Children under eight banned from competitive football - because it's too stressful
By Vanessa Allen
Last updated at 8:55 AM on 27th June 2008
Children under the age of eight have been banned from playing in football leagues and cups amid fears they are under too much pressure from competitive parents.
Youngsters can still play matches but results must be kept private and no league tables can be compiled, according to the ruling from the Football Association.
And they should not compete in knockout tournaments where trophies or medals are at stake as FA officials fear the pressure could be too great.
The Football Association has banned young children from playing competitive matches because the 'pressure' to win is too much (file picture)
The move - due to be enforced when the new season starts in September - is aimed at protecting children from pushy parents and aggressive coaches on the touchline, and from peer pressure and bullying.
But junior league organisers argue it is essential that youngsters learn about winning and losing.
Kevin Warrington, whose undereights team finished bottom of their league in Hampshire last season, said: 'If you look at our results we only won one game and we lost one of our first games 21-0.
'But the boys were playing together as a team, they were making new friends and enjoying the environment in which they were doing that. They didn't care if they lost.'
Graham Spencer, secretary of Colden Common youth football club near Winchester, Hampshire, added: 'I am not sure how you can actually play football non-competitively.'