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Harborough Town hosts Japanese FA

A Japan Football Association representative visited Harborough Town to learn about how a community club runs.

Shun Kitamura spent last weekend (September 15 and 16) at the club finding out about the grass-roots game as part of a six-week, fact-finding mission in England.

He was impressed by the club being able to field 47 teams compromising of more than 700 players and has flagged it up as an example of good practice to take back home.

He said: “It’s a beautiful town and I was very impressed by the football club and have learned a lot from Harborough Town. The club is different from what we have in Japan because of the community involvement with all of the youth teams.”

Shun also visited the Football Association’s Wembley headquarters as well as professional clubs Birmingham City, West Bromwich Albion, Manchester United and Manchester City. The study visit also took in trips to county football associations.

Chairman of Harborough Town Community Trust Laurence Jones organised the visit to Leicestershire through his day job as the Head of League and Club Services at the Football Association.

He said: “We were proud to host Shun and show him first-hand the workings of a community football club. We do a lot of things right at Harborough Town and were delighted to share with Shun what we have learned. Football is a global game even at a grass-roots level, the sport is universal.”

Founded in 1975, the club now has a high-quality stadium based in a scenic location on the edge of the town complete with two stands, match-day refreshments and a licenced bar.

The club is inclusive, from the first team, which plays in the United Counties League Premier League, and a comprehensive youth set-up to women’s and veterans sides through to a walking football team.

It is a champion of the FA’s Respect campaign and takes safeguarding extremely seriously, with all coaches having passed relevant criminal records checks – proven by the club’s FA Charter Standard accreditation representing an annual ‘health check’.

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