Once again, the relentless persistence of covid-19 brought a halt to grassroots football, this time for the month of November. This has brought uncertainty into the game and we began to wonder whether this current season will actually ever be completed. There are opinions also as to the effect this has had on the mental wellbeing of our children, with football only being allowed at an elite level, and in schools just for training and physical education purposes.
There were plenty of sports personalities who protested and wanted football to continue. They made the point that “If 30 children can spend all day together in a single classroom then why can’t they spend an hour in the open air playing or training where they are less likely to contract the virus!”
The FA responded with "Health and wellbeing remain the priority, so it is extremely important that clubs, players, coaches, match officials, league officials, volunteers, parents, carers and facility providers adhere to the UK Government's new national Covid-19 restrictions during this period."
This, of course, caused huge amounts of upset, and that’s when children’s mental wellbeing was questioned.
Football in private boarding school academies and state schools was permitted to continue but only in a training capacity. This was great in that players were still able to train as normal and have something to focus on. However, it doesn’t make up for the loss of actual game time. Fortunately, all of the UK boarding schools that we recommend have great facilities, and great coaches. The training hasn’t been disrupted, and our players have been preparing for when grassroots football is permitted again.
Elsewhere, research has shown that a fifth of secondary schools and a sixth of primary schools had cut PE since the first lockdown. Half said they would be delivering less extracurricular sport in the autumn term, and it was found that just under a quarter of secondary schools no longer even offer physical education.
It seems there are also mixed opinions on the effects that this pandemic has had on the world in terms of mental health, but with grassroots football expected to be back at the beginning of December, and some fans allowed back into stadiums, at last things are beginning to look a bit more upbeat. Private boarding schools in the UK are starting to arrange fixtures, so at last players will be able to enjoy some game time.
Should you be interested in our UK private boarding school football pathway programmes, please get in touch or register on the website and one of our team will be in touch.