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Shake-up plan for Worcester and District Football League
10:30am Thursday 21st February 2013 in Sport By Steve Carley - Midlands Sports Journalist of the Year 2013, @stevecarleyWN
RADICAL plans are being considered by the Worcester and District Football League in a bid to safeguard the future of the game locally.
Following a survey of clubs, a list of proposals has been drawn up to try and halt the decline of teams dropping out of Saturday and Sunday competitions.
They include a possible restriction of teams to provide a better spread of players, replacing fines with a penalty points system and improved training of club officials.
Since last June, nine teams have dropped out across the league’s divisions, with player attitudes, finances and poor facilities chief among the reasons cited.
Worcester and District League secretary Tim Phillips is hoping the ideas put forward by clubs can help provide a solution.
He said: “There is no easy answer to some of the problems local football is facing at the moment but we recognise that there are problems, which is why we canvassed clubs.
“These are the answers we have got back from them.
“Whereas we do not have a magic wand, it is hoped that, having now aired the problems and asked for potential solutions, that the league management committee, working closely with both the Worcestershire Football Association and clubs, can find ways forward to make life easier for everyone involved in local football.”
By capping the number of teams in a division, the league hope to stop sides folding due to a lack of players. They want clubs to confirm their participation for next season by April 30.
Workshops for club secretaries and treasurers would help drive up standards in administration, while it is hoped that switching from fines to penalty points will target persistent rule-breakers rather than clubs that only infringe occasionally.
In addition, the league are working to find a sponsor to increase funds and liaising with both the Worcestershire FA and Worcester City Council to increase participation and provide better pitches and changing rooms.
Other suggestions included the league paying pitch hire fees up front each season to reduce the weekly burden and the use of five substitutes instead of three to get more players involved on match days.
However, the latter has been dismissed by the national FA because they want competitions to sign up to a rolling system pilot scheme which can see up to five players rotated during a match.
Introducing a transfer window, player loan system and sin-bins instead of yellow cards were also put forward, along with a Worcestershire Champions League-style competition, involving the Evesham, Kidderminster and Bromsgrove teams.
- What do you think? Are these the sort of ideas that can breathe new life into local football? Email sport@worces ternews.co.uk with your views.