New Football Canada rules not ideal for small communities

Football Canada has released 21 strategies on Aug. 29, which are aimed to improve the sport, to be introduced in 2017 and completely...

Football Canada has released 21 strategies on Aug. 29, which are aimed to improve the sport, to be introduced in 2017 and completely implemented by 2022.

All strategies were adopted by the provincial football associations at Football Canada’s annual general meeting as early as mid-June.

“I agree all players should have the opportunity to play and Football Canada is definitely trying to make the game better,” said Desmond Ansorger, president of the Stettler Minor Football Association. “Having a week long safe contact is great as well as the practice plans for all groups.”

However, Ansorger believes that some of the strategies that are meant to “improve the sport” might actually end up creating logistical issues for players in smaller communities like Stettler.

“Football Canada’s new size and age groups is made for cities where you can get 30 plus players with only two years of age difference any time of the year,” explained Ansorger. “But we share all our players with all the other great sports teams we have in and around Stettler.”

Due to the ensuing changes, Ansorger feels that Stettler coaches will have a hard time trying to find players in all the football groups.

“There will still be football in small towns like Stettler, but we will have to go to six or nine-man teams,” said Ansorger. “We have been trying for years to get our players to try out for elite teams.”

But, according to Ansorger if the players get on the elite teams, they will not be able to play on the minor football or high school teams as of 2017.

“This again will make it hard on our teams because most players will certainly want to be on the elite teams so they get seen by scouts, rather than stay in smaller towns where they might get the odd scout out,” added Ansorger. “Minor football is looking to the future and is trying to figure out a way to get more players out so we can stay in a 12-man-football team still.”

Some of the main strategies that will be implemented in 2017 are as follows.

  • Standardized two-year age categories and designations, such as ages eight and nine, ten and 11, 12 and 13, 14 and15, 16 and 17.
  • Out-of-season tackle football game limits and approval process by provincial governing bodies.
  • Specific number of weeks allowed each year for tackle football at each age category.
  • Gradual progression to 12-a-side football.
  • Minimum roster size to start a season 30 and 24 to play a game
  • Coach teaching plan for each age group, up to U14, developed by Football Canada.
  • Educate coaches on rule modifications.
  • Practice calendars.
  • Each player at the U14 level and younger must have an opportunity to play.