Dear all, with the season over and as we plan for another I wanted to let you know about some of the changes that are planned for next season. As you are aware the league has for some time been looking at ways to try and enhance the competition for all our participants. There is a significant disparity in the ability level in female football, the FA have helped by having two year age gaps etc. but there still is an issue where teams in all divisions often run up cricket scores against each other. Just looking at the league tables this season shows an enormous gap in ability levels.

Yes players do gravitate to the bigger more successful clubs and there is no doubt that we have some very well coached successful teams however whilst we need to provide meaningful competition for them we must also do the same for the teams who perhaps donít have the same number of highly skilled players but who enjoy their football just the same. There is also no doubt that there has developed a small group of teams in each league that could be considered elite, I have seen  suggestions they should be excluded or play in a league of their own. The merits of this could be debated for ever more however the reality is that there is at the minute no tier provided by the FA for such a group so we need to deal with the issue as best we can.  This is nothing in these plans designed to be detrimental to  the top teams who really do seek to coach and develop at a faster pace than perhaps some others who enjoy there football just as much but in  a more relaxed fashion. We are rightly proud of all our teams of whatever ability, we need to be conscious that we need to support the teams at the top bottom and middle of our ability ranges on an equal basis.

I and some of your committee have researched the issue over the past few months, we have looked at other leagues in the UK and in Europe and America. We did form a development committee that is still in its infancy and we will be looking for more people to help moving forward next season. The subject was discussed at the Management committee last night  and we have decided on a course of action to take the league forward in line with the FA Youth Review and also to provide more meaningful competition for every age group.  Essentially we have extended the U9  4v4 model of slow start into the U10 age group and then added divisions by splitting the teams into more ability matched groups.

There will be repercussions to this, there will be a budget  implication on trophies having more divisions,  smaller divisions will mean less games and we may have to look at introducing some festivals in addition to the main competition. Going forward in the next few years we will look at  all our formats, do we play Sept- May ?  Could  we have a Champions League type competition after or during the league programme? all these things can be looked at by the development committee in the future.

 So for the 2013 / 14 season we will operate as follows:

    • U9: 4v4 format, pop up goals on a 20 X 30 area. No results recorded, matches  arranged on a festival basis. Squad size max of 8. Flexible time formats. No half term football etc.
    • U10:  5v5 format, mini goals on 20 x 30 area (half a mini soccer pitch).  No results recorded, matches home and away with occasional festivals. Squad size max 10. Flexible time formats. No half term football etc.

Both these age groups will operate under the slow start programme, this provides a slow start into management for coaches including help with admin, teams can join any time during the season, registration will be capped at £3 per player all season long. More details wil be provided for the teams on a slow start launch night planned for September.

    • U11:  7v7 on a mini pitch. League tables home and away basis split into 3 divisions. Additional festival games arranged if necessary. Three substitutes max.
    • U12:  9v9 on a 9 v 9  pitch. League tables home and away basis split into 3 divisions. Additional festival games arranged if necessary.  Four substitutes max
    • U13:  9v9 on a 9 v 9  pitch. League tables home and away basis split into 3 divisions. Additional festival games arranged if necessary.  Four substitutes max
    • U14:  11 v11 on a 11 v11  pitch. League tables home and away basis split into 2 divisions. Additional festival games arranged if necessary.  Five substitutes max
    • U15:  11 v11 on a 11 v11  pitch. League tables home and away basis split into 2 divisions. Additional festival games arranged if necessary. Five substitutes max
    • U16:  11 v11 on a 11 v11  pitch. League tables home and away basis split into 2 divisions. Additional festival games arranged if necessary.  Five substitutes max
    • U18:  11 v11 on a 11 v11  pitch. League tables home and away basis split into 2 divisions. Additional festival games arranged if necessary.  Five substitutes max
    • Ladies: 11 v11 on a 11 v11  pitch. League tables home and away basis split into 2 divisions. Additional festival games arranged if necessary.

The league will start setting  up these divisions on the 1st  June and will shortly after the AGM publish our first draft of the proposed constitution. There will be a process by which teams will be allowed to request movement if they submit valid reasons. All requests will be carefully considered and where we can we will look to accommodate these requests but the final decision will rest with the league and the good of the competition overall will always be the overriding factor.   I ask that if any team has a particular aspiration for next season that they share this with us now or as soon as possible. To do this efficiently we need to know who is entering teams at what age group asap. Some teams have yet to apply, CAN THOSE CLUBS PLEASE SUBMIT THEIR APPLICATION IN THE NEXT 7 DAYS OTHERWISE THEY WILL LOOSE THEIR 2012/13 STATUS  AND MAY HAVE TO ACCEPT WHAT SPACES ARE LEFT. The deadline for this was April  30th 2013 so you are well overdue.

Even with these changes there will still be difficulties placing teams in the most suitable divisions. It will be impossible to please everyone, we will of course do our best, there may be situations where teams have become used to be in the top two  three of a lower division and enjoying some success  there that will have to accept that for the good of the competition they will have to move to a higher division where they may only be a mid-table team, conversely there may be teams in the higher divisions that have struggled year on year that have to accept that going to a lower level will benefit them. 

There will be some pain no doubt but I strongly urge you all to embrace these plans.  They are needed for the long term development of the players, they are vital for the longevity of this league and female football in particular.  The simple reality is that if continue in the current vein we will continue to loose players at all levels top and bottom because we fail to offer them all irrespective of ability meaningful competition in which to develop and enjoy their game of football.

If anyone has any questions or feel they want to discuss any aspect of this then please do not hesitate to contact me.

Frank Thompson

Chairman

Surrey County Womens & Girls League