From next season the age limit at which boys and girls can play football in the same teams has been raised.
The resolution to increase the mixed football age limit from U16s to U18s has been approved this week by The FA shareholders at an AGM after The FA Board, FA Executive and FA Council agreed the proposal.
The move has been welcomed by former England goalkeeper Rachel Brown-Finnis, who hung up her gloves this season focus on coaching and a media career.
“Mixed teams offer girls a choice in the environment that they want to play. They are of particular value for talented players in areas where girl’s football is still emerging or played to at a less competitive level. So if they are going to be better tested in mixed football, then why not?” said the former Everton stopper.The change will come into effect for the forthcoming 2015-16 season and will enable The FA to conduct further research into mixed football at this older age group.
Rachel Pavlou, The FA’s National Development manager for Women’s football said: “UEFA annually ask all European countries to declare their mixed football age limit - Denmark has no limit, Holland and Switzerland have an upper limit of 19, and Germany and Italy have upper limits of 17.
“All these countries feel strongly, like we do in England that mixed football is an important additional choice to their female only provision.”
Other regulations to be approved this week were changes to the Owners and Directors Test for steps 1-4 of the football pyramid (Football Conference and below) and the introduction of a new Club licensing requirement at the same levels.
The changes to the ODT will allow The FA to take quicker action against a Club or Owner and also give The FA the power to publish information on the Test. The licensing requirement, which will be run by the Leagues, will, amongst other requirements, ensure that Clubs have financial plans in place which ensure they are run sustainably.