Coaches and parents up in arms over delays in youth leagues
Football youth coaches and parents are up in arms after the continued delays of the Gibraltar youth leagues.
“We are the only youth league that hasn’t started yet,” commented a football club officials as he indicated how clubs continue to wait for the start of football youth leagues.
“The only thing that they seem concerned about is the full senior team, but our youth are still not playing any league matches and it’s already November,” exclaimed another.
The continued delays in the start of youth leagues has this week seen concerns increase among both parents and coaches. Some of whom have already started to call for a demonstration to be organised to express their concerns.
National league Club officials who have teams playing have this week not been able to give a date for when the youth leagues will start indicating that they have no clear indication of when leagues will start.
“It’s just getting worse and worse, for the past four years it’s just got worse and worse.”
The continued delays has seen a spate of criticism against the Gibraltar FA this past week across social media following the end of the European qualifiers this week.
It is understood that registration of youth players was extended from September to October and has since been further extended with no deadline known with some clubs still recruiting players. Latest indications have suggested that completion of the registration process could be finalised next week, although no official information has been provided to clubs according to various club officials.
Similarly the play without pressure football camp which is usually organised during the school midterms and which has in the past signalled for the start of the youth leagues was this year not organised raising further concerns. Clubs have been forced to play similar opposition week in week out during past weeks with weekend allocations provided for friendly matches, some of which have been cancelled as clubs find themselves with a lack of players.
Recent reports suggest that over 100 youth players have migrated from the Gibraltar leagues into Spanish youth leagues as players and parents grow progressively disheartened by the continued problems the junior and youth leagues have experienced in recent years. This forcing clubs to extend their recruitment. Whilst clubs and coaches have been pointing the finger of blame towards the Gibraltar FA, concerned parents and persons closely related to youth football have been pointing a similar finger of blame towards clubs with suggestions that many clubs have not been providing the necessary support to keep players within their ranks with the main attention being placed towards their senior teams, with the monies and funding which clubs get from youth football propping up clubs at senior levels.
Whilst clubs have supported the Gibraltar FA Youth football academy, which has provided a platform from which the Gibraltar FA has been able to start bridging the gap in the development of young players, starting with the youngest age groups, there continues to be deep concerns at the development of players outside of the national teams. Much of the focus on the provisions, or lack of them, made by some clubs.
Proposals to remove the youth leagues away from club influence have in the past been rejected by clubs although proposals to create a draft system or place junior and youth football back into the schools league structure once seen in Gibraltar has continued to grow with support growing within the ranks of those associated directly with youth football.
The concerns over the youth football have further deepened as parents point out how associations such as netball, basketball, rugby and cricket among others have recently upped their approach towards maintaining young players within their ranks. Participants in the sports not only provided with fixtures well in advance, along with development programmes and coaching, but with associations now involving parents further as they continue their drive to keep players within their ranks as competition between sports increases for players. Football is viewed as now starting to lag behind in some aspects, although the sport continues to attract the largest participation in any sport.