Surrey Mirror urged not to print youth football results

Tweet from Surrey FA Image copyright Twitter
Image caption Surrey FA tweeted its advice that results for under-7s to under-11s should not be published

A newspaper has been urged not to publish final scores from youth football matches because it is detrimental to the players.

The Surrey Mirror said it had received a letter from Surrey County Football Association advising it not to print scores of under-7 to under-11 matches.

Surrey FA chief exec Caroline McRoyall said: "Youngsters are not interested in results long after the game."

Editor Deanne Blaylock said the paper would continue to publish the scores.

The Surrey County FA said the guidance followed changes brought in by the FA Youth Review designed to make youth football more child centred and less results orientated.

'Move on'

The Surrey FA has also told clubs and leagues not to publish results on their websites or on social media.

Ms McRoyall said: "It's about not publishing results, it doesn't mean that they can't put some sort of report into the paper."

She added: "The game will be competitive when they play it... but after that they want to move on to the next thing," she said.

The dark side of youth football

Research by the FA found thousands of misconduct offences committed by adults at youth football matches including offensive remarks to referees and physical fights between parents or opposing club managers.

Somerset-based Woodspring JFL wrote to parents and clubs to ask them to stop verbally abusing referees - some of the officials were as young as 14.

Gary Lineker has attacked "maniacal parents on the touchline spouting nonsense at their children".

The FA's Respect Guide advises parents to focus on children's developing skills rather than on winning matches. And it says losing can be as valuable as winning.

The Surrey Mirror said it had asked youth football managers and parents whether they wanted to see their children's names and achievements in the paper.

Out of dozens of comments received, on social media and via email and letter, only one was in favour of the Surrey FA's demand.

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Image caption Former Brighton and Bristol Rovers player Adam Virgo does not support the Surrey FA's stance

"We have asked the Football Association for more information on what the penalties would be for breaking the directive and what exactly we are not allowed to publish," said Ms Blaylock.

"Until we receive a response, the Surrey Mirror will continue to publish match reports sent in by youth clubs, including the final scores, in the manner we have always done; responsibly and sensitively."

Jack Sollis, a sports coach based in Guildford, said publishing results was creating unwanted pressure that could discourage young people from playing the game.

"I think the FA... just want to create an environment in which the players can learn under less pressure and without much concern for the final score," he said.

But Adam Virgo, an ex-Brighton and Bristol Rovers player who now coaches young players, disagreed.

"I think growing up is learning about life - and you have to coach kids to learn to win, and to learn to lose," he said.

"Always protecting the kids that are always losing... is not actually helping them."

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