National Children’s Football Week


          Friday 16thth – Friday 30th July 2021


The National Children’s Football Alliance (NCFA) is delighted to announce the National Children’s Football Week 2021.

A chance for schools, clubs, organisations, and families to celebrate football and ‘play’, and age, gender and ability/

There are two themes to this year’s event, FREE v FREE a chance for children and their families to play for free. Any age, gender, and ability.

Paul Cooper the NCFA’s Projects Director said, ‘Children play football for fun. It has been a tough year for us all and it has been especially challenging for children. The National Children’s Football Week is a chance for all children and their families to have fun and ‘play’ football and bring back the missing smiles.”

It’s FREE. There are no hidden costs when families and friends pick up the ball and have a kick about. It is an opportunity for children to have their say and organise their own game.’

Raising awareness about the importance of family football for fun is the GOAL. Encouraging children and parents to take part and help organise games in any format or competition is a shared experience and if you are able to help facilitate a game of football in a park, a playground at a cub or even the garden, pick up a ball and Let Us Play.

We want to hear your story from the National Children’s Football Week.

We will also be organizing two FREE events in Salisbury and Cirencester, more details to follow in the next newsletter and social media.

‘One of the major reasons children play football is for the human movement experience, the excitement and indescribable feeling that comes with it. That sense of play that used to pervade the physical activity of children has arguably been diminished. Sport has been dominated by a system where the needs and interests of adults have overtaken those of the children where they seem to make all the important decisions and are mostly devoted to winning rather than the process of developing our children. FREE v FREE is a programme that is promoting that delight children used to experience in playing ‘their’ football, lost in the playgrounds many years ago. Through a games’ focus, children share success and failure; they learn how to trust each other and to care about each other’s ways of competing and making decisions. We need to develop children who are independent, value learning, are allowed to be creative and enjoy playing football. Adults need to ‘just let the kids play’ and realise that our children are going to learn more from that, then ‘getting taught’.

Dr Lynn Kidman



What is #FREEvFREE?

#FREEvFREE is the NCFA’s national campaign to kickstart free play football with friends, in school, in your clubs, in the community. The NCFA aims to act as an inspirational hub, both promoting free play and inspiring other people to share their projects with us.

What is free play?

Free play is child-led football. It is not coached.

Free play is not directed by adults. Adults can ensure that free play takes place in a safe environment, but the rest is up to the kids who play.

Free play is for everyone.

Free play is FREE!


Why is free play important?

There’s lots of evidence that play is critical to childhood development, engagement and fun. Kids have had a difficult year and play is now more important than ever. We want to encourage opportunities for kids to play, their game, their way, for FREE.

Does it cost to deliver free play sessions?

No, anyone can put on a free play session for kids. This can be done most safely through existing structures like community groups, clubs and schools as safeguarding and child welfare are paramount concerns. Long-term, if you want to offer a programme of free play football, it is a good idea to investigate local funding. There are some examples on this list of possible grant funders.

How do you become part of the campaign?

The NCFA aims to encourage free play and highlight free play projects that you are running around the country. We have provided some simple suggestions for free play from our National Children’s Football Week projects here.

Let us know if you are running free play football projects and we will share your project details on our website.

Please remember that the responsibility for the safe running of the project remains with YOU – the project organisers. The NCFA is not responsible for any free play projects that are not specifically authorised and run by the NCFA Committee.

Are kids involved in this campaign?

We have young people involved at every level of this national campaign from ideas to leaflet design. They have provided some top tips on free play football:

  • Make it free
  • Make it fun
  • Keep out of our way
  • Let us us play!


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