GREALISH, HENDERSON AND MEAD LAUNCH MCDONALDS FUN FOOTBALL

27 May 2022

By: Sport Industry Group

McDonald’s has launched its new Fun Football programme which will provide over one million 5–11 year-olds with the opportunity to enjoy free football coaching in the UK.

The new programme will deliver over 10.5 million hours of Fun Football over the course of the next four years making it the largest grassroots participation programme in the UK. The programme will be delivered in collaboration with the Irish FA, Scottish FA, The Football Association of Wales and a network of national coaching providers.

The launch of the new history-making programme was celebrated at the National Football Museum with McDonald’s Fun Football ambassadors hosting some of the first of the one million children set to enjoy Fun Football over the next four years. Manchester City and England star Jack Grealish, Arsenal and England striker Beth Mead, former England defender Micah Richards, former Team GB and England Cerebral Palsy football captain Jack Rutter and Liverpool and England midfielder, Jordan Henderson, joined 30 boys and girls as they participated in a special Fun Football session outside the iconic landmark in Manchester.

McDonald’s continue to improve the accessibility of the Fun Football programme through training and upskilling of coaches. Ensuring over 800 Fun Football coaches have disability coaching badges and partnering with Kick It Out to make sure every Fun Football coach takes part in anti-discrimination training, which will aim to equip coaches with the knowledge and tools to help create inclusive environments for players and participants from all communities.

On the accessibility of the programme McDonald’s Fun Football ambassador Jack Grealish said, “I’m a firm believer that football should be for everyone and that’s why I wanted to get involved with the McDonald’s Fun Football programme.  Accessibility in sport is something that is close to me personally, I have first-hand experience of how sport can benefit those with additional needs, and it is so important that we get behind programmes that increase the opportunities for every child to play and enjoy football. To build a grassroots programme, like McDonald’s has, that will offer one million children the chance to play football, is incredible and I am looking forward to seeing the programme kick off over the summer.”

Alongside upskilling Fun Football providers, the programme will recruit over 100 women’s football coaches to support with increasing girl’s participation. Lionesses forward and McDonald’s Fun Football supporter, Beth Mead, commented, “We already know the positive impact that having better women’s representation in the game has. We look at how our performance on and off the pitch can help inspire young girls to follow their dreams and play football. It is so important that their experience is one that is accepting of them and having more women’s coaches present at girl’s sessions will really help with that. I hope that the McDonald’s Fun Football programme will encourage more and more young girls to participate and fall in love with a game that I owe so much to.”

As the McDonald’s Fun Football expands it will move into communities that need it the most, helping remove participation barriers associated with traveling to sessions -with the goal of making the programme accessible to every family.

“As a parent I understand how taking your kids to football for the first time can be intimidating or off-putting. The great thing about Fun Football is the sessions are designed to ensure every level is catered for and accepted. It takes a step back from the competitive environment of football and puts enjoyment at the heart of every session, which is so important. Fun Football is the perfect environment for any child looking to take their first steps in football and I would encourage parents up and down the country to take advantage of the free sessions” added McDonald’s Fun Football advocate and Liverpool captain, Jordan Henderson.