On 28th May 2012, The FA formally ratified some of the recommendations of the Youth Development Review. These changes are about a modern, child-friendly approach to youth football, challenging the win-at-all-costs mentality that is stifling development and enjoyment for young people. Working together with a proactive attitude, adults can help develop a better learning environment for young people that puts the needs of the player at the center of the process.

These positive changes have been put in place to improve enjoyment, fun and development of young players allowing more touches, on a better proportioned pitch with an increase of involvement in the game as a whole. The changes within The FA’s Youth Development Review are making youth football better for everyone involved. We at the Bedfordshire Mini-Soccer League recognise that they present some challenges in the short-term but, with your help, we can make football better, more relevant and more enjoyable for our young players.

The BMSL has, as a result of the review, implemented the Fairplay divisions which cover all the age-groups from U7 to U10.

The FA’s review gives us an opportunity to make our League better at providing football at the right level for more of our young players. We can increase the number of meaningful contests while reducing the adult emphasis on league position in a single season-long table. This will help improve our best players while keeping those players in the game who need more time to develop.

Unfortunately this has led to the general belief that mini-soccer is now non-competitive. We at the BMSL would argue that this far from the truth. In fact we would assert that it actually makes mini-soccer more competitive.