The Football Association has launched a campaign to encourage ordinary members of the public to become a grassroots coach or referee.
The campaign operating under the name Football Needs You, is part of an attempt to persuade people from all walks of life who love football to take their first steps to becoming a grassroots coach or referee. The target for the campaign is to produce 50,000 new Level I coaches by 2011 and 8,000 new referees by 2012.
The Football Needs nationwide advertising campaign features Jaz Dhami, a Punjabi singer, headteacher Manisha Tailor and air steward David Green, all of whom combine their passion for coaching and refereeing while maintaining busy professional careers.
Singer Dhami commented: “After spending time away from football to pursue my music career I returned to England and wanted to give something back to my local community. By getting into coaching I’m sharing my passion for the game and providing young Asians with a pathway into football.”
In a bid to get people to stay in the game England Under 21 coach Stuart Pearce has also joined the campaign and makes a cameo appearance in The FA’s new Football Needs short film. The film will be aired in 220 cinemas across the country throughout October reaching an estimated audience of one million viewers.
Pearce said: “The really rewarding thing about being a coach is watching that improvement in players, coaching them during the week and seeing them put the skills they have learnt into practise during a game on any given Saturday. I would encourage anyone with a passion for football to discover how rewarding coaching can be.”
Supporting campaign, Premier League and 2010 FA Cup Final referee Chris Foy said: “Having joined the police force at 21 refereeing provided me with a great opportunity to stay in the game that I love while at the same time pursuing my professional career. It doesn’t matter if you’re refereeing at Old Trafford, Anfield or Stamford Bridge the same fundamentals and enjoyment of refereeing apply whatever the level.”
Julian Eccles, Group Director of Marketing & Communications, The Football Association, added: “This campaign is the first of a series The FA will be running during the season. Using a variety of techniques – from cinema and print to online – we want to reach new audiences to encourage them to get into football.”