Football Association wants 150th anniversary to promote the wider game.
2013 will give grassroots football an ideal chance to get its ‘moment in the spotlight’, says Kelly Simmons, the FA’s Head of National Game.
Next year, English football’s governing body will celebrate its 150th anniversary and a host of events have been planned to mark what will be a memorable 12 months.
And Simmons believes it is important to highlight the work that goes on away from the professional game.
“150 gives a great opportunity to promote the FA’s wider work that sometimes gets hidden behind England and the FA Cup," said Simmons.
“It’s a real chance to have its moment in the spotlight because, at the end of the day, 98 per cent of football is played by children and in the grassroots game. It’s by far the nation’s biggest game.
“It’s completely reliant on the fantastic work of 400,000 volunteers across the country. It’s a real chance to promote that work and promote the opportunities for people to get involved in our game.”
2013 will also mark 20 years since the FA took over the running of the women’s game in this country and Simmons is delighted with the transformation that has occurred over the last two decades.
She added: “I remember what women’s and girls’ football was like.
“It was a minority sport with very, very few women involved at all. The first count was 80 teams and now there is nearly 7,000 affiliated teams with hundreds of thousands playing recreational football across the country.”
You can view the full interview with Kelly Simmons in the video below.
How should we celebrate the grassroots game?
How do you think the Football Association should celebrate grassroots football to mark their landmark 150th anniversary?
What should the planned National Football Day involve? How would you like to see grassroots football volunteers involved in the celebrations? What other events would you like to see take place?
Have your say in our comments section below.