-  McDonald’s Fun Football programme becomes largest grassroots participation programme in the UK providing more than 10.5 million hours of coaching in parks and playgrounds across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales over the next four years.

-  New four-year programme launched by current England Internationals Jack Grealish, Jordan Henderson and Beth Mead, former England defender Micah Richards and former Team GB and England Cerebral Palsy Captain Jack Rutter.  

-  McDonald’s Fun Football will run in partnership with the Irish FA, Scottish FA, and Football Association of Wales and a national network of football coaching providers in England.

-  McDonald’s new commitment to grassroots football participation over the next four years marks the brand’s 20th anniversary of supporting grassroots football in the UK.

Friday 20th May, London – Today, McDonald’s celebrates the launch of its new Fun Football programme which will provide over one million 5–11 year-olds with the opportunity to enjoy free football coaching in the UK.

The new programme will deliver over 10.5 million hours of Fun Football over the course of the next four years making it the largest grassroots participation programme in the UK. The programme will be delivered in collaboration with the Irish FA, Scottish FA, The Football Association of Wales and a network of national coaching providers.

The launch of the new history-making programme was celebrated at the National Football Museum with McDonald’s Fun Football ambassadors hosting some of the first of the one million children set to enjoy Fun Football over the next four years. Manchester City and England star Jack Grealish, Arsenal and England striker Beth Mead, former England defender Micah Richards, former Team GB and England Cerebral Palsy football captain Jack Rutter and Liverpool and England midfielder, Jordan Henderson, joined 30 boys and girls as they participated in a special Fun Football session outside the iconic landmark in Manchester.

McDonald’s will continue to improve the accessibility of the Fun Football programme through training and upskilling of coaches. Ensuring over 800 Fun Football coaches have disability coaching badges and partnering with Kick It Out to make sure every Fun Football coach takes part in anti-discrimination training, which will aim to equip coaches with the knowledge and tools to help create inclusive environments for players and participants from all communities.

On the accessibility of the programme, McDonald’s Fun Football ambassador, Jack Grealish said: “I’m a firm believer that football should be for everyone and that’s why I wanted to get involved with the McDonald’s Fun Football programme.  Accessibility in sport is something that is close to me personally, I have first-hand experience of how sport can benefit those with additional needs, and it is so important that we get behind programmes that increase the opportunities for every child to play and enjoy football. To build a grassroots programme, like McDonald’s has, that will offer one million children the chance to play football, is incredible and I am looking forward to seeing the programme kick off over the summer.”

Alongside upskilling Fun Football providers, the programme will recruit over 100 women’s football coaches to support with increasing girl’s participation. Lionesses forward and McDonald’s Fun Football supporter, Beth Mead, commented: “We already know the positive impact that having better women’s representation in the game has. We look at how our performance on and off the pitch can help inspire young girls to follow their dreams and play football. It is so important that their experience is one that is accepting of them and having more women’s coaches present at girl’s sessions will really help with that. I hope that the McDonald’s Fun Football programme will encourage more and more young girls to participate and fall in love with a game that I owe so much to.”

As the McDonald’s Fun Football expands it will move into communities that need it the most, helping remove participation barriers associated with traveling to sessions -with the goal of making the programme accessible to every family.

“As a parent I understand how taking your kids to football for the first time can be intimidating or off-putting. The great thing about Fun Football is the sessions are designed to ensure every level is catered for and accepted. It takes a step back from the competitive environment of football and puts enjoyment at the heart of every session, which is so important. Fun Football is the perfect environment for any child looking to take their first steps in football and I would encourage parents up and down the country to take advantage of the free sessions” added McDonald’s Fun Football advocate, parent and Liverpool captain, Jordan Henderson.

McDonald’s is the longest-standing supporter of grassroots football in the UK and has worked with the Home Nation Football Associations for 20 years. Now in its 20th year, McDonald’s, alongside the Irish FA, Scottish FA, and Football Association of Wales, makes its biggest commitment to grassroots football by doubling the size of the new Fun Football programme.

Alistair Macrow, Chief Executive Officer, McDonald’s UK and Ireland said: “Football is at the heart of every community - and after 20 years as a major supporter of the grassroots game, nobody knows that better than McDonald’s.

“And we now want to increase our grassroots support to ensure more children, more families and more communities can directly benefit from the beautiful game.

“Our new programme will drive greater access and inclusion, support physical and mental health and above all generate the community spirit that comes from coaching, playing and watching football.”

Ian Maxwell, Scottish FA Chief Executive added: “Grassroots football is the lifeblood of the Scottish game and our 20 year-long partnership with McDonald’s has undoubtedly helped us grow the national game across the country. 

“Scottish football is at an exciting juncture, with our national youth teams competing at the highest level, our senior teams capturing the imagination of so many, and youngsters returning to the pitch in greater numbers than ever after the challenges faced during the pandemic.

“With the incredible backing from McDonald’s, more and more children across the country have enjoyed ready to access welcoming and fun football sessions. It is especially pleasing to see the continued support from one of our long-standing partners, which will increase opportunities for young players to engage with football."

Noel Mooney, Chief Executive of the Football Association of Wales commented: “The Football Association of Wales has clear strategic aims to increase participation across the country by building a diverse, skilled and welcoming football family. Our continued partnership with McDonald’s will aid us in achieving this ambitious goal by breaking down the barriers to participation through the provision of free football coaching for 5-11 year olds.

“Football must be inclusive and accessible if we are to continue growing the game and leave a lasting legacy that contributes to a healthier, happier and sustainable Wales.

“We look forward to McDonald’s Fun Football programme being enjoyed by thousands of children across the country through our continued partnership over the next four years.” 

Irish FA Chief Executive Patrick Nelson added: "McDonald’s Fun Football programme has extended the Irish FA’s commitment to grassroots football across Northern Ireland and we look forward to building on this progress over the next four years.

"Increasing the number of trained coaches who are equipped to deliver sessions to all children is a significant step in the right direction of football inclusivity and diversity.

"At the Irish FA, we are right behind encouraging every child to participate in football and this inclusive programme provides access to all. Fun Football provides children with the opportunity to meet people, learn skills and build confidence which will benefit families and communities in Northern Ireland."

McDonald’s Fun Football sessions will take place across the entire UK with the next wave starting in June. To find a Fun Football session local to you visit For further information on McDonald’s involvement in grassroots football follow @FunFootballUK on Twitter and Instagram.

– ENDS –

For more information contact:

McDonald’s Press Office

0203 892 1000 /

The McDonald’s Sport Press Office

020 7025 6697 /

About McDonald’s Fun Football

McDonald’s launched its original Fun Football programme in 2018 with the goal to encourage kids aged 5 to 11 to take their first steps into football. Between 2018 and 2022 McDonald’s delivered over five million hours of Fun Football across the UK. The sessions are designed and delivered by FA accredited coaches – the curriculum includes introductory activities perfect for children who are new to football, helping them develop their all-round skills in a safe, fun and pressure-free environment.

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