Juniors and women on agenda for NIF board

THE BOARD of Northern Inland Football will shore up some of its flagging junior competitions, continue to build women’s and girls’ football and re-introduce a popular old tournament in 2013.

They were the main goals for next year, according to NIF chairman Stephen Griffiths yesterday.

He and fellow board members Tim Coates and Adam Watson and NIF executive officer Dino Perizzolo outlined their plans for next year in Tamworth. 

“Adam is the new face on the board,” Griffiths said.

“He joins some experienced people and we have good representation from the game’s administration, referees and players.

“We have people who are experienced in corporate governance from other organisations and it’s an opportunity to form a strategic plan 

“We’ll be implementing that strategic plan for the next four years and hope to grow and develop the game.”

The game is still growing in the region.

Women’s, girls and junior football numbers are improving, except in the older junior age groups.

With that in mind, the NIF board wants to keep the ball rolling in the growth areas and strengthen the areas that need help.

“The key areas include the pathways from junior to senior football,” Griffiths said.

“In the last 12 months we’ve seen an increase in the entry level, 5-7 age groups.

“But we’ve seen a decline, particularly in the 14 to 18 ages.

“So we’ll be working with our clubs and associations to see what we can do to add in that area.

“The other exciting development is in women’s football and girls’ football.

“Most of our associations will be running junior girls’ competitions, as well as opportunities to play alongside the boys.”

Women’s football will also be included in a reborn Acropolis Cup.

The tournament has been played in the past and will return to the June long weekend in 2013.

“It will be an opportunity for senior players and under 18s or under 20s, we haven’t decided which age group it will be yet,” Griffiths said.

“And there will be a women’s competition included in that Acropolis Cup.

“It will bring back some history and tradition to have that competition.

“A lot of people still talk about playing in it.”

The flagship competition in the region, the Northern Inland Premier League, will be extended next year with 22 rounds planned.

The two-conference system will remain, with at least 15 clubs competing.

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