BBDFL Chairman Report-1st November 2017

BBDFL Chairman Report-1st November 2017

Gary Russell, League and Charity Chairman, Bolton Bury &District Football League-League Update


I mentioned in my last communication how important it is, every week to reflect and see what’s working well, and what needs improving across all elements of the league.

Not an easy task, but a very important one.

Over the past few months, we have spent some time out  talking to clubs about where they see the league at present and what can we do to improve. The feedback is so important and essential if we are to create the best football experience for our youth, and to ensure we are taking the league to its highest level that meets member’s needs.

It’s our member’s league, and they have a major part to play in how our league should be run.

We want transparency, openness, honesty, constructive feedback and ideas on how we can take us to that next level.  We are also very keen to get clubs more involved with league decisions.

I’m really pleased with the feedback, but like any organisation, we know we can improve further. We welcome attending Club Committee meetings, so if any club wishes to attend please give us a shout.

We’ve also spent more time with our partners in developing our relationships, and identifying initiatives and projects that we can partner on.

The positive meetings have involved The FA, County FA’s , Bolton Council, University Of Bolton, BWFC, Bolton Wanderers Community Trust, Bolton Futsal Club, AFC Masters, Matchwinner and our colleagues at Bolton FM.

There are so many opportunities and the future is exciting, and only this week we have been approached by a sponsor to offer us packages on kits/footwear and a premier league football club to partner with us on raising player standards. Details to follow.

One initiative that we embarked on in March 2017 is our change of calendar season which is a 3 year trial and has full support of the FA and LFA.

Whilst it’s called “Change Of Season” it’s effectively the provision of a summer football programme for our younger non competitive age groups.( U7-U11’s) running from March – October 2017 primarily on grass pitches.

Whilst we have learnt many lessons in this 1st transition season, particularly in age group movement and consistency, there is no doubt it’s another successful format of football in the better months, playing on better pitches, with no games postponed due to inclement weather.

A full review needs to take place which we want to involve the FA  clubs, coaches and players in.

It is at the end of the day, the children who will determine its success or otherwise.

One area we are working very hard on is our ZERO TOLERANCE policy on discipline, both on and off the field, and the Board and League Committee will now be taking a more pro-active approach on all matters to put an end to a few incidents which have occurred recently, which to be blunt, have no place in our League.

In serious allegations of indiscipline, the league will not hesitate to take its own action against clubs, teams, coaches, players and parents, which at worst may include banning teams or individuals.

The action we take maybe in addition to any action the CFA take. I sense a more serious approach to discipline by the CFA’s, and a stronger willingness to work closely with ourselves in ensuring “ punishment fits the crime”. It’s much needed.

Thankfully it’s a minority but one report is too many. I’m pleased to report this strong message seems to be working its way around the league, and I’m delighted that some clubs( not all) involved in some of the incidents, have taken their own decisive action internally.

We fully support this approach as it’s a club accountability to ensure internal codes of conduct are applied and maintained  and not left to the League or CFA to deal with.

In concluding, there are a number of initiatives well advanced including a new league structure at Board and Committee level, which includes defining a long term strategy for the league, a funded  referee package aimed at attracting and retaining new referees, girls football including the very popular Wildcats project, a goalkeeping programme supported by the league, Winter Futsal, League Sponsorship and the Forming of a BBDFL Youth Council.

All of the initiatives will be briefly outlined at the inaugural Club Secretary Meeting on 6th November.

Thanks for all your continued support and see you on the 6th.

Kind regards,

Gary R.