Survey Results: Poor Pitches Head List of Grassroots Gripes

With participation falling and Sport England cutting £1.6 million, readers may remember the Sunday League Football survey we launched last month to get to the bottom of player problems with the amateur sport. Wrapping up with over 650 responses, we’re ready to reveal the biggest barriers to grassroots participation – and the results heavily support our hunch that the £1.6 million cut was a very bad idea indeed.

You see, despite overloading our survey with opportunities to complain about the quality of play, opposition and general get-up and go, the biggest complaint you all had was about the quality of pitches. Just over ¼ of you chose this as the worst thing about grassroots football, echoing the sentiment of the FA after the recent cuts, who said at the time: “A combination of severe weather, increased pitch hire costs and reduced maintenance spend has made this a very difficult time for clubs seeking to complete their fixtures and for individual players to value and enjoy regular football.”

Add to this the fact that the second biggest grumble was the presence of “dog mess on the pitch” (18%) – also a complaint about the quality of facilities – and it’s difficult to see how less money is going to improve participation. How will local authorities meet the inevitable spike in demand when Brazil 2014 kicks off? Expect grievances about turf quality and unscooped dog poop to increase in the coming months.

Facilities – poor pitches, dog mess and cost – account for half of all complaints. In the remainder, we find complaints about the quality of the competition and complaints that explain why the competition isn’t up to scratch. The third and fourth biggest complaints were “missing out on a lie in” and “being hungover”: attitudes that go some way to explaining complaints against “poor standard of play from team mates” and possibly “awful referees”.

We narrowed down the potential answers in our poll with an initial post via our social media channels, requesting common complaints about Sunday League Football – we then ran the survey for a month. The full results can be seen below:

Sunday League football poll results

Do our findings chime with your experience of Sunday League Football? What is your worst pitch experience? We’d love to hear your opinions in the comments below. Or if you just want to get back into the game, why not check out our teamwear section for savings on shirts, shorts, socks and other great quality Sunday League kit.


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