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Girls team under threat

PUBLISHED: 15:45 11 June 2008 | UPDATED: 09:51 23 August 2010

A TOP girls football team is facing an uncertain future after a change in Football Association (FA) rules disallowed some players from Sunday league teams. Gravesham Girls and Ladies U14s face losing seven of their 13 players after an update to FA rules

A TOP girls football team is facing an uncertain future after a change in Football Association (FA) rules disallowed some players from Sunday league teams.

Gravesham Girls and Ladies U14s face losing seven of their 13 players after an update to FA rules was put in place, banning those who attend Centres of Excellence.

Goalkeeper Jodie Smith, 14, of Lynton Road South, Gravesend said: "I have been there for about four seasons and I have made a lot of friends, not just with the people in my team but with older people from other age groups as well. It's stupid that they have said this as we won't have a football team. They are supposed to be trying to get girls into football."

The current team has played together for more than five years and this season finished top of their league.

They represented Kent in the Tesco Cup and played in the final of the Tina Marshall Cup, losing by a solitary strike to Meridan just one day before they heard the news of the rule change on Monday, May 19.

The FA say the rule has been put in place to prevent players from playing too much and injuring themselves.

A spokesperson said: "The move by The FA is in line with what has been happening in boys' football for many years - that if a player joins an Academy or Centre of Excellence, there are rules guiding how often the players should train and play per week. This is to ensure that players do not play too much football too young, protecting against overuse injuries."

Ms Smith's father Chris, 49, retired, does not agree and wants his daughter to play whenever she wants.

He said: "It is nonsense to say it's to prevent over-exertion, because I know for a fact that if these girls were not playing Sunday football for an hour, they would be participating in another sport or playing football in the park all afternoon."

Gravesham Girls and Ladies was set up in 1999 with just one team and has now grown to include six girls teams and two ladies teams with a total of 120 players

Club secretary Clare Driscoll, 32, from Gravesend, said: "The girls are now going to have to make the choice between the Centre of Excellence and the team. It's going to be very hard for them."

jason.goodyer@archant.co.uk

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