Belfast Telegraph

Friday 28 November 2014

Grassroots programme promises football for all

Football legends Sir Geoff Hurst and Pat Jennings have announced an exciting new four year grassroots football programme between the Irish Football Association and McDonald’s.

The new initiative sees McDonald’s drawing upon best practice from its Community Partnerships with the other three UK Football Associations and incorporates outcomes from its grassroots football summit which was held in Northern Ireland in October.

The new grassroots programme is designed to enhance the structure of the game and deliver a lasting legacy of benefits at grassroots level.

Commenting on the partnership Pat Jennings, McDonald’s Head of Northern Ireland Football, said: “This is a very exciting new programme and one which will make a significant impact to the game at grassroots level. Grassroots football is the lifeblood of the game; it’s where every player starts out and it is through investment at this level and putting the right structures in place that we can deliver great benefits not only to the game of football but to society in general. I’m confident that the new agreement between McDonald’s and the Irish FA will build upon the very successful programme to date.”

The partnership contains a number of new measures including the introduction of a quality charter mark to ensure football clubs have the correct structures in place regarding coaching standards, safety, child protection and refereeing.

This will be supported by an ongoing commitment to the creation and mentoring of qualified coaches to assist the development of coaches and players alike.

A series of small sided games centres will run regionally throughout the year, encouraging children to develop skills in a controlled environment which affords them more time on the ball.

Also, to recognise and reward coaches and volunteers who contribute time and effort to the game a Grassroots Awards scheme is being introduced.

Sir Geoff Hurst, McDonald’s Director of UK Football, said: “Football Associations, including the Irish FA, rightly recognise the importance of this level of the game and McDonald’s is committed to driving improvements in this area.”

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