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An Investigation into the Social Backgrounds of young elite academy football players in a championship football club

Discussion
The study was conducted with the premise that the social background of the academy players is definitely a determining factor behind their success in to academies. Fundamentally social background was thought to be in terms of social and economic status and assumed that a very sound economic and social status would positively favour the players in their reach. The results showed that the social back ground in terms of economic status or social status directly or indirectly determines the success of the players. The most glaring fact that emerged in the study was regarding the attitude and approach of the families towards sport. The hobbies and pastime activities were really positive in making their reach possible. It was the factors like hobbies, age at which players started playing etc that made the profile of the families of academy players distinct from the non-academy players. But as these hobbies and attitudes are a result of one's social class position, definitely the economic ideology has primacy over other factors.

As Coakley (2001) observes, life chances and the opportunities people get are dependent on one's social class position. As sport involves the economic and material resources, affordability becomes fundamental to interest. Even interests and hobbies are subservient to the economic logic, as one needs money and time to entertain any interests and hobbies. Therefore, those belonging to the lower social class backgrounds are fundamentally incapable of having any sporting interests or hobbies. Thus sport becomes only a rich man's hobby or pastime. The academy players and their families studied in this study precisely indicate the above notions of ideological supremacy and economic fundamentalism that are central to sport.

Recommendations

  1. The academies must realise the potential of sport for social inclusion and endeavour to achieve this through properly structured programmes.
  2. The players for the academies can be selected based upon the interest and the talent of the players for which school level selection programmes can be conducted by the academies.
  3. Primary schools should nurture players from a young age in football for which sponsorships can be raised by schools.
  4. Academies can collaborate with schools in nurturing and training the players before selecting them for the academies.

Proper incentive packages can be introduced by the Football Association for the families for encouraging participation from all players irrespective of social background.

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