Yorkshire leagues eager to help pioneer switch to summer football

Some of Yorkshire’s football leagues could be among the first in the country to turn their backs on the winter chill.

There are growing calls for a switch to a summer season to avoid the impact of so many postponed fixtures and, in the long-term, improve playing standards.

The Football Association has been discussing the issue – which would be one of the biggest changes the sport has seen in 150 years – for several months.

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A raft of junior/youth competitions in the county, though, are keen to quicken the process and get the go-ahead to make the revolutionary plan reality.

The East Riding FA has already spoken to its member leagues and clubs to see if they would be in favour of the proposals which could see a summer campaign initiated as early as 2013.

Leagues in the West Riding FA, however, are urging the national body to act swifter as they do not want to take such action until there is a commitment in place.

“We’re looking for someone to show the lead,” said Mike Breeze, secretary of the Craven, Aire and Wharfe Junior League, which runs almost 60 clubs, Under-11s to Under-18s reaching from Leeds to Colne on the Lancashire border.

“The FA can be quite directive in some ways but not others.

“We’ve not heard anything for a while on this subject but if they do decide to go down that route we’ll do our best to get it going.

“Kids should play to the best standard possible and this is the way to do it.”

Currently, no organised football can be played during June, curtailing that opportunity. The FA are keen on summer football for mini-soccer – the six- and seven-a-side form played by children up to the age of 11 – but many leagues would like to investigate incorporating such a system through to Under-18s and it may even be discussed at senior level.

A West Riding FA member will speak to the Garforth Junior League – which has almost 4,000 players ranging from Under-7s to Under-14s – about the FA’s proposals at a meeting on Thursday.

“I was at another meeting with an FA official from London at Bradford City recently where they made a presentation about summer football,” said Garforth Junior League chairman Michael Myers.

“It is in the pipeline but the speed of it all is very frustrating.

“Clubs want to know straight away. I think it’s a great idea.”

An FA spokesman said: “The FA is committed to serving the best interests of those involved in playing, coaching and administering youth football across the country.

“We are currently reviewing the idea of summer football for youth leagues. Current Association rules do state, however, that 11 v 11 football is not allowed throughout June.”