League wants ideas to boost grassroots football numbers

The East Sussex Football League (ESFL) is hoping to defy a national trend and encourage more teams to join for next season.

Across the country the number of grassroots football teams is falling and many local teams have disappeared in recent years.

Now the ESFL is looking to attract more clubs with the deadline to be able to compete in the 2019/20 season fast approaching.

League chairman Gary Wenham said: “It is no secret that we have lost clubs over the past seasons and that is always a pity. “However, it appears to be a common theme across the county and the ESFL we want to try and reverse that trend.

“It won’t be easy. People are busy and there are always other things to do but we are proud of our league and we want to remain a strong, local league across East Sussex.”

The committee has been looking at various options which may encourage new clubs.

Gary said: “We won’t just accept any team that applies, strict criteria do apply and we have to be convinced the application is a sustainable one.

The ESFL says it is open to ideas and new initiatives. 

“We also have to comply with national FA league rules so we can’t just change rules on the hoof as we may wish.

“However, we genuinely believe there remains a strong appetite for Saturday afternoon grassroots football.”

Ideas already under discussion by the ESFL include:

  • The possibility of varying kick off times to suit clubs
  • Working with partners to improve the standard of facilities and look at the costs involved
  • Reduced affiliation fees for a club allowing them to enter a second or third team into the league
  • Closer contact with youth leagues, especially under 16s.

Gary said: “Nothing has been agreed but nothing is off the table. We are open to ideas and new initiatives.”

For further details, contact secretary Kevin Bray atkevbray@btinternet.com

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