According to the BBC programme “Hop, Skip and Jump, The Story of Children’s Play” the rapid rise in car ownership in the 1950’s caused a huge increase in accidents to children playing in the street. The ‘solution’ was to discourage children from playing ball games by installing ubiquitous “no ball games’ signs in housing schemes across the land. However questionably benign the original intention, I’m sure most children since the 50’s have experienced these signs as an infringement on their right to play. As noted in the London Play No to No Ball Games:
Could someone in the football press please write an article explaining how the recent reduction in our children’s free play has led to the predominance of foreign players in the leagues? Parents in other lands are not so obsessed with safety!