A JUNIOR football league is celebrating after announcing it will introduce small-sided football next season.

The Warburton Youth League held an important meeting last week to get mini football up and running across Burnley.

League organisers know the introduction of football for the younger age groups was vital for the game - and also a pathway to securing much needed funding.

Burnley is one of seven areas that has been earmarked by the FA for its Shaping the Future of Football strategy.

Funding will be made available to improve facilities across the borough but only if the league introduces small-sided football.

But vice chairman John Pilling is delighted with the outcome of the meeting that took place at the Burnley Miners Club last Thursday.

For Pilling revealed that eight teams will take part in an under eights division next season - which will kick off with a football tournament at Gawthorpe in August.

He said: "I am delighted that we have finally got small-sided football up and running. Every since we launched the league in 1990, introducing small-sided football has always been our aim.

"It has taken something like this to get it up and running so I am really pleased with the response."

He added: "The meeting was one of the most vital in the league's history because it was all about our future.

"Had nobody turned up then I am not sure what we would have done."

The league currently runs teams from under 12s to 17s but is now hoping to bridge the gap in the younger age groups, starting with under eights.

"It would have been nice to have had more teams but eight compares favourable if you look at any other division in other leagues in the area.

"And besides, you have to start somewhere."

And Pilling said that the league will not stop at just introducing one age group.

"We are committed to this now and the FA are committed to helping us.

"We want to introduced a new wave of under eights teams every season so in a few years time, we have teams competing from under eights right through to under 17s.

"That has to be our ultimate goal."

There is still the chance for teams to join the inaugural under eights division and for further details, contact league secretary, Eileen Salmon on 01282 436102.