We are now on the verge of a new season and preparations are well under way at the Maccabi (Southern) Football League.
The league is no longer being sponsored by the JEWISH CHRONICLE and I would like to place on record our thanks for their many years of support.
The name of the league now reverts back to its original of MACCABI (SOUTHERN) FOOTBALL LEAGUE until such time as a new sponsor is in place.
41 teams have applied for next term and although this is a few less than last year we still have a viable vehicle. Of course we are hoping that the numbers will swell again in the years ahead. We recognise that 11 a side football nationwide is not as popular as it used to be and that more people are playing small-sided football.
There are probably several reasons for this, but I think that the main ones are the spiralling costs and the professional teams where matches are staged at varying times and people with season tickets, etc wanting to support their team.
The league welcomes THREE new teams into its midst and I hope they and all the other members have a successful and enjoyable season. I suppose that success is judged by winning the divisions or getting promoted. Not everyone can achieve this so enjoyment can also be found by being a part of something that is so big in our community.
Now that the Representative Match programme belongs to the past, we are looking to see if we can take a team to Israel for the experience of visiting and playing in a country that is our heritage.
Turning nearer to home, I just want to touch on the subject of Referees. The M(S)FL has always prided itself with the fact that most of its games are covered by qualified officials. We want to maintain this standard and can only do so if they are shown RESPECT. Respect works both ways and I am sure they, in turn, will offer courtesy to the players. However, where this breaks down problems arise. So I would ask everyone to make a concerted effort to raise the standards. I have heard from various sources that dissent and arguments in the league turn players and referees away and I hope we can reverse that trend.
I also hope that we can strive to improve on DISCIPLINE. Most of the cautions are for dissent and the dismissals are rarely violent. Nevertheless, they do needs to lessen and I look forward to seeing an improvement.
I wish you all a most enjoyable season.
Maccabi (Southern) Football League