Positive consultation on future of Sunday football

The Bedfordshire FA sat down with committee members from local Sunday Leagues to discuss the future of Sunday football in the county.

Chairman of the Bedfordshire FA, Richard Everitt, oversaw the first ever united consultation on Sunday football, with positive discussions from all 3 active leagues. This was a great opportunity for everyone to work together and explore ways of enhancing the Sunday football league experience and address a decline in affiliated teams.

Present were Bedfordshire FA staff, Marc Di Carlo and Josh Spavins, joined by Leighton & District Sunday Football League, Beds & District Sunday Football League, Beds & Herts Women’s Football League and North Home Counties Sunday Football League.


Key Trends

Marc began the meeting with a presentation highlighting key trends that may affect participation numbers from research of previous seasons gone by.

Findings suggest ‘player numbers/commitment’ and having ‘nothing to play for’ during the season are the biggest indicators of teams that may fold.

- NHCSFL – 74% of folded teams were from top or bottom of the table!
- BDSFL – 67% of folded teams were from top or bottom of the table!
- B&HWFL – 80% of folded teams were from top or bottom of the table!

Discussions moved on to possible solutions that would help retain and generate teams in the future.


Possible Solutions?

Below are the 3 possible solutions put forward and debated during the consultation evening.

All committee members present agreed to put forward such ideas to their registered teams, with a view of collating feedback.
Ultimately it is the players and teams participating that will help decide the route taken by the leagues and thus we encourage you to have your say.

1 Split Seasons

- Winter Season: estimated September to December.
- Spring Season: estimated January to April.
- Play each other once.
- Even split of home/away fixtures.
- Top 2 move up and bottom two move down.
- New challenge for everyone! If you move up you are tested against stronger opposition. If you move down, you are tested against similar abilities.
- Sprint finish to a title! No marathon seasons.
- Better incentives: no medals just a trophy for winners. Perhaps a funding reward would be preferred?
- A more exciting format, could help retain players and teams.

2 Player Registration/Pools

- If your team folded, how many of your players would continue playing?
- Many teams have large number of players signed on but still struggle for a side come match days.
- Taking full player contact details upon registration with tick box to state the league may contact them about possible teams looking for players if their team folds.
- You could contact a pool of players to support you for the rest of the season.
- Key – acquire contacts before problems arise.

3 Merge of Leagues with a Central Top Division

- Merging all 3 Sunday Leagues under 1 with a prestigious “Premier Division” centrally.
- This would mean all 3 leagues oversee their own regions as normal.
- The premier division would be something to aspire towards for your team on Sundays.
- Would your players be interested in an exciting “Super League?”
- Bedfordshire FA could help support, organise and coordinate the merge.
- All 3 leagues demonstrated an interest in merging, with examples of previous conversations being positive.


Have Your Say!

League Contact Details:

Bedford & District Sunday Football League
Russ Maddox - League Secretary (russmar@ntlworld.com)

Leighton & District Sunday Football League
Andrew Tipping - League Secretary (andytipping97@gmail.com)

North Home Counties Sunday Football League
Richard Smith - Interim League Secretary (richard@nhcsfl.com)

Bedfordshire & Hertfordshire Women's Football League
Alan Watson - League Secretary (a.watson670@btinternet.com)  

Follow us:  Twitter @BedsFA 

For further information please contact either:

Josh Spavins, Recreational Football Development Officer
07432 700589 / Josh.Spavins@BedfordshireFA.com

Marc Di Carlo, Participation & CYP Officer
07984266441 / Marc.DiCarlo@BedfordshireFA.com

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