The English Schools Football Assocation has set up an advice helpline for heads, physical education teachers and parents on the changes in school football from next season under the Football Association's new Charter for Quality.
The English School's FA has effectively relinquished control over the game in favour of professional clubs for gifted eight to 16-year-olds. Players who sign on for professional clubs operating a licensed football academy need play only for clubs, not for school, county or district teams.
The FA has long been concerned about talented youngsters being "over-played" with conflicting loyalties to school and club. The charter, devised by Howard Wilkinson, the FA's technical director, recommends that they play a maximum 30 games a season at an academy. (Some now play more than 100 a season.) The helpline number is 01785 251142.