The FA Mars Just Play! programme aims to arrest the decline in adult football and to get 150,000 new participants playing the game for at least 30 minutes a week by September 2013. According to Sport England’s research, the number of people playing regular grassroots adult football in England is reducing due to a lack of facilities, increased apathy, inflexible football options and logistical difficulties.
Just Play! is designed to inspire adults to play regular, accessible football in any form, no matter what their level of experience and ability is. The new initiative will help The FA and Mars tackle the challenges that face adults head on, by delivering solutions to the many playing barriers.
The FA and Mars are aiming to create over 100 FA Mars Just Play! centres across England. Each centre will be staffed by Just Play! Organisers, delivering casual football sessions that can benefit up to 50 participants at any one time.
As part of a wider legacy around the new scheme, Mars and The FA have committed to ensuring Just Play! Organisers and centres are sustainably managed and able to deliver 800 Just Play! sessions run over the next 12 months. Over the course of the partnership, the number of new players across all forms of football, towards the 150,000 target, will be tracked and measured on a quarterly basis through Sport England’s Active People Survey.
Mars has already begun its campaign by creating an advertisement featuring England and Tottenham player Peter Crouch around rejuvenating a football facility in Carperby, Yorkshire that serves as an important centre for local sporting activity. This is part of
the Mars commitment to reducing the barriers to adult participation in football.
Kelly Simmons, Head of The National Game at The FA, said: “The 150,000 figure represents adults whatever their level or ability playing some form of football. This programme builds on our work to encourage as many adults as possible to enjoy a wide range of footballing opportunities in their communities. We believe its success will
open football to a whole new audience that might have been put off by barriers such as lack of facilities, time or people to play with.”
Having spent £48m on the promotion of the sport since the 2006 Believe campaign. Mars’ work within the national game is part of a wider commitment to get the nation active through football. The programme is also part of The FA’s National Game Strategy, a
£200m investment into grassroots football.
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