Special report: The future of Jewish football

Special report: The future of Jewish football

CUPSThe Jewish News this week gave Maccabi League football managers the opportunity to have their say on Jewish football.

In a wide-ranging report to be published over the next two weeks, managers from the 38 MGBSFL sides were all offered the chance to share their views and opinions on all the key issues related to Jewish football.

Almost three-quarters of Maccabi Sunday football league managers believe the popularity of Jewish football is on the decline.

Seventy-four percent of managers who took part in our survey said they fear interest in Jewish football is dwindling, though there was an overwhelming majority support for the league’s management committee, with 80 percent of bosses saying they thought the league was well organised and run.

The responses were part of a first survey carried out on Jewish football managers, asking them for their views on on a range of subjects about the game, with the answers revealing a mixture of support and concern about the league’s future.

That 74 percent said interest in Jewish football is on the wane, both in terms of interest and participation, may not be a surprise given the decline in numbers of teams competing in the league over the past decade.

In contrast, just 20 percent don’t believe the figures point to less interest, while six percent said they weren’t sure.

Managers on the whole – 67 percent – felt the standard of football in the league was ‘on par with other Sunday football leagues’, 27 percent gave it the thumbs down, saying it was poor in comparison, and six percent saying it was very good.

Bosses were also asked for their opinions on officials and dissent in the game, with 67 percent of them saying they believe the standard of refereeing was ‘satisfactory, but with room for improvement’, 20 percent said they had no complaints with the performances of the officials, with the minority – 13 percent – saying they weren’t at all happy with the men in black.

More than half of the managers – 54 percent – felt dissent towards referees and between opposing players is an issue in the game, 27 percent didn’t think it was worse than any other Sunday football League, with the remaining 19 percent not believing it was an issue at all.

Another closely-contested topic was whether non-Jewish players should be allowed to play in the league.

Again, just over half, 54 percent, felt the league should be exclusively for Jewish players, 34 percent felt non-Jews should be allowed to play in the league, while the remaining 12 percent weren’t sure.

The issue of the cost of playing in the league was an even closer affair, with 47 percent saying it was too much, 40 percent believed it was a fair amount, and the remaining 13 percent saying it was on par with other leagues.

Opinion was divided over the immediate future of Jewish football with 50 percent saying they thought it was healthy, 16 percent thought it wasn’t, with the remaining 34 percent saying they were unsure.

However, perhaps more telling than anything else was that the most comprehensive response to any one given question was the support the managers have for the way the league is run.

A whopping 80 percent of the managers stated they were happy with the League Management Committee, how they ran the game, it’s overall structure and the general set-up. Only one manager said he was dissatisfied.

League chairman David Woolf declined to comment on the findings.


1) From when you first started managing/became involved in the league, do you feel interest – both in terms of playing and participation – is dwindling?
Yes – 74%
No – 20%
Not sure – 6%

2) Should non-Jews be allowed to play in the league?
Yes – 34%
No – 54%
Not sure – 12%

3) Do you think the league is well organised and run?
Yes – 80%
No – 6%
Indifferent – 14%

4) What do you think of the quality of football in the league?
Very good – 6%
On par with other Sunday Football leagues – 67%
Poor in comparison – 27%

5) What do you think of the standard of refereeing?
Very happy with it – 0%
No complaints – 20%
Satsfactory, but room for improvement – 67%
Not happy at all – 13%

6) Do you think dissent towards referees and between opposing players is a big issue in Jewish football?
Yes – 54%
No – 19%
Not worse than any other Sunday football – 27%

7) Is the cost of playing in the league too much?
Too much – 47%
A fair amount – 40%
On par with other leagues – 13%

8) Do you think Jewish football has a healthy future?
Yes – 50%
No – 6%
Don’t know – 34%

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