Tag: Football

Breaking News – FA & PFA Commission Dementia Link with Football

The Football Association and the Professional Footballers’ Association have appointed Dr William Stewart and colleagues at the University of Glasgow and the Hampden Sports Clinic to lead an independent research study into the incidence of degenerative neurocognitive disease in ex-professional footballers.

Following two years of research and development The FA and the PFA have today confirmed the next step in their commitment to commissioning an evidence-based study into the long-term effects of participation in football. This new study, titled ‘Football’s Influence on Lifelong Health and Dementia Risk’ [FIELD], is scheduled to start in January 2018.

The appointment of the research team, led by Dr William Stewart, was made by The FA Expert Panel in Concussion following an open tender process to agree the parameters of the new independent research. Dr Stewart and colleagues in Glasgow have extensive research expertise in brain injury, public health and sports medicine.

They have been tasked with conducting studies to address the question: ‘Is the incidence of degenerative neurocognitive disease more common in ex-professional footballers than in the normal population?’

 The FIELD study is designed to look at a wide range of physical and mental health outcomes, including neurodegenerative disease, in approximately 15,000 former professional footballers and compare these results to matched general population health data.

 Dr William Stewart, Consultant Neuropathologist at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow, said: “In the past decade there have been growing concerns around perceived increased risk of dementia through participation in contact sports, however, research data to support and quantify this risk have been lacking.

“Through the FIELD study we hope to be able to provide some understanding of the long-term health impact of football within the next two to three years.”

Martin Glenn, FA Chief Executive, added: “This new research will be one the most comprehensive studies ever commissioned into the long-term health of former footballers. Dementia can have a devastating effect and, as the governing body of English football, we felt compelled to commission a significant new study in order to fully understand if there are any potential risks associated with playing the game.

“The FA’s Head of Medicine, Dr Charlotte Cowie, has been instrumental in commissioning this research and also ensuring that the study will be both objective and rigorous.”

Gordon Taylor OBE, PFA Chief Executive, said: “The PFA is and always has been committed to a duty of care for all past, current and future members and has lobbied the football authorities to join with us on all aspects of health and safety. The regulations in place for concussion and heart screening are testimony to this. Neurological problems in later life which may be connected to concussion, head injuries and heading the ball have been on our agenda for the last twenty years.

“Research undertaken so far has been inconclusive and we are now fully appreciative of The FA’s support in establishing a robust, comprehensive research strategy which will help determine whether the incidence of degenerative neurocognitive disease is more common in former professional footballers than in the normal population. In the meantime we will continue to offer help to all our former members and families in a variety of ways.”

The FA and the PFA will jointly-fund the research and the sports concussion research charity The Drake Foundation will project manage the study, adding another level of independence and credibility to the findings. The Drake Foundation was founded in 2014 and is a leading authority on head injuries in sport, committed to improving evidence-based measures for the understanding of head injuries in sport, based on scientific research and insight.

Dr William Stewart was one of the founder members of The FA Expert Panel in Concussion, which was established in 2015 to share expertise and knowledge in this area. During the tender and consultation process for this new research study, Dr Stewart stepped away from his role on the Panel prior to this research call to protect the integrity of the submission and selection process.

Peter Hamlyn MBBS BSc MD FRCS FISM a leading consultant spinal and neurological surgeon and Chair of The FA Expert Panel in Concussion said: “When the Panel was brought together two years ago, our first focus was to ensure that football had appropriate protocols and guidelines on concussion. These were published and distributed to every club in the country for the professional and grassroots game.

“We then turned our attention to potential long-term neurological effects of careers in football. There have been many previous studies all of which have proved inconclusive in regards even the most basic questions. So we have focused our initial endeavour on answering whether footballers are indeed more likely to suffer long-term brain injuries than the general population. Only by conclusively knowing this can we make progress. We hope this new study will provide a much needed leap forward in our understanding.”

 

WE WELCOME NEW LAW REGARDING DISPLAY OF THE POPPY AHEAD OF NOVEMBER INTERNATIONALS

The four football associations of the home nations (The FA, FA Wales, Scottish FA and Irish FA) welcome the new clarification on Law 4, issued on 26 September 2017 by The International Football Association Board (The IFAB), in close cooperation and agreement with FIFA, governing what can and cannot be worn on players’ shirts.

It was important that clarity was brought to this issue as it affects many football matches/competitions throughout the world and is particularly helpful in relation to remembrance and poppies.

In any year when there are international matches in the week leading up to and including Remembrance Sunday, it is the intention of all four home nations to seek permission from the opposition team and FIFA (as the authority responsible for those matches) to display the poppy on armbands.

“WHEN ARE WE HAVING A GAME?”

“When are we having a game?” – I’d be willing to bet that this is the question that coaches up and down the country probably get asked most often.

Why is this? Don’t these kids realise how much time and effort we’ve put into researching and planning this nice, neat and tidy drill? Those six words are enough to sink the spirit of the most well-intentioned.

What is a game?

Noun: 

1. A form of competitive activity or sport played according to rules.

2. An activity that one engages in for amusement.

A game in a coaching context isn’t necessarily ‘the game’ – the version they experience on a weekend. Although, it may well be. A game, simply, may be a practice that has rules, some form of scoring system and/or competition.

Why use games?

Unlike repetitive drills, the decisions that the players make in games are not pre-determined by the practice or the coach and the outcomes are uncertain. A bit like a match.

Games provide excitement through their realism and they engage. They can be manipulated to challenge the players appropriately.

A game in a coaching context isn’t necessarily ‘the game’ – the version they experience on the weekend.

These ingredients of freedom offer a glimpse as to why games are so enjoyable.

‘I’m going to stop learning this because it’s too much fun,’ said no-one, ever! Games give the players the opportunity to develop their craft for the match.

A few years ago, as a frustrated high handicap golfer, I figured out the main reason (among many!) that was stopping my aspiring path to single figures – my short game.

The constant, repetitive drills I was practising ripped straight off YouTube we’re bringing short term success on the practice range but my handicap remained closer to my age than I wanted. I couldn’t repeat it when it mattered.

A friend then recommended some simple chipping games. They provided me with variety, fun, challenge and engagement. I found myself regularly in states of flow in practice where hours went by without me noticing. I was competing. Against myself. Trying to beat the game.

If us adults weren’t around, games are what the players would play. Ever remember queuing up ten deep or standing in nice neat lines during break time at school? Nor me. Remember Wembley Doubles, Heads and Volleys, Three-and-in and everything else we played on the street? Me too. There was a reason for this. We were, perhaps unintentionally, developing our craft.

So what are we to do?

It’s training night and the parents and players have arrived. The latter giddy with excitement. The former interested to see what practices we have prepared to teach to their sons and daughters.

We need to reassure the parents that developing players learn best through games. That such practices will often look chaotic and messy instead of being tidy and regimented. A bit like a match.

Keep it simple. One of the reasons why our beautiful game is the world’s most popular sport is due to its simplicity. Two teams, two goals, one ball.

The same can be said for the practices that we design for our players to learn from. If in doubt, think ‘how might I add simple rules, scoring and competition?’ Or even ask the players what they would do. They may surprise us.

Maybe where we’ve gone wrong in the past is because we’ve used ‘the game’ as a carrot – ‘If you’re good and do these drills then we’ll have a game at the end.’

Or ‘It’s your game time at the end you’re wasting.’ This carrot is one that is often dangled until the end of the session. Until we feel as though we’ve got what we want from the session.

Games can take place whenever possible – not just at the end of a session as a carrot for good behaviour

I’ve often had coaches ask me why their players’ behaviour is erratic until they have a game. The irony is that the thing we are trying to help the players get better at (‘the game’) is the thing that we often try to use to control their behaviour. The thing that we don’t feel that they’ve earned until they’ve ‘mastered the basics’.

Why is this practice so common? It’s similar to telling children that ‘if you’re good and eat all your vegetables then you’ll get a desert.’ (Is it any wonder that vegetables – and indeed repetitive drills – have such a bad name among so many kids?).

What this tradition of coaching practice also does is wait until the players are more fatigued – at the end of the session – until they start practicing the things that they are more likely to be repeating at the weekend.

‘We do not rise to the level of our expectations. We fall to the level of our training.’ – Archilochus, Greek Soldier, 650 BC

So when are we having a game?

Whenever possible.

I set myself a challenge some years back now to eradicate this question from my coaching. The players I’m lucky enough to work with currently trust that our practices will be all about games.

I’ve noticed that players who are trained on a diet of games arrive at training much more relaxed as they know that their session is not about to be dominated by the coach and they will have the chance to apply and expend their stored creative energy.

About The Author

Name: Jack Walton

Title: regional coach development manager

Follow: @jackwalton1

Kids “released” age 9 in Grassroots, really!!!

Right where do I start?

For over a decade I have been involved in the local football league. During this period I have spent time as a coach, mentor, referee, physio, kit man, refreshments stall worker etc. For the past two years I’ve been spending my Sundays as a League Rep at local youth games.

Recently I came across a team I briefly coached a couple of years ago. Lads of 9 years age now but I noticed a couple of the lads I remembered were missing. I asked some of the parents where these lads were. I assumed they had been lured away by the modern life of computer games and had lost interest in football. A parent rather sheepishly told me that they had been ‘released’ as they weren’t of the standard of the others. I asked them if they thought that was fair to them. The parent agreed it was slightly underhand but understood the coach’s views.

My response was “the team has a coach”? The parent was taken aback and I carried on by telling him that if he was any kind of coach then dropping kids and replacing them with better ability kids isn’t coaching. A coach can bring out ability. I’m not saying a Pele can be created from nothing but given good coaching a kid can be taught to play the game well. These kids who were cast aside were good kids with equally good parents and it makes me genuinely sad to think these kids have been removed from a team with their mates due to the fact that their coach lacks the skills to develop them. I left the parents with a warning that a coach with such a big ego will always be looking for better players and to watch their backs because if their kids fail to perform their coach won’t have any hesitation in replacing them too.

This sadly happens all too often and these coaches should hang their heads in shame. They bandy words like ‘development’ and ‘respect’ around……………..rubbish, talk is cheap and their actions speak far louder than their hypocritical rhetoric. Hats off to the genuine coaches out there developing kids with skills and attributes that will enhance their lives rather than the ‘poach not coach’ types so desperate to win games to massage their egos. I’m afraid the youth football at grassroots level is in a dire situation in this country. A huge shake up is needed and despite the FA guidleines and good practice ethics these egomaniac coaches exist in huge numbers up and down the country.

Yours in Sport

Phil

Under 16s game abandoned as match descends into chaos as Police are called

A junior football match descended into violence after a referee sent off parents at the weekend, the incident which occurred at Blackburn Central High School involving 2 U16s teams on Saturday sparked calls for police to attend

Police said they were called to the incident at around 10.50am after a fight broke out between approximately 20 people including both adults and children.

The incident at the school off Haslingden Road has also been reported to the Lancashire FA. Police said no arrests were made but several people were spoken to after the incident.

A police spokesman said: “A fight broke out at a youth football game between two local teams, It was a public order offence and around 20 people both adults and children were involved. Three people were identified by police and had to be spoken to about the incident, No arrests have been made at this stage.”

Download the Grassroots Report It APP Here

On the Bolton, Bury and District Football League the match is listed as abandoned. The incident has been reported to the Local County FA and we understand there is a police investigation ongoing.

At this time we cannot comment further on the incident however we will update in due course.

Today’s reports are rare in comparison to the number of games played without incident. Although incidents of verbal abuse are currently at unacceptable levels and much more work needs to be addressed in this area, the reported levels of violence remains extremely low.

We know a lot of parents are passionate when watching their child play, and sadly that passion can manifest into incidents where referees have been verbally abused or anger has flared between parents.
This kind of behaviour can not and should not be condoned – however it is extremely rare to view extreme violence at a grassroots football match and there are a lot more positives associated with grassroots football that unfortunately does not get the coverage it deserves.

 

‘Why do I only come on if we’re winning by loads or losing by loads?’

So why did I want to be a football coach and what did I think I would get out of it? The answer is not as simple as you might think. Actually it’s a bloody tough one to consider but I’ll try and be as honest as I can. When a parent looks over and notices that their child is a substitute it’s not a nice feeling. No parent ever hopes that their child will not be in the starting line-up. Internally you rationalise that it will be one of life’s lessons, or you might tell yourself that it is in the interest of fairness, and everyone must accept that they can’t play every game. It’s a fair selection process, nothing more and next week it will be someone else’s turn to sit it out.

But if you see this happen week after week it starts to become an emotional burden and difficult to bear witness to. After all, you live with this budding Lionel Messi; you’re the one who notices where he’s put his favourite teams’ calendar pride of place just where he can see it before he goes to sleep at night in his bedroom. The excited young wide eyed boy that asks you if you think they’ll play today as he busily struggles to get his socks over his shin pads. When my own son was 8 I asked him what he wanted to do when he left school. He told me he’d be a bus driver through the week and play for Manchester City at weekend. Innocence is a beautiful thing in children; everything is so black and white. Life is simple and anything is possible. How utterly disheartening then when you see that it is your child, yet again that is keeping his squad jacket on, that is freezing on the touchline patiently waiting for his coach to tell him to get warmed up.

It’s even worse if your son like mine, is the sort who will just stand there until he’s told to warm up. He would never dream of asking his manager when he’s going on. The car journey on the way home becomes abject misery. At first you can tell them that they’ll get their chance eventually. Then you tell them if they work hard, and keep trying, their chance will come. Then if you’re stupid like me, you’ll tell them it’s because they are not working hard enough. Our journey from hell was after a game for under 11’s in December 2013. It was a miserable wet and cold slate grey Manchester morning. The team were at home entertaining a local rival. I looked over as the lads warmed up with Coach hoping that my son might finally get to start a game.

He wasn’t their best player but he wasn’t their worst either. Not that that should matter. The parents were huddled closer than might be considered comfortable due the biting wind that was driving the Manchester rain into our faces. We were cold but at least we were dressed for it. The lads on the pitch were ringing wet through even in their training coats, and by now as muddy as they would have been if they’d have just played a full game. The referee, who looked about 90, and had the whitest skin I’ve ever seen, seemed not to notice the weather at all and offered a casual ‘morning’ to the Captain and the clad ensemble of parents that were eager for the game to get going. ‘Ref any chance of 5 minutes each way in this?’ one of the parents shouted, but the ref didn’t respond he was busy getting his linesman flags out of his bag. It is at this point as a parent that you have got to have your wits about you.

If you’re caught off guard and not paying full attention, you will eventually look up to see a referees flag practically shoved up your nose, and a ‘appreciate that, thanks’ message from the ref who has spun so quickly on his haunches, you can’t even recall the moment you accepted the flag into your hand. So that’s what Derren Brown does with his Saturday mornings….. Any attempt to pass the flag on yourself is rendered futile because, at that moment as you look at all the other dads, you realise that you are actually alone, and every other man and his dog has retreated to a safe distance of roughly fifteen feet away. ‘You X%$?X’ I turn to my wife and say pathetically, ‘I’ve got to do the flag again’ ‘mmm, you’ve made more appearances with that flag than our son has played all season’. I look at her apologetically, ‘get someone else to do it for a change’ she instructs. The dads looked at me apologetically, but not apologetically enough to actually take the flag. Derren Brown’s whistle signals kick off, I hastily get into position as linesman and look around the pitch for my son. He isn’t there, I look over at Coach and, oh yes there he is, the one shivering behind the other three subs. The game was 1-1 at half time which I knew meant that he wouldn’t be coming on any time soon.

Most of the parents including my wife had retreated to the safety of some trees to shelter from the downpour. I however had official flag business to attend to. I stood miserable and cold on one side of the pitch while my son was no doubt doing the same on the other. The second half saw us score another goal with just 10 minutes left. Great for the team but not so great for the subs. Coach did his best to get the lads on before the final whistle which saw my sons stats as “played 60 seconds, touches 0” As I walked towards the ref to give him his flag I heard him say to my boy ‘well played there young un’. I didn’t speak to coach after the game and we didn’t wait for his team talk.

The three of us just trudged to the car wet through and freezing cold. In the car he started pushing all the right buttons, ‘Why am I sub every week? ‘Why do I only come on if we are winning by loads or losing by loads?’

Why why why….

He was right of course, why indeed?

But I was as fed up about it as he was. I didn’t want see other people’s kids playing football every week. And so I snapped, at my ten year old son, who just wanted to be in a team, play football and drive buses.

Anon

Respect – FA announce 75% discount off Respect equipment

The grassroots football season has begun with a huge and refreshed push by The FA and Football Foundation on the Respect scheme to ensure that football – both on and off the pitch – continues to be enjoyable, inclusive and a positive experience For All.

This scheme offers clubs, leagues and schools with the opportunity to purchase Respect equipment which, if used effectively, will help us to achieve this.

Equipment is currently available at a substantially discounted rate for only a six-week period. Each are able to take advantage now and apply for a voucher which offers a 75% discount, until 8 October 2017. From 9 October, the vouchers will revert back to a 50% discount.

Are you eligible?

The scheme is open to:

  • FA affiliated clubs
  • FA affiliated leagues
  • Schools based in England

You may submit one application to the scheme per season.

Complete the application form

We accept applications to the Respect scheme all year round.

In order to complete the application form you will need a valid affiliation number for your club or league, or your school’s Edubase number.

Please complete the Respect Equipment Application form to apply for a voucher.

Complete the Respect Equipment Application form

Mini Soccer Summer Festival Under 8’s

Tournament Name: Mini Soccer Summer Festival Under 8’s
Tournament Date: 27/08/2017
Tournament Organiser: Micky Tully
Tournament Web Address: www.goalsfootball.co.uk
Team Age Groups: Under 8’s
Entry Fee per team: £15.00
Tournament Email Address: newcastle@goalsfootball.co.uk
Address 1: Goals Newcastle
Address 2: High Gosforth Park
Town: Newcastle Upon Tyne
Post Code: NE3 5HP
Tournament Image: Slide1_nd1yv9.jpg
Tournament Information: Summer Festival will run from 10am-2pm, Food & Drinks available throughout the event, Free parking onsite, Winners/Runners up trophies & medals.

RUTHERFORD AFC U7’S AND 8’S

Tournament Name: Rutherford AFC
Tournament Date: 27/08/2017
Tournament Organiser: steve graham
Tournament Web Address: www.rutherfordfc.co.uk
Team Age Groups: Under 7’s, Under 8’s
Entry Fee per team: £25
Tournament Email Address: steveg1985@aol.com
Address 1: farnacres, coach road
Address 2: Lobley Hill
Town: Gateshead
Post Code: ne11 0hh
Tournament Information: under 7s 9-1
under 8s 1-5
hot foot available
free parking

Allendale Junior Football Festival

Tournament Name: Allendale Junior Football Festival
Tournament Date: 05/08/2017
Tournament Organiser: John Martin
Tournament Web Address: www.allendalefootballclub.co.uk
Team Age Groups: Under 8’s, Under 9’s, Under 10’s, Under 11’s, Under 14’s
Entry Fee per team: 30
Tournament Email Address: allendalefootballclub@gmail.com
Address 1: Allendale Sports CLub
Address 2: Allen Mill Cottages
Town: Allendale (Hexham)
Post Code: NE47 9EQ
Tournament Image: U8_sm3wkk.jpg
Tournament Information: We are looking to run separate competitions for each of the following age groups:

Under 8s, 9s, 10s, 11s & 14s – Please note that the age groups are based on next season’s (2017/18).

Format of 5 aside for the under 8s and 7 aside for the remaining age groups.

Maximum squad sizes will be 10 per team.

As in previous years, we’ll structure the day in two halves with several of the age groups playing simultaneously in the morning and then the other age groups in the afternoon. Once we’ve got a feel for numbers of teams for each age group we’ll communicate if they are playing in the morning or afternoon session. When you are submitting your team entry, please specify if you prefer morning or afternoon and we will try to accommodate where possible.

Start time for the morning session is usually around 9.30am and 1.00pm for the afternoon, with the whole day wrapped up by 5.00pm.

The cost of entering will be £30 per team.

In order to secure a place, can I ask that you kindly

1.confirm by email if you wish to enter a team(s) and for which age groups (please note these should be based on next season’s age group)

I will write again just after the 8th July to confirm your place and finalised format.

Inclusive Utd introduces thousands to football

More than 3,000 disabled people have become involved in football as a result of FA-led grassroots project, Inclusive United.

A joint partnership between The FA and Wembley National Stadium Trust, Inclusive United was set up to engage and sustain the participation of disabled people in football by offering greater and more inclusive opportunities to become physically active in London.

Back in 2012, 15 of the capital’s professional football clubs’ community trusts – including Arsenal Community, Leyton Orient Trust and the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation – came together to form a partnership, which was subsequently tasked with delivery of the Inclusive United project.

In Numbers

  • £430,000 – Funds invested over three years by The FA and WNST
  • 3,057 – disabled individuals have taken part
  • 150 – 20-week programmes delivered across 12 professional clubs
  • 81 – new teams created

Since then – between 2013 and 2016 – 150 separate programmes have been delivered across 12 professional football clubs.

In addition, 81 new teams have been created and the project has enabled 613 trained individuals to increase and improve opportunities for disabled people through coaching and mentoring.

Fiona Kingsley, a children’s occupational therapy clinical lead, working with the Leyton Orient Trust, said: “Setting up the Red Dragons Football Club for children with Developmental Coordination Disorder has been an incredible journey for our occupational therapy team, from the initial idea of the club to winning the Inclusive Sports Award at the Waltham Forest Sport Awards.

“The club has brought enormous benefits to the children and their families and demonstrates how interagency working and the bringing together of expertise really helps to meet the needs of this vulnerable group of children.”

It is hoped that the Inclusive United project will create a lasting legacy with sustainable opportunities for disabled people to take part in football through ongoing recreational sessions, links to local competitions and performance pathways.

EFL to trial new penalty format 17/18 – Penalty shootouts may never be the same again

The EFL is to support the trial of a reformed format for penalty kicks, by introducing the new ‘ABBA’ penalty shootout formula into EFL competitions during the 2017/18 season.

The new system, which is currently being supported internationally by FIFA and in some European competitions through UEFA, will see the new ‘ABBA’ penalty shootout system adopted for this season’s Carabao Cup, Checkatrade Trophy and Sky Bet Play-Offs as an alternative to the traditional ABAB pattern.

The trial of the new system is being backed by the International Football Association Board (IFAB) in response to a hypothesis that the player taking the second kick is under greater mental pressure in the current format. Therefore, a different order of kickers will be trialled in an experiment to reduce any apparent advantage the team taking the first kick may have.

In simple terms, the team taking the first kick in each ‘pair’ of kicks will alternate as follows.

Both teams to take five kicks unless knock-out process is required.

1st kick – Team A           2nd kick – Team B

3rd kick – Team B           4th kick – Team A

5th kick – Team A           6th kick – Team B

7th kick – Team B           8th kick – Team A

9th kick – Team A           10th kick – Team B

11th kick – Team B         12th kick – Team A and so on…

Shaun Harvey, EFL Chief Executive said: “We welcome innovation at the EFL and I am pleased to see that the EFL is able to play its part in an important development for football.

“IFAB have identified a theory that the current arrangements for penalty kicks potentially provide an unfair advantage to the team taking the first kick so we are keen to see if the new system has an impact on one of the most discussed issues in football.

“We all want football matches to be decided in a fair and consistent manner and I am sure the new system will add an interesting dynamic to the conclusion of matches in our competitions if required.”

The first round of this season’s Carabao Cup will present the first potential opportunity for the new system to come into use in EFL competitions, with games scheduled to take place on Tuesday 8th, Wednesday 9th and Thursday 10th August.