The new season in children’s and youth football will start very soon, and on this occasion, the Bulgarian Football Union has already organized workshops with representatives of the clubs from the DYUSH system, during which the chief methodologist of the headquarters, Lachezar Dimov, will present the amendments to the rules of the game for the upcoming campaign. The first conference took place last week in the National Football Association with the participation of representatives of clubs from the Sofia Zone, and soon events will be held in the other major football centers in the country.
Among the main changes stand out the elimination of ambushes in Football 7, the limitation of the actions of goalkeepers when moving the ball, the prohibition of scoring a goal directly from a kick-off in Football 5 and Football 7 and others.
In relation to this Gong.bg contacted Lachezar Dimov, a well-known expert with extensive international experience, who shed light on the motives and goals of the innovations in the rules for children’s football.
– Mr. Dimov, let’s start directly with the most important question: What made you accept these changes?
– Firstly I would like to say that the changes to the rules for Football 5 and Football 7 have been brought about by proposals from the clubs which we have carefully considered. Based on these proposals, the analysis of the current development of children’s football in our country in recent years and European practices, we came to the conclusion that these changes in the rules are necessary.
– Can you give us specific information about the changes in Football 5?
– There we introduced the rule that touches should be performed with a foot. The other highlight is that the execution can be done by passing or the dribbler directly entering the field of play with a dribble. A ban is also introduced for scoring a goal directly after the execution of a center (kick-off), as well as kicking the ball behind the center line when executing an out. The imposition of “hockey” shifts was also very important for us. With them, players can enter and exit the designated space without stopping the game.
– What is the idea behind these changes in Football 5?
– In this way, we want to stimulate young footballers to be more creative, to have competition and a field for individual performance. At these ages, it’s important for kids to outplay each other and have plenty of one-on-one situations to encourage players’ creativity. With the change in touch, we stimulate their thinking and quick reaction. With “flying” shifts, there will be less game interruptions and more pure playing time. When passing the ball, we want to have a bit more combinational play, the ball passing through more players and so they learn to play team football. At times when this is not possible, it is good to encourage individual action and one-on-one play. With the successful development of such situations, a numerical advantage is created.
– What are the changes in Football 7?
– We also decided to ban goals after a direct cross, as well as kicking the ball behind the center line from a throw-in. The thing that caused the most discussion was the removal of the ambush rule in this format. As with Football 5, there will be “hockey” substitutions where the game will not be stopped.
– What are your goals with these changes and especially the removal of the ambush in Football 7?
– The first and main goal is not to kick the ball behind the center – this is how we encourage combinatory play. At Football 7, we want, through short passes and ball circulation, more players to play with it, to have consistent attacks that build gradually and thus guarantee every child more touches and more football situations to learn to solve . We want there to be geometry (formation of triangles and rhombuses) to the game, players learning to position themselves and move correctly on the field, to come out of a high press and outplay the opponent. To define the game instead of reacting to the opponent.
The most commented change is actually the removal of ambushes. The goal here is to have less game stoppages, discussions, and more pure play time. The focus in these age groups should not be on teaching the ambush rule. Children want to play football, not pay attention to different rules. Our desire with this change is to introduce more elements of street football. Players will have more spaces and freedom to test their creativity. There will be more depth and breadth for them to outplay. A lot more situations will be created for the strikers and goalkeepers and a lot more goals will be scored.
For comparison, in many countries in the Balkans and in Western Europe, there are no ambushes in Football 7: North Macedonia, Romania, Greece, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Italy, England, Germany, Austria and others. The most important thing is that the children play football!
– Are there any major changes planned for Football 9?
No, the main innovations are in the lower two age categories.
– In your capacity as the chief methodologist of the BFS for children’s and youth football, what is your main message to the coaches and parents of teenagers before the new season?
The search for results and their achievement is a temporary effect and contributes only minimally to the development of a football player. The individual progress of the competitors and the development of the team are the main goals of the training. The results should be much more in the background in these age categories. Building teenagers as footballers and people is incomparably more valuable than achieving short-term results in a match or tournament.
Children must give their best and see every training session or match as an opportunity to develop their qualities.