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Wednesday 13 Dec 2023
Youth Review consultation hits record numbers

The Irish Football Association’s Youth Football Review - the organisation’s largest ever consultation - has reached over 23,000 respondents since being launched in October.

The review, due to conclude next year, will take the format of a framework which will consist of four key pillars - active game, environment, education and governance – which will be inclusive of both participation and performance, and provide a clear outline of how the youth game will be played across the mainstream pathways for both boys and girls.

“This is a phenomenal effort,” said Irish FA Foundation Director, James Thompson. “Irish FA Foundation teams have been mobilised right across Northern Ireland to capture the views of our football family engaging with groups and individuals at Northern Ireland senior men’s and women’s fixtures, and also by getting out and about at grassroots settings and schools.”

“This visibility, alongside targeted online campaigns, has allowed us to survey a real breadth of opinion which will add huge value to our eventual framework.

“We set out to engage with stakeholders across the game to develop a framework which will guarantee an active game that generates maximum enjoyment and technical development for every child, and these numbers demonstrate we have done just that.”

The success of the survey to date has also been validated by Ulster University’s Kyle Ferguson. 

“A key element of my role is sampling and design methodology,” said Ferguson, who oversees the Centre for Sports Enterprise with the objective of establishing collaborations between researchers, entrepreneurs and elite sports players or coaches 

“It is one of the core purposes of the university and so I understand what goes into a producing a successful survey. The response of this survey demonstrates both the hard work of staff involved and the enthusiasm of the football family to support the future of youth football.”

The survey response is one of the largest representative surveys across the country and will offer significant insight to promote and shape the future of youth football in Northern Ireland. 

The next stage of the project is set to be a roadshow in February, when the Irish FA Foundation will host 15 engagement sessions across the country. 

“We are on track to have the framework completed by middle of next year with implementation set to begin at the start of season 2024-25,” added Thompson. “Our primary focus now is analysing the survey data and planning for the roadshow. We are looking forward to the developments in 2024.”

For any further information on the Youth Football Review, please contact