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NMA: Local Papers Must be Allowed to Report Youth Football Results

The News Media Association has said that local papers must be able to report youth football results after it emerged that Football Association is seeking to prevent leagues publishing results of under 11s teams.

As reported by the News Media Association: The FA told the Daily Telegraph it was directing leagues not to publish individual score lines from matches in competitions featuring under 11s to “challenge the win-at-all-costs mentality that has been recognised to stifle development and enjoyment for young people.”

The Surrey Mirror reported earlier this week that it had received a letter from Surrey County Football Association this week advising them to stop printing scores of U7 to U11 matches, and a spokesman later told the paper it was a national directive fed down from the Football Association.

NMA deputy chief executive Lynne Anderson said: “Local and regional newspapers must be allowed to publish the full score lines from youth football matches. Local papers provide invaluable support for grassroots sports and restricting their ability to do this could have a negative impact on sports participation in local communities across the UK.”

Society of Editors director Bob Satchwell has written to FA chairman Greg Dyke about the issue. Bob said: “Local papers particularly play an important role in recording young people’s achievements and too often the media is criticised for reporting only their failures, misdemeanours and crimes. Sports pages report the positive side of youth and should not be deterred from so doing.”

The FA told the Daily Telegraph: “The FA places a great deal of importance in ensuring that youth football is played in a positive and fun environment.

“Our aspiration is to ensure that a progressive, child-friendly approach pervades and we challenge the win-at-all-costs mentality that has been recognised to stifle development and enjoyment for young people.

“Among the range of measures to have been introduced to reflect this, The FA now directs leagues not to publish individual score-lines from matches in competitions featuring Under 11s teams.

“While it is not the intention of The FA to stifle the positive benefits that come from recognition of achievement – and do not suggest this - significant consultation during our FA Youth Review with children (players), parents, coaches, clubs and league volunteers concluded that where there are one sided score lines, these can act as a disincentive to continue playing for many children. This conflicts with our aspiration to make youth football more child-centred and less results orientated on order to support the long term development of players.”