- An Investigation into the Social Backgrounds of young elit...
An Investigation into the Social Backgrounds of young elite academy football players in a championship football club
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
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
- The academies must realise the potential of sport for social
inclusion and endeavour to achieve this through properly structured
- 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.
- Primary schools should nurture players from a young age in
football for which sponsorships can be raised by schools.
- 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.