Date: 28th June 2008 at 11:50am
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Don’t blame it on the sunshine, Don’t blame it on the moonlight, Don’t blame it on the good times, blame it on the state of Grass Roots Football!

As Euro 2008 draws to a close, and a mouth-watering final between Spain and Germany to look forward to, a new national survey of football fans conducted by NIVEA FOR MEN has revealed the reasons why English fans believe their national team continue to underachieve.

The survey saw a staggering 60% of respondents directly accuse the failure of any home nation to qualify for the finals on the state of grass roots football in the UK. 41% believe that the poor standard of coaching is to blame and 33% feel the lack of access to quality facilities at grass roots level are all the contributing to the continued failings of the national side.

NIVEA FOR MEN, a keen supporter of grass roots football is the official sponsor of Powerleague centres throughout the UK as well as amateur footballing fraternity Weekend Wonders, commissioned the survey to put pressure on the governing bodies in the UK and to invest sufficiently at grass roots level.

The influx of foreign players to the English game also came under fire from the fans, who believe it is having a knock on effect on the development of young players. 61% of fans blamed the number of foreigners in the Premier League for England`s failure to reach Euro 2008.

With transfer rumours linking the likes of David Villa, Lucas Poldolski and Deco to follow players such as Luca Modric and Jose Bosingwa to the Premier League after Euro 2008 there are fears that this will further restrict the chances of young domestic talent coming through the ranks – and fans believe this will have a significant impact on England`s international aspirations in the future with 63% believing there won`t be sufficient numbers of young players making the grade for the World Cup in 2014.

But all hope is not lost – with 89% believing an improvement in grass roots facilities can help build a successful national team that can compete against Euro 2008`s top teams widely accredited with investing in youth football. Of the nations that fans respect the most for the development of their players finalists Spain, tournament entertainers Holland and 2006 World Cup finalists France made up the top three.

Top Findings:

– 25% of fans consider Spain to produce the games most exciting players.
– 2 % of fans consider Germany to produce the games most exciting players.
– 1% of fans consider Russia to produce the games most exciting players.
– 60% see failure to qualify as an indictment of state of grass roots football.
– 82% don`t believe grass roots football is taken seriously enough.
– 89% believe an improvement to grass roots facilities could build a successful national team.
– 41% believe the poor quality of coaching at grass roots level led to Euro 2008 failure.
– 61% believe number of foreign players in Premier League led to Euro 2008 failure.
– 63% believe there aren`t enough young players coming through to challenge in the future.
– 68% of fans feel that our failure to qualify for Euro 2008 is down to the manager.