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The Football Association has relaunched its National Game Strategy with the hope of halting the decline in men playing the 11-a-side game.

Football Association look to halt decline in 11-a-side game

The Football Association has relaunched its National Game Strategy with the hope of halting the decline in men playing the 11-a-side game. The FA has announced a strategy 'refresh' which will initially run for the next four years and will see some £200million invested in grassroots football. There is a huge worry that local five-a-side leagues are threatening the 11-a-side game at grassroots level and the number of non 11-a-side teams has increased from 21,800 to 25,932 since 2008. Other key aspects of the report are a push to raise standards of behaviour amongst players and spectators and reduce assaults on referees. The FA consulted 25,000 people from the football family to determine the key priorities over the next four years, including the National Game Board, County FAs, schools and the members of the Big Grassroots survey. FA general secretary Alex Horne said: "The FA is focused on delivering football for everyone, and we are proud of the success we have achieved over the last three seasons since our last National Game Strategy was published. "By publishing our new refresh we are able to let our football stakeholders know that we have a robust framework in place to ensure funding is used to get more people playing the game, to protect facilities and provide a fun and safe football experience."

Key facts

The FA has a number of key priorities to focus on up until 2015. These include: • Focusing resources on retaining and developing the existing number of affiliating teams. • Raising standards of player and spectator behaviour across the grassroots game. • Increasing football opportunities and the profile of women and minority groups. • Providing flexible formats of football to suit changing lifestyles of players. • Introducing proposed changes to youth football. • Maximising investment into facilities. In 2008, The FA set a number of key targets to achieve in grassroots football and the work delivered by the National Game team and County FAs over the last three years has resulted in being able to achieve some key successes in the following areas: • 74% of all youth teams have achieved the charter standard. • We have trained 2.6 million 5-11 year olds through Tesco Skills. • 74% of all youth teams have a qualified coach. • We now have 4,000 more referees than we had in 2008. • £253 million has been invested into grassroots facilities and this includes all investment by The FA, Football Foundation, Premier League, Sport England along with a whole range of local and regional partners. • We have created a national database of coaches, referees, clubs and volunteers and we are now currently developing The FA Player Pass. The FA will continue to focus on up until 2015: • Increased the number of adult female teams from 1,250 to 1,437. • Increased the number boys youth teams from 34,300 to 46,968. • Increased the number of girls youth teams from 4,500 to 6,967. • Increased the number of mini-soccer teams from 21,800 to 25,932. • Increased the number of male disability teams from 270 to 978. • Created 122 new female disability teams.

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