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English non-elite football to be suspended

Grassroots football in England has been suspended as the country heads into a four-week lockdown from November 5 until December 2.

Grassroots football in England has been suspended as the country heads into a four-week lockdown from November 5 until December 2.

The Football Association, the governing body for football in England confirmed that English non-elite football fixtures and training would be suspended.

However, the first round of the FA Cup will be played as scheduled this weekend. The matches are being played behind closed doors and with COVID-19 guidelines in place.

The suspension affects Steps 3-6 of the National League System, Tiers 3-7 of the Women’s Football Pyramid, the Regional NLS Feeder Leagues and The Barclays FA WSL Academy League. FA Girls Regional Talent Clubs as well as indoor and outdoor youth and adult grassroots football will also be suspended.

“Our aim is to ensure that the 2020-21 season is completed at these levels and will liaise with the relevant leagues in the NLS and WFP and the County Football Associations [CFAs] to provide support and establish appropriate options to do so if required,” The FA said in a media release on their website.

“However, health and wellbeing remain the priority, so it is extremely important that clubs, players, coaches, match officials, league officials, volunteers, parents, carers and facility providers adhere to the UK Government’s new national COVID-19 restrictions during this period.”

Football facilities have to close during the lockdown to limit social contact.

An exemption has been granted by the UK Government for school sport.

“The Government has confirmed that while school sport can continue, no grassroots sport can take place outside of the school setting during the lockdown period,” The FA said.

The Football Association said that updates about the fixturing of the 2020-21 Vitality Women’s FA Cup, FA Youth Cup, Buildbase FA Trophy and Buildbase FA Vase will be made available at a later date.

The association also thanked stakeholders for their commitment and determination for the restart of football matches. The Football association remains in contact with relevant government departments, leagues and clubs and will provide further information for English non-elite football.

On Wednesday, the UK recorded 20,018 new coronavirus cases.

Daniel Foley is a sports junior journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on football policy and micro industry matters.

New Zealand Football and Good Sports to promote positive youth sporting culture

Good Sports

New Zealand’s national governing football body, New Zealand Football, has teamed up with Good Sports to create positive sporting experiences for children by educating and supporting parents and other adult influencers in youth sport.

A further 15 national and regional sport organisations have signed up to Good Sports, which is an initiative developed by Aktive. This includes nine National Sports Organisations – Badminton NZ, Basketball NZ, Gymnastics NZ, Hockey NZ, Netball NZ, NZ Cricket, NZ Football, Snow Sports NZ, Surf Lifesaving NZ – and six Regional Sports Trusts – Active Southland, Sport Bay of Plenty, Sport Manawatu, Sport Northland, Sport Waikato and Sport Whanganui.

Aktive and Sport NZ will work closely with these organisations to implement Good Sports and develop strategies to better engage and support parents. Good Sports is well aligned with Sport NZ’s ‘Balance is Better’ philosophy and is being used as part of Sport NZ’s national parent approach.

Aktive Chief Executive Jennah Wootten says Balance is Better and Good Sports are complementary and the growing momentum will benefit tamariki, rangatahi and whānau around the country.

“With a number of challenges in children’s sport stemming from adult involvement, Good Sports focuses on raising adults’ awareness about their behaviours and how these impact youth sport. It examines what parents can do differently to ensure children and young people are enjoying sporting experiences,” she said in a statement.

“Together with Sport NZ, we are proud to work with sport organisations to implement Good Sports in their communities. It is fantastic to see the enthusiastic response and the important difference this is making for our tamariki and rangatahi in developing a lifelong love of sport.”

Andy Boyens, Technical Director at New Zealand Football, is excited to join Good Sports and provide even better experiences on and off the pitch.

“NZF are excited to join the Good Sports journey because we know the significant value that our football parents and volunteers give to the development journey of our young people playing the beautiful game across Aotearoa. We want to make sure that those people are well informed and have the knowledge, skill and confidence necessary to support young footballers to enjoy a life long love and enjoyment in our game,” he said in a statement.

The incoming group of organisations will engage in the first of two residentials this year in Hamilton from May 30 to June 1, where they will start in a 12-month accelerated learning environment designed around creating more targeted engagements with parents.

Sport NZ’s national parent approach focuses on supporting national and regional organisations to engage more effectively, support and deliver initiatives to parents and whānau through the provision of tools, resources and research.  Additionally, Sport NZ utilises digital platforms such as the Balance is Better website and Sport NZ social media channels to provide information to help parents grow their understanding of the important role they play in youth sport.

Labor set to deliver infrastructure upgrades to Northern NSW Football clubs

NNSWF

Northern NSW Football (NNSWF) is set to welcome nine promised infrastructure upgrades from the Labor Government following the party’s win at the Federal election.

The commitments are a result of NNSWF’s strategy to lobby Federal MPs as part of its key strategic priority of Places to Play, as well as the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 Legacy plan.

The commitments are from Labor candidates standing for election on Saturday.

“We thank sitting MPs and candidates who have made pledges to support football within their electorate,” NNSWF CEO David Eland said in a statement via the organisation.

“One of our priorities as part of our 2021-2023 Strategic Plan is ‘Places to Play’. So these commitments are not a coincidence. They are reflective of the work NNSWF and Member Zone staff have done over a number of years.”

NNSWF launched a comprehensive Facilities Audit in 2018 to capture data on more than 200 football facilities across northern NSW. A priority projects list was established in conjunction with clubs to advocate with all levels of government.

The NSW Football Infrastructure Strategy was then released in 2020. From this, NNSWF developed seven Local Infrastructure Strategies consisting of data from the audit and outlined a strategic direction to cater for the increase in participation based on five pillars:

  • Planning for growth and demand
  • Improve existing venue capacity
  • Inclusive football facilities
  • Homes of football
  • Partnerships and investment

“Football is the largest team participation sport in NSW with our current rapid growth certain to continue,” Eland continued.

“We needed to plan for the future and identify the needs of our sport for those that currently play and for those that want to but can’t.

“We identified at the time that there could have been as many as 30,000 additional players across NSW that could have played in 2019 if they had access to a football facility.

“What we are doing is ensuring that football has the infrastructure and facilities to continue to grow into the future and players will have access to quality places to play wherever they are in our region.”

The clubs set to receive much-needed infrastructure upgrades following Labor’s election win are:

  • Wallsend FC, Wallsend DDC ($286,000 for ground improvements, including irrigation on both fields)
  • Newcastle Olympic FC ($625,000 for amenity improvements and a new grandstand)
  • Maitland FC ($2,000,000 to upgrade lighting and to develop new amenities and a function centre)
  • Valentine FC ($184,000 for amenities upgrades)
  • Dudley United Senior FC ($320,000 for gender neutral amenities upgrade, disability access and toilets)
  • Garden Suburbs FC ($400,000 for female friendly changerooms)
  • Singleton Strikers FC (3,000,000 for upgrades to three full fields, multi-use court, upgraded amenities and carpark)
  • Edgeworth FC ($65,000 for fencing, completion of lighting project and completion of dish drainage)
  • Thornton JFC ($150,000 for lighting upgrade to two fields and new lighting to MiniRoos area)

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