While MAs tend to focus on supporting club and league structures, it is clear that schools represent a significant opportunity to engage young people with football outside the more traditional structures. Furthermore, the provision of quality football and life-skills training to schoolchildren complements the work of MAs as it increases the mass participation base, provides possible links between school and club structures, and creates access to football in communities where club structures are either absent or not fully functional.
According to UNESCO, over 700 million people are enrolled in primary education, and many of them may never join a football club, for various reasons. By providing as many children as possible with the chance to play football and by increasing the mass participation base, the F4S Programme will help to strengthen the game. It is anticipated that increasing the number of participants will improve the likelihood of more boys and girls taking football seriously and competing at club level (or higher), while those who would like to just play are given the chance and are able to learn valuable life skills at the same time.
NB: the F4S Programme is designed to complement, and not compete with, the work of MAs. Schools are a vital avenue in which young people can be engaged through football.