The purpose of this report is to provide information about the participation level of people of Scotland in Football. This report is based on the findings in the document from sportscotland: Sports Participation in Scotland 2007, Research Digest no. 108. Interviewing is done using the questions from the Scottish Opinion Survey (SOS) run by the TNS System Three. The results of the findings are based on interviewing about 1000 adults comprising approximately 480 men and 520 women and 250 children every month. This shows that there is a consistency in the sample size with age and sex of the people interviewed. Football has been one of the most popular and frequent participating sports among others both with children and adults of both sexes. This report will focus on a three year basis survey on the trends and the participation level in football.
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PARTICIPATION OF CHILDREN IN FOOTBALL
Football has been the most popular sports with children (8-15 years) during the survey years. According to the survey 52% children have participated in football at least once a month between 2005 and 2007. Swimming is ranked second with a participation level of 37% only.
PARTICIPATION OF CHILDREN BY SEX
A more detailed approach can be made to explain the popularity of the sports considering the sex of the participants. With boys aged between 8 years and 15 years football has been the most popular sport with a very high participation level of 74.5%. Cycling is second to football with a participation level of only 36%. Popularity of the sport is considerably low with girls who are aged between 8 years and 15 years. Football participation is only 27% with girls of this age group who are more attracted to swimming (42.9%), cycling (34.8%) and dancing (31.1%).
FREQUENCY OF PARTICIPATION WITH CHILDREN
Frequency of participation refers to the average number of days participated in four weeks. With boys and girls aged between 8 years and 15 years the frequency has been calculated excluding the data from the peak months. The frequency of participation in football at least once a month for the three year period is 3.1 making it the most popular sport among the children. Average number of days participated in a month is 3.4 by boys of the age between 8 years and 15 years while with the girls of the same age group the number is 2.3.
FOR CHILDREN FOOTBALL IS NOT A SEASONAL SPORT
The findings show that participation of children in football remains the same all over the year both with boys and girls. Participation level in the peak months was found to be exactly the same as they were all over the year excluding the peak months. This suggests that football does not attract children only in the peak months. It is a sport where the children keep themselves engaged throughout a year hence not making it a seasonal sport.
NATURE OF PARTICIPATION AMONG CHILDREN
Participation in football has been in different forms. Children play their football in streets or gardens or wastelands where they are very relaxed and in a lesser competitive mood. They also participate in 11-a-side matches and 5-a-side indoor and outdoor matches.
Majority of the children (34%) participating in the sport played in streets or gardens or wastelands the survey being done in peak months. Only 17% of them participate in 11-a-side games out of which 26% are boys and 6% are girls.
Table 1: Participation of children (8-15 years) in different forms of the game by sex (at least once a month) 2005-07: peak months
|5-a-side games (all)||17||26||6|
|5-a-side games (outdoor)||13||20||4|
|5-a-side games (indoor)||8||11||4|
Percentage of participation in football for children was 52. The figures in all participants’ column for street/garden/wasteland, 11-a-side games and 5-a-side games (all) sum up to 68, because of multiple participations. Similarly the figures of 5-a-side indoor and outdoor rows sum up to 21 instead of 17, because of multiple participations. This illustration holds true for the other columns also. Total participation for boys was 74% and for girls was 27%.
PARTICIPATION OF CHILDREN THROUGH CLUB MEMBERSHIP
Participation in football in less competitive levels has resulted in low club memberships (28%). 31% of boys who play football are members of a club while only 16% of girls playing football have a club membership. This shows that boys were around twice as likely as girls to be the member of a football club.
TRENDS IN PARTICIPATION OF CHILDREN OVER THE LAST 10 YEARS (1998-2007)
Looking at the trends in participation in football for children (8-15 years) over the past 10 years on a 3 year basis survey it can be concluded that there has been a gradual decrease in participation level but it has been always above 50% making the sport most popular among others over the years.
PARTICIPATION OF ADULTS IN FOOTBALL
When it comes to adults (16+), the results are based on surveys during the peak months and in the same time frame participation level in football (10%) is only second to swimming (16%). This decline in participation is understandable as participation in sport is strongly age-related. The survey shows that participation in some type of sport is 96% with children aging between 8 years and 11 years (excluding PE). This figure goes down to 29% with the over 55 category.
PARTICIPATION OF ADULTS BY SEX
Considering sex of participants, football has been the most popular sport with men with a participation level of 18.9%. Results show that football loses its popularity with adult women considerably and the participation level is as low as 2.3%. These results are based on participation in peak months.
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FREQUENCY OF PARTICIPATION WITH ADULTS
The frequency of participation of adults in football during the peak months is 1.6 and has not been among the most frequent sports with the likes of cycling (3.8), horse riding (3.2), etc. The average number of days when adult men participated in football is 1.6 while the figure is 1.5 with women.
NATURE OF PARTICIPATION AMONG ADULTS
Adult men and women have played their football in the different forms of the game. They have played in the streets, gardens or wastelands. They also have participated in 11-a-side and 5-a-side games.
Unlike children, adult men have taken part in more competitive games than those who have played in streets, gardens or wastelands. Women have very little participation in competitive games with less than 0.5% participating in 11-a-side games and only 1% in 5-a-side games.
Table 2: Participation of adults (16+) in different forms of the game by gender (at least once a month) 2005-07: peak months
|5-a-side games (all)||6||13||1|
|5-a-side games (outdoor)||4||9||*|
|5-a-side games (indoor)||4||7||*|
Percentage of participation in football for adults was 10. The figures in all participants’ column for street/garden/wasteland, 11-a-side games and 5-a-side games (all) sum up to 13, because of multiple participations. Similarly the figures of 5-a-side indoor and outdoor rows sum up to 8 instead of 6, because of multiple participations. This illustration holds true for the other columns also. Total participation for men was 19% and for girls was 2%.
The asterisk (*) indicates less than 0.5% participation.
PARTICIPATION OF ADULTS THROUGH CLUB MEMBERSHIP
Percentage of adult football participants who are the members of a club is 25. 27% of male football participants have a club membership while only 6% of female who play football are club members. This shows that men are four and a half times more likely to take a club membership as are women.
TRENDS IN PARTICIPATION OVER THE LAST 13 YEARS (1994-2007)
The trends in participation in football for adults over the past 13 years on a three year basis survey show a good consistency with the participation level ranging between 9% and 11%.
Club membership has been low in football for both children between 8 years and 15 years and adults over 16 years. Only a quarter (25%) of the adult participants in football is club members while with children the figure is just above the quarter mark (28%). This is mainly due to the nature of the participation. Around two-thirds (49% of the 74%) of the number of boys aged between 8 years and 15 years have played their football in streets or gardens or wastelands throughout the year. A major portion of the girls participating in football (17% of the 27%) have played in the same form of the game. This might also be considered as a reason for the gradual decrease in the trend of participation in football among children. Children might be encouraged to become members of different clubs by organizing free coaching sessions once or twice a week round the year for club members. Other attractions may include more competitive football matches between clubs in different forms of the game to ensure maximum participation. This might also encourage them to continue with participation at an older age.