The FA has announced the record-breaking results of its latest Grassroots Football Survey.
The survey, which provides grassroots football participants with an opportunity to voice their opinions on the football provision in their county, received 30,315 responses – up from 28,750 and 30,161 in 2015/16 and 2016/17 respectively – from over 6,000 adult players, 1,000 youth players, 6,000 coaches, 3,000 referees, over 3,000 club and league officials, as well as parents, spectators and wider volunteers.
Kelly Simmons, Director of Participation and Development, said: "The third Grassroots Football Survey will continue to shape the national picture of football in England and allow County FAs to put the thoughts and opinions of those in their area at the heart of decision making. I am delighted we have seen more engagement from participants than ever before and look forward to seeing the impact of increasingly tailored investments and services."
Headline statistics and general feedback from the latest Grassroots Football Survey include:
• Artificial grass pitches and pitch improvements are key areas for facilities investment
• However, 35% of participants now find it easy to access an artificial grass pitch
• 91% believe any form of disrespect does not belong in the game
• All groups, except adult male players, predict participation levels will increase next season
• 73% of participants desire greater interaction with their respective County FA
As part of the process, participants were also asked to provide personal feedback and a selection can be seen below:
A club Chairman from Birmingham said: "The County FA has been very supportive of our new walking football league since I became Chairman. They have also helped me on a number of issues and their website to check scores and league tables has been invaluable."
A Club Welfare Officer from Cheshire responded: "My early experiences were not great but I am glad to say that things are much better these days. A new management and referee department has been put in place over the past 12 months and their impact has been phenomenal in helping to transform my County FA for the better."
A new manager from Sheffield added: "Plenty of information and support is at hand by phone, email or text and staff have proven to be extremely approachable. Learning materials are also readily available to aid and improve my performance from preparation of fixtures to administration after match days. I’m looking to also become a referee and hope to receive the same level of support and service."
The next Grassroots Football Survey will be launched in October 2018.