Clampdown on football scouts who flout rules
FINDING another Wayne Rooney or Frank Lampard at the grassroots level of football is always possible which is why at any given youth match you'll often find a man standing alone on the touchline watching the game who is clearly not a parent.
For donkeys years, football scouts have wandered along the touchlines of junior matches, often played on public park pitches, in the hope of unearthing another little gem like Rooney and co.
They often stand out like a sore thumb at games and we've all heard stories of scouts offering parents new cars, holidays, televisions and the like, or even brown envelopes full of cash, to entice them to allow "their boy" to join a club.
Now, with so many more stricter rules governing the game, and scouts in particular, there's not the worry about whether you're being approached by a legitimate scout or not, as long as it's all done properly.
Unfortunately, there has been a recent incident where a bogus football scout offered an 11-year-old boy playing in Gorleston in Norfolk, trials with a professional club which he wasn't actually connected to.
on this occasion, the boy said he wasn't interested and reported the incident on his return home. The professional club checked with their scouts in the region, who confirmed that they were at the boy's tournament, but most certainly did not approach him.
The relevant authorities have been alerted and club welfare officers in Essex have been reminded of the correct procedures.
Professional club scouts have a protocol to follow, and would not approach a child directly, instead making any contact via the child's club.
Any Essex youth team manager, or even parents, with queries over receiving any such an approach should contact Essex County Football Association's welfare officer Helen Hever on (01245) 393098 for help.