Some people seem fascinated with making RL more and more physically demanding to play (perhaps to be different to RU). This is not the right approach for mass appeal.
I agree with both of these points.
I want to see the footballing side of play protected and encouraged. If matches are only won by the fittest, the game would be less interesting to watch. When making changes, we need remember every part and level of the game - not just the professional game.
I appreciate, though, that you're looking for a way to help struggling junior teams, Ehbandit. I think the 9-a-side option would be useful, as the smaller sides would help teams that struggle for numbers a bit and those teams that struggle for numbers A LOT. Additionally, as an established variant, we could have uniformity in our approach across the country to any numbers issues and establish a 'safety net' of scheduled 9s events that these teams can participate in regularly.