For our first column writing for the Basingstoke Gazette we would like to highlight the Basingstoke Workplaces League sponsored by Southern Ground Care, a monthly league for workplaces to come together, put together a team made up of workmates and play fixtures that are flexible and suited round busy schedules.

All fixtures are played in a centralised venue at the home of Hampshire FA in Winklebury, organised and coordinated by Hampshire FA staff, in a facility which also comprises of a stadium.

This format of organised football is becoming increasingly popular as an alternative way for players to access affiliated 11-a-side competitive football.

Matches are played on a midweek evening between 7pm and 10pm to support people that work full-time or students in full time education, with time considered for travel, costs kept to a minimum, whilst the league operates on a fairly flexible basis to best accommodate the needs of the teams involved.

The league offers players the opportunity to stay involved in football alongside other work, family, social or leisure commitments.

Players experiencing these sorts of time pressures may otherwise feel they have no choice but to drop out of football completely, stunting growth for the 11-a-side game as daily routines become increasingly demanding. Additionally, the flexible format will make a transition back into playing regular football at a club level much easier.

Midweek leagues do not exclude the student population and instead students have the opportunity to form their own teams or join existing teams in their local community, experiencing a similar level of football as they would at weekends without facing issues of players not being around at weekends or outside of term time.

We are seeing a decrease in the number of clubs, but an increase in player registrations at these clubs and with opportunities like the Midweek League providing competitive development opportunities for fringe players (or those coming back from injury) there has never been a more exciting time to take part in the 11-a-side game where the opportunities are endless.

Clubs facing issues of a lack of players may find that entry into a midweek league, as opposed to dissolving, could increase opportunities for player recruitment and retention, focusing on long-term sustainability for the 11-a-side game.

Currently there are eight teams in the league but we are always on the lookout for more teams to come on board so if there are any company representatives reading this column, get in touch with our Football Development Administrator, Jake Ashton for details: Kit is also available to hire and the league is recorded professionally on the FA FULL TIME website (fixtures and results table), whilst team sheets are created for every fixture, ensuring we are competitive in the benefits we can offer teams.

No problem if you can’t field the full 11 as Hampshire FA will support with player recruitment through promotion and advertisement on the website, social media sites, whilst info will also be sent to the media to promote on our behalf. We will continuously strive to ensure you get your games and the required assistance from the county FA so please do get in touch today and lets overcome any barriers so you can #PlayOn.