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 £234m in Middlesex, 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 Middlesex 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.”
Leigh O’Connor, Middlesex FA CEO, said: “We are proud to continue the development and growth of a wide range of opportunities for everyone involved in football within Middlesex. We have seen the joy this brings to so many in our community on a regular basis and the research shared by The FA highlights the wider socioeconomic impact that grassroots football continues to have here in Middlesex.”
“We have always known that football is a powerful tool, but this report really helps to showcase the contribution our sport has on general health, confidence, motivation and trust. Our season review focuses on some of the great work we do.” Read our season review here.
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.