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FA HITS BACK AT MERSEY REBELS; Breakaway group to meet with FA bosses.


LIVERPOOL County Football Association has slammed rebel proposals that could see junior leagues break away from their governing body.

The FA has spoken out for the first time about an ambitious scheme which could see some Merseyside leagues leave.

The organisation said the Liverpool County FA has secured pounds 6m of funding in the past year - more than any other.

A spokesman said Merseyside has benefited from pounds 40m worth of new football projects since 2000.

And it argued being affiliated better protected children and helped root out people banned working with youngsters.

A summit meeting takes place tonight between the rebels - Steve O'Reilly, head of the Anfield junior league, and Mick McNally, head of the Bootle, Litherland and Netherton leagues - and FA representatives.

The ECHO first highlighted the break away proposals after the pair claimed money paid by hundreds of junior clubs was not being invested locally.

Today the Football Association disagreed and urged clubs to support the current system.

They cited its charter standard and FA coaching, the Respect programme with over 50% of Liverpool leagues signed up as 'Respect Leagues' and the chance to use 100 brand new affiliated referees for Merseyside to add to the existing pool of 400 An FA spokesman said: "Clubs and leagues playing in non-affiliated football will not have access to qualified and registered referees.

"They will not benefit from the FA's safeguarding children service and will also not be insured. Local authorities are reluctant to hire out facilities and pitches to teams without public liability insurance.

"Clubs affiliated to the Liverpool County FA can look forward to some excellent initiatives this year which include Charter Standard and coaching opportunities.

"It's the FA's aim to have 75% of all mini-soccer and youth clubs in the country achieving charter standard status by 2012."

Junior league bosses Mr O'Reilly and Mr McNally set up an independent company to front their blueprint and said other junior leagues have expressed interest.

The meeting between the rebels and the FA takes place tonight at Liverpool Dockers' Club.

The rebel league heads claim they will scrap or reduce a raft of costs for junior teams and plough more cash back into the local game.

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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Feb 24, 2009
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