Are ID Cards Needed in Junior Sport?

Once you get to about Under 11’s in many junior sports, particularly contact sports, there are the regular concerns about player ages.  The difference between a small framed 11 year old, and a large framed 11 year old who has started puberty is considerable, causing many parents and officials to question the age of the lager player.

We can always refer to the team sheet, and trust that the player listed is the player in question, however that does not always satisfy the people who are concerned about the potential age disparity. In addition despite best efforts there are a small minority of coaches, who think they are playing for sheep stations and who may be tempted to play an overaged player to win a game or competition.

So should junior sport introduce Photo ID cards to provide instant visual confirmation of a player age?

It’s an interesting debate and there are pro’s and cons for both sides that needs to take into consideration:

  • Actual size of the problem
  • Safety of players
  • Risk of inaction
  • Volunteer time
  • Administration costs
  • System expense
  • Risk of fraud
  • % of elimination of problem

However,  I guess the real questions are;

Is it a real problem out there? and do junior sport administrators need to react to a small number of vocal complaints?

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