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Friday 12 Apr 2024
Youth football consultation enters third phase

The Irish Football Association’s Youth Football Review has entered its third phase.

The association’s largest ever consultation is aimed at developing a framework which will revolutionise youth football for boys and girls in Northern Ireland.

Phase one was an online survey which attracted a massive number of responses – just over 23,000.

The second phase was a series of roadshow events which were staged in 15 venues across Northern Ireland in February and March.

Jordan Reid, Development Project Manager with the Irish FA Foundation, said the roadshows were a big success.

“We had a lot of valuable engagement with attendees,” he revealed, pointing out that more than 400 stakeholders, from coaches to administrators and players’ parents, attended the roadshows.

Feedback from the roadshow events included the need to focus on fun and social development, the need for better equipment and facilities along with minimum operating standards for coach education and a need for interventions to align all players, coaches and parents under one youth football philosophy. 

The Irish FA’s proposed framework will consist of four key pillars - Active Game, Environment, Education and Governance – and will guarantee an active game that generates maximum enjoyment and technical development for every child.

It will also provide a clear outline of how the youth game will be played across the mainstream pathways for both boys and girls in Northern Ireland.

James Thompson, the Irish FA’s Director of Foundation, said: “Thanks to everyone who attended the roadshow events and shared their thoughts on the recommendations, the key issues and positive aspects within the youth game currently.

"The insights from the roadshows have been great and they have allowed us to really fine-tune elements of the framework. It is very clear from the engagement that there is a willingness to develop all components of the youth game both on and off the pitch.

"We are very excited about the third phase of the review process, which is consulting with the two youth affiliations, youth leagues and developing a roadmap with the framework acting as the core element of youth football."

This roadmap will be shared with clubs, parents, players and coaches across youth football throughout the summer, concluding with a launch of the youth football framework website in August.