A school is changing how it picks players for its football team.

Saltdean Primary School has announced that instead of having trials to select players for its football team, they will pick players with a range of footballing abilities. Where teams are over-subscribed, players will be picked out of a hat.

Some parents are concerned that the decision “sends a negative message” to children in a very important year for the sport.

One concerned parent, who did not wish to be named, said: “My child was really upset. He plays outside of school but he wants to represent the school.

“It feels like if you’re achieving in sport there’s no celebration of that. There’s a handful of parents who feel very strongly about this.

“When you think of the success of the Lionesses this year it doesn’t make sense.”

Parents have also expressed concern about a perceived lack of consultation regarding the decision, which was announced in a letter.

The Argus: Saltdean primary schoolSaltdean primary school

The decision comes in the same year that the England Women’s team won the European Championships on home soil. The men’s team are also set to compete in the 2022 World Cup, which begins in Qatar later this month.

Instead of having a boys' and a girls' team with players picked based on ability, the school will now run half-termly football clubs which will be open to all children in specific year groups.

Teams for tournaments will change from match-to-match, and if there are too many children interested then names will be picked out of a hat.

The school says this will also allow them to offer more sports that are “not readily accessible” to the community such as hockey and netball.

John Maxwell, headteacher at Saltdean Primary, said: “Our aim is to offer all our children the opportunity to try different sports, and we hope that by doing this, they may all find that one sport which really ignites their passion, or which supports them to lead a healthy, active life.

“For some children, this may well be football, but there are many other sports we can celebrate and introduce to the pupils at our school.”