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Manchester United's Rio Ferdinand believes FA youth football programme needed to improve

Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand endorsed the proposed changes to coaching in this country after the FA voted to introduce new guidelines for children learning the game.

Ferdinand said on Twitter: 'One thing our kids coaches don't do that foreign coaches do is teach them to pass the ball to a player under pressure...then coach one-two.

'How to protect the ball under pressure..­foreign players do that much better than us...one reason why they keep possession better.

'FA coaching courses need a right old shake up in my humble opinion if we are to move forward...some real good bits but some ancient bits too.'

While Rio Ferdinand believes in principle that the changes will be good for the game, Essex FA are moure guarded as Press Officer Chris Evans explains:

England’s youth football landscape was revolutionised at The FA’s shareholders meeting on Monday 28th May when two years of research amounted to an overwhelming majority voting in Youth Development Review proposals, while it was also agreed that boys and girls can play in the same teams up to and including Under 14s level.

Football Association representatives accepted new arrangements to move youth football forward with an 87 per cent majority at Wembley Stadium, bringing in a new player pathway to include a mandatory 5v5 format for Under 7s and 8s and 9v9 for Under 11s and 12s, to be phased in by the 2014/15 season. The changes passed have been developed over a number of years, with studies and over two years of consultation across the game.

The move will also bring a more child friendly approach to competition, breaking up the eight-month long adult based season into smaller periods of competition which encourage increased learning. Nick Levett, National Development Manager, said: “After 138 road shows nationwide it was fantastic to get the endorsement of the majority of the grassroots football community. These changes are a massive step forward for the future of children’s football in this country.”

Introducing 5v5 for Under 7s and 8s, with a progression to 7v7 then 9v9, allows the children to play on appropriately sized pitches, and with more proportioned goals. The smaller pitch and number of players allows a greater number of touches of the ball and involvement in the game, helping to develop greater technical skills at a lower age.

Meanwhile, at the same meeting, it was agreed that mixed football will be permitted up to and including the Under 14s age group from 2012/13. Rules will now be amended after The FA requested the change to allow further research into the concept in an older age group. The resolution means that girls and boys can play together if they choose to do so.

Further information on youth football can be found at www.essexfa.com and www.thefa.com


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