to 20-year programme for long-term player development, ultimately to help produce players to support the professional game and England team.”
Levett says the FA received feedback from a number of junior teams and players to help create the new junior football framework.
Among the proposals are that five-a-side matches will be mandatory for under-7s and U8s age groups.
Pitch sizes will match up to age groups and U11 and U12 matches will be played nine-a-side before U13s started on eleven-a-side pitches.
Leagues will also change from adult-length season-long campaigns to shorter competitions.
And parents and coaches will be encouraged against a ‘win at all costs’ approach to matches and competitions.
The changes will be introduced gradually, with the first full season of them being implemented the 2014-15 season.
See this week’s Wakefield Express for all the latest sports news from around the district.