As we enter the new year, another decade commences in 2020 and we believe it is the perfect time to reflect on another significant 10 years continuing to make Sussex Football For All.
As of this season, we are made up of 476 clubs and 2399 teams, with the number of team increasing season on season. Many of these teams have helped us contribute to our long-standing charity, Sussex to Africa, where endless amounts of unwanted football kit and equipment has been donated to help keep football in Africa thriving.
Players from those teams have contributed to our successful Representative Squads, we run Under-16s and Under-18s, and we re-introduced our Women’s team. In 2017 we became the first County FA to introduce a Disability Representative Squad.
Our Football Services team oversaw The FA pilot of Sin Bins, which has now been implemented across the country! The number of County Cups we run have increased, and our goal for this decade is to introduce even more competitions to cater for Walking Football and Disability categories.
We’ve also seen the introduction and adoption of new grassroots technology such as the Whole Game System, Matchday App and the new Full-Time, to which there is a goal to be fully utilised in the future. Due to significant process in these areas, it has seen us expand our Football Services team to further to assist and support our leagues.
A strong and diverse Independent Disciplinary Panel was introduced in 2016, with over 20 members which, as a result, creates a fair and transparent disciplinary process. There are plans to expand this further to have a larger and even more diverse panel.
Safeguarding has really come to the forefront in the past decade and last year we teamed up with the NSPCC to host our first ever Online Safety Workshop for parents and carers, as well as launching a brand new Kidzone page on our website. What’s more, we became the first County FA to introduce a pitch-side advertising boards carrying the Childline message.
The number of Safeguarding Children Workshops we hold across the county have more than doubled, and we have introduced club safeguarding visits to check safeguarding children compliancy, meeting with coaches’, players and parents.
Our Safeguarding team have future goals to look for different and more efficient ways to communicate with Club Welfare Officers which will help in raising awareness of the safeguarding and reporting process. Furthermore, reducing the occasions of poor practice in youth football. We also want to find ways of providing further safeguards for 16/17-year-olds who are playing in open-age football as well as adults who are at risk.