December 12 - Football "needs to get its act together" claims chief executive of Sport England Jennie Price following the publication today of the bi-annual Active People Survey which saw a drop in participation cross the country.
The survey, covering the period between October 2012 and October 2013, showed a huge decrease of just under 200,000 people aged 16 and above participating in football at least once a week for a 30 minute period from 2005.
Over half of this decrease has happened within the past year with around 100,000 less people participating in sport since earlier results were published in April.
Price told insidethegames that the FA "clearly need to do better" in order to reverse this swing insisting that things needed to change on a "much bigger scale" for this to happen.
She indicated that she was disappointed with the results due to the amount of money invested in the FA to help develop the game at grassroots level.
She said that more emphasis needs to be put on alternative forms of the game which are easy to organise and simpler to play, for example five-a-side football.
This form of the game is the most highly participated in across the nation due to its simplistic and easy to organise nature.
Despite the drop in participation, Price was eager to point out that over a million young people aged 16 t 25 still take part in some form of football based activity for more than a 30 minute period each week, and that football is still the most popular sport amongst young people.
On the survey in general, Price declared the results as a "great testament to the English public" after they showed that 15.5 million people across the country are regularly playing sport, an increase of 1.5 million since the survey began in 2005.
"I think the first message is that 15.5 million people regularly participating in sport is very positive," she said.
"It shows that the increase after the Games was not just a slight blip despite figures dropping slightly in April.
"This reduction has gone back up which is very positive and a testament to the English public."
Also, figures for participation for people with a disability are at an all time high with the survey showing 1.67 million disabled people playing sport regularly, an increase of nearly 34,000 from April's results and 351,000 since the survey began eight years ago.
"I am particularly pleased to see record numbers of disabled people playing sport, which is a real testament both to the impact of the Paralympics and our increased investment in the grassroots," added Price.
"Since London 2012 people have started thinking differently about Paralympians and the results today show that."
On the release of the survey results, Sport England released a statement saying: "We are the first host nation to have increased the number of people playing sport off the back of the Games and today we see the continuing positive impact of London 2012 on people's sporting habits.
"When figures were published in June they showed a small dip reflecting the exceptionally cold winter when icy roads and waterlogged pitches kept people at home.
"Today's figures indicate that once the snow had cleared people got back on their bikes and put on their trainers.
"This shows that more people are continuing to play sport and the growth we saw in 2012 was not just a post-Olympic bounce."
Other results from the survey showed a drop in the number of 16 to 25 year olds participating regularly in sport of around 79,000 since April's survey.
Also, 16 sports, including swimming, football, golf, tennis and cricket have seen a decrease in numbers since 2005 with only five seeing any significant increase.
On a more positive note, a record number of over 26-year-old are now regularly playing sports each week, and the number of people of black and minority ethnic origin has risen from 2.13 million to 2.7 million.
Despite the slight decrease in swimmers since 2005, there has been a recovery since the survey in April with participation still relatively high at just over 2.9 million people.
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