Parents angry at FA’s stance on mixed football

A RESOLUTION to amend The Football Association Rules that would extend mixed football to the under-13 age group from next season has been blocked by FA Shareholders – a decision which has angered players, coaches and parents in the Royston area.

The verdict was made at the FA’s AGM on May, 19, despite the resolution having the support of the FA Executive and FA Council after over three years of extensive study into the proposal.

It means that girls who play in boys’ teams will be forced to leave their club after the age of 11 in search of a girls’ team or to attend trials for an FA Girls’ Centre of Excellence instead.

An angry mother of an 11-year-old girl who plays for Melbourn Dynamos Tigers under-12 says she hugely disappointed with the decision which has left her daughter distraught.

She said: “The decision is unjustified and it has caused great distress to my daughter and other players after the news was broken to them.

“She has been playing football for nearly a year and it’s the only thing that has been consistent in her life and she enjoys it so much.

“It looks like she could join Royston Town where she would have to play for the under-15s side which would surely be the same if not more physical than playing with boys her own age.

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“It really should be up to the parents and coaches as to whether or not their daughter should play mixed football.”

The proposal to allow mixed football up until the age of 13 had looked all set to get the green light after The FA completed the complex three-year study.

In 2008, they commissioned Brunel University to evaluate mixed football trials at under-12 and under-13 level. The trial was completed by January 2009 and concluded that girls should continue o play with boys up until the age of 13.

The FA then commissioned Logistique, a sports consultancy and event management company, to carry out a risk assessment of mixed football and found that no females required treatment for injuries despite concerns from opposition that girls are put at more physical risk when competing alongside males.

The FA also consulted with two of football’s governing bodies Fifa and Uefa to address why England have one of the lowest ages for football separation in Europe.

In the Netherlands, girls are permitted to play alongside boys up until the age of 19 while in Germany girls can play with boys for as long as they wish.

Yet, despite all this time and presumed expense from the FA, the resolution was thrown out the window by its shareholders. Why? Well, nobody has been given the answer to that question.

The shareholders’ decision to put a block on the move has not been justified by any official reason(s) thus far and the FA Executive have yet to indicate when or if they will ever become known – which has further fuelled the anger of parents, coaches and players alike.

Melbourn Dynamos Tigers under-12 manager Wayne Thompson has also spoken of his frustration at the decision.

He said: “As a manager of an under-12 team I was looking forward to next season in the Crow Youth League with my two girls playing but thanks to the FA it looks like that won’t happen.

“I’m not going to be the only manager against this ruling. One of my girl players has been bullied at school and this team gave her a place to go on a Friday and Sunday to forget that and start enjoying life again.

“Her mum told me when she was told the news at training she cried all the way home. We have to do something.”

The FA Executive says they will try to establish the reasons why some shareholders voted against the proposal to in order to understand their concerns and to explore the possibility of revisiting the proposal in the future.