The Football Association has today launched a new report that explores the social and economic value of adult grassroots football in England.
With the game’s governing body investing over £1 million each week into the grassroots game to support the 8 million adults who regularly play football, it commissioned the report, which is the first of its kind for the FA, to set out the contribution of adult grassroots football to the nation’s economy and wellbeing.
The report found that regular grassroots football in England has a social wellbeing value of £8.7bn*, with players reporting significantly higher levels of general health, confidence, motivation and trust compared with those who play other sports. Lower income groups in particular were found to experience some of the greatest quality-of-life benefits from football compared with higher income groups, specifically in their health and confidence levels.
In addition to social benefits, the direct economic value of grassroots football was found to be £2.1bn each year, while the report also found that the health benefits of playing regular grassroots football produces a cost saving of £43.5m per year to the NHS through reduced GP visits alone.
While at a national level grassroots football contributes £10.8bn in social and economic value, this equates to around £290m in Manchester, based on the amount of football played in the county.
Despite this value, only one in three grass pitches are of adequate quality across the country, while one in six matches are called off due to poor pitch quality. This is why The FA is in the middle of a nationwide analysis, creating demand-led assessments of the pitch supply needs of every local authority in England through the creation of local football facility plans.
Mark Bullingham, The FA’s Chief Commercial and Football Development Officer, said: “This research demonstrates the significant impact that grassroots football has on every part of the country and is a tribute to the great work that Manchester FA do every day. We’ve always known that amateur football makes a huge contribution to our economy and society in so many ways and it’s fantastic to have that proved now.”
Colin Bridgford, Manchester FA CEO, said: "Manchester provides ever-increasing opportunities for all across playing, volunteering, refereeing and coaching. We see the positive impact this has on the lives of those involved with the game on a daily basis, however this research shared by the FA demonstrates the wider social and economic impact that grassroots football contributes here in Greater Manchester.”
“Alongside the economic benefits to the local area, it’s incredibly pleasing to see the contribution that grassroots football has to general health, confidence and trust, highlighted. The research further illustrates the need for our dedicated team to continue to work with all stakeholders within Greater Manchester, both public and private sector, and in doing so continue to contribute heavily to local social wellbeing.”
To read the full report, click here.
*This is estimated using the Wellbeing Valuation method, measured as the equivalent amount of income a person would need to make up for the wellbeing they gain from playing regular football.