Sunday League Football - A history, overview and guide
Sunday league football is a popular amateur event that occurs every Sunday as the term suggests. It has been popular in the United Kingdom for many years now, and is played at a range of different age levels from young children to adults. Leagues and small organisations have been set up all over the country to try and promote and encourage Sunday football, with lots of teams now participating in these.
The players are usually considered to have less ability than those playing at a higher professional level. The biggest difference is the wages of players. Those who play Sunday league football get a minimal wage, if anything. It is mainly for the enjoyment of the game and the passion the players share for football make such leagues appeal to them. It is also vital for gaining experience in competitive matches. Before joining a professional academy or reserves team, it is recommended that you have a few years of experience at a 'Sunday League' level.
Sunday league football can also be considered at the heart of the 'Grassroots level' and the development of many young players. Most start out at this level, before either stepping up, staying a similar level or dropping out of the game completely. The FA have set up many Grassroots schemes in recent years, in an attempt to promote the game to more and more people and to make English academies more successful. Sunday league football is therefore very important to the targets that the FA have.
Even though Sunday league football is an informal event, organisers always try to attract qualified FA referees to make sure that the games keep to the guidelines and have some discipline in which ultimately makes it a more enjoyable experience for all. Not only does Sunday league football develop players and give them more experience, it is also a great opportunity for young referees to gain vital game experience as they aim to officiate a game in the top leagues at one point.
In an attempt to make Sunday league football more competitive, an FA Sunday Cup was introduced in 1964, subsequent to a change of UK policy. Like the professional FA Cup, it is a knock-out competition, and participants come from all over the country. These are usually the best Sunday league teams in the land, and they go head to head often representing their area along with their team.
Overall, Sunday league football is an excellent function of today's game for amateurs who enjoy playing football. Despite its informality and lack of money investment, it has become a major part of many communities and it continues to increase in popularity year by year.