Football Association adopts coursework!

The introduction of the FA Certificate next season in place of the FA Cup is sure to bring crowds flocking in to watch their teams, according to an FA spokesperson.

“One of the frustrations of watching football over the past few years has been the number of teams that sadly lose matches despite having great players working hard,” he said. “Time and again, hard-working teams have lost important matches simply because, on the day, they were unlucky, or tired or stressed, or had the misfortune to meet a better team.

“The new system will be much fairer, and every team will have a good chance of winning,” he said.

In order to gain the coveted FA Certificate, teams will have to show that they can perform a range of competencies on the pitch under the supervision of their managers, who will assess their performance according to the criteria laid down by the FA.

Each manager will be responsible for setting realistic tasks to show off their team’s skills. These must include a minimum of three attacking procedures and three defensive techniques. The only compulsory manoeuvre is the offside trap.

“We were going to make the cross into the box from the byeline compulsory,” said the spokesman, “but that would have made it very difficult for teams that don’t have any decent wingers.”

Scoring goals is also not compulsory. “Goals are important, obviously,” said the spokesman, “but anyone can kick a ball into a net. If we are serious about raising standards of football in this country then we must concentrate on the underlying skills. This Certificate will make sure that teams know how to analyse the situation and build up a proper attack. A good attack is worth any number of goals.”

Managers will have some discretion in setting up simulations. For example, when demonstrating a team’s defensive strengths it may be difficult to arrange for a world-class striker to take a direct free kick from the edge of the box, in which case the manager can take the free kick himself.

One of the great benefits of the new system will be its flexibility, allowing managers to assess their teams at any convenient time instead of cluttering up the schedule with fixed cup-tie dates. Teams can also be assessed more than once for the same skill, ensuring that they have the opportunity to put in the best possible performance.

The FA is confident that the new scheme will show that it is raising standards, by focusing attention on the skills that it sees as essential if English football is to survive in an increasingly competitive world. “We expect to see an improvement year on year,” said the spokesman. “Managers whose teams do not show an improvement will soon be out of a job.” When asked about the validity of the results, the spokesman was quick to confirm that managers would have to sign a form stating that they had not given their teams any help or special coaching.

FIFA are said to be watching the developments with interest, and the FA must surely be hoping that their new procedures will be adopted in place of the World Cup.

AJ Dorset