Revealed at the end of last week, the GB Lions U19 Combine scheme faced significant backlash immediately upon announcement. In response Martin Cockerill, Chairman of the British American Football Association shared the following statement via BAFA’s social media channels:
There was concern from the community, when the initial response from BAFA following a scheduled face-to-face board meeting on Saturday, was simply to remove all reference to the U19s combine from their sites and social media outlets.
However, at 22:40 Sunday night the statement appeared to show the Board acknowledging community feedback, reducing the costs and increasing the inclusivity of the scheme via the allocation of additional funds.
The significant reduction in price follows the original combine fee of £55 receiving heavy pushback from the community. This included many notable coaches within the U19s game and beyond arguing the costs would exclude numerous talented young ballers. Alongside this, a petition was launched which, prior to the above announcement, had garnered more than 1100 signatures.
Following the price change, the petition has declared a ‘victory’.
However, some within the community were quick to point out that the statement does nothing to address the second area of heavy criticism for the Combine Scheme. Some have queried the necessity of including a third party business, Dynamic Sports Academy. It has been pointed out DSA has strong links to the GB U19s Head Coach Jason Henry in his previous role with the London Blitz U19s.
It’s notable that while DSA’s inclusion was criticised, some within the community even going to far to call the as-yet-unexplained relationship between the GB U19 programme and DSA ‘corrupt’, that many DSA alums came to the defence of the athlete support organisation. They have cited the huge benefits they and others had received via working with DSA, and that such expertise could only be a boon to the development of young athletes through the GB Lions programme.
DC reached out to BAFA for a statement following our initial article on the U19s Combine, but are yet to hear back.
What are your thoughts #BritballNation?
Does the price reduction solve the situation?
Let us know in the comments down below, over Facebook, or @dbl_coverage over Twitter!