English grassroots football brings billions of social and economic value
Amateur football in England creates more than £ 10 billion in social and economic value each year, according to a new report from the country’s football governing body. The South East, London and the North West are the biggest regional beneficiaries of the impacts of the sport, the Football Associate found.
After a long, hard wait for the good game to return, the football pitches have once again welcomed football across England. While much has been written about the impact of foreclosure on professional gaming, however, largely due to its monetary weight, little has been done about amateur football’s long absence during the pandemic.
Today a new report from the English Football Association (FA) unveiled the enormous social and economic benefits that amateur football brings across England. The report was based on its findings, as the country seeks to recover from the lockdown, the national game will play a central role in this process.
According to the study, more than 13.5 million people regularly play football across England. This contributes £ 10.16 billion to society and the economy, given the direct impact, health benefits and social value that sport generates.
In terms of direct economic value, grassroots football generates £ 7.74 billion. This includes £ 2.7bn of workforce contribution and £ 1.72bn of volunteering, including staff such as referees, coaches and administrators; and £ 3.32 billion in participant consumption, with players paying match fees, or kits, etc. Meanwhile, £ 670million of the overall direct economic value goes to the Exchequer via tax.
The health benefits of sport have also been shown to have major impacts on NHS spending. The FA estimates that playing football on a regular basis has resulted in 141,300 fewer adults suffering from chronic health conditions than without it. This saves £ 372million directly and £ 772million indirectly. At the same time, with mental health now a key topic of discussion after the lockdown isolation, team sport is also said to have helped reduce by 62,200 cases of mental health disorders – adding an additional £ 418million to direct and indirect health care savings. .
Overall, taking all ages and demographics into account, healthcare savings exceed £ 1.62bn for England alone, of which £ 525m is direct savings for the NHS. In addition, the social value of the game stands at over £ 780million, with grassroots football used to help improve education and reduce crime among young people.
While most industries mean that the economic impacts they could have are centralized in London, the universality of football means those benefits are relatively well distributed. According to the FA, most parts of the UK are seeing a realized value of around £ 1 billion. Although that figure is lower in the northeast at £ 482million, the nation’s capital is not even the biggest beneficiary of grassroots impacts. The FA found that the south-east of England had received benefits of £ 1.66bn, compared to £ 1.62bn for London. Meanwhile, footballing powerhouse the North West recorded the second highest figure at £ 1.32 billion.
The report was supported by a number of external consultants, including consultants from Portas Consulting. Founded in 2006, the sports consulting boutique has offices in London, Dubai, Riyadh and Singapore, the company supports governments, sports organizations and businesses around the world. Recently, the company helped the Scottish federation develop their new strategy, The Power of Football.