Don’t panic. That is the overriding message from JC MSFL chairman David Wolff after confirming the world’s biggest Jewish league will start season 2012/13 with 46 teams.
We have seen a gradual decline in numbers in recent years, with the lure of the Premiership, Masters football, five-a-side, work and family commitments the biggest factors.
The decision to reduce the number of divisions to four is a sensible one and will hopefully ensure that each remains competitive if one or two teams fall by the wayside during the season.
Of the new teams to join, I take my hat off to whoever came up with the name Tottenham Chutzpah, which Nathan Kosky, the former London Maccabi Lions and Scrabble marksman described as “genius”.
For some, the Maccabi League remains their strongest link to the community. It is really something that we should not under-estimate the attraction of.
Having attended the recent men’s and junior football awards, I can tell you that the passion remains as strong as ever, but not enough people are prepared to come forward and give up their time to a worthy cause.
In this day and age, it is a big ask to manage a team or step forward as a volunteer on a committee and often, the rewards are minimal.
Eleven-a-side football in the UK has been on the decline numbers-wise for quite a while now, so clearly it’s not just a Jewish thing.
To me, the whole picture is quite worrying. As a young parent and someone who has been involved in Jewish sport for more than 20 years, the work that Maccabi GB have been doing over the last few years is so important. Their ability to lay on free sports coaching at grass roots level, both during and after school, helps gives youngsters a platform on which to build solid foundations in terms of development.
MGB cover more than 20 sports these days and not only does it benefit the youngsters physically, it also does wonders for self-confidence and acts as a good mental release.
* Congratulations go to Jerusalem FC who have been crowned Anglo League champions following a 2-2 draw against
Jaffa. Title-winning captain Dan Kosky said: “We’ve played some outstanding football, but we’ve also got a real belief and determination in the team.” The team are now planning an open-top bus tour to celebrate. Now I would pay good money to see that.