The wide-range of organisations that make decisions purporting to act in the best interest of the next generation never cease to amaze me with their unintended – yet delicious sense of irony. Who better than The Football Association to guide us through the complex maze of child-rearing, then?
Yes, I’m afraid it’s true. This week, the governing body of English football (whose ilk surely represent the pinnacle of integrity and can count the greatest role models amongst their number) trumpeted that they would no longer allow ‘Under 11s’ to “play in leagues where results are collected or published or winner trophies are presented, [as] this is deemed to be detrimental to the development of the player and the game and will not be sanctioned.”
Detrimental to the development of the player? Learning to lose is a life skill that all our young should learn with good grace; but if we are considering the future ego of one of the over-paid prima donnas who fill the boots of our favourite teams, then I accept their point. I remember when a similar decree was issued for the Under 7 teams, and if this trend continues I wonder how long it will be before the fragile egos of Premier League players are wrapped in cotton wool? Match of the Day will never be the same again.
As laudable as the intent behind this ruling may be; it nonetheless ignores the life skills we seek to impart on our young. Whilst parents and guardians strive to bestow upon their charges the importance of learning to lose graciously, win graciously, sportsmanship and sometimes the ‘harsh’ realities of life; this ruling will surely run counter to their efforts.
Have the FA considered the commercial impact of their decision? Has any thought been given to the undoubted fall in sales of local sports papers?
What are your thoughts on this latest edict from the FA? Do you think it supports the nation’s efforts in child development – or is it another example of the ‘nanny state’? Why not let everyone know in the comments section below. Let’s debate!
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