Big picture: EFL clubs create £875m of value in the community, finds report

January 17 – The English Football League (EFL) clubs and their community schemes created more than £875 million of social value across England and Wales in the 2020/21 season, according to a new report.

The report kicks off the EFL’s annual Week of Action, and highlights the role the league’s 72 clubs play in supporting their local communities.

It is the first time a social value has been attributed to the work of EFL clubs and represents the estimated savings to public spending and other forms of social value that clubs and their community organisations have delivered in areas including physical health, mental wellbeing, education and employment.

The EFL also released the second edition of its ‘Measuring the Impact of EFL Clubs in the Community’ report, showing that its clubs accounted for £101 million of funding for community investment, were responsible for developing 6,744 partnerships and deployed 9,922 staff and volunteers deployed in the community. The facilities and in-kind support made available to local people is valued at more than £40.8 million.

Rick Parry, chair of the EFL, said: “This report provides substantial evidence that our Clubs continue to be at the heart of their communities, bringing life-changing opportunities that leave a lasting impact. The need for EFL Clubs to continue as catalysts for social change remains, with an increasing scale of Club community work delivered since 2019. Financial sustainability for EFL Clubs is key to enabling them to continue as a force for good in their communities.”

The report was launched at a roundtable in Parliament with representatives from the EFL, its Clubs and Club Community Organisations (CCOs), members of the community and the Sports Minister, the Rt Hon Stuart Andrew MP.

The volume and reach of community work delivered by EFL Clubs is impressive. During the 2021/22 season, over 840,000 participants were engaged on EFL Club community programmes over almost 580,000 hours of community sessions and events – an 11% increase on 2018/19. Figures show that 80% of the population (47.6m people) in England and Wales live within 15 miles of an EFL Club, “a reminder that EFL Clubs are important civic institutions that impact the lives of people around the country,” said the EFL.

The ‘Together – Supporting Communities’ initiative is an example of this where Clubs and club community organisations united to roll out initiatives to support those hit hardest by the cost of living crisis.

The Week of Action sees Clubs and CCOs from across the EFL’s three divisions showcase some of the most impactful community projects with managers and players joining participants across the country.

UK Sports Minister, Stuart Andrew MP, said: “The EFL’s Week of Action is a great way to highlight the significant contribution football clubs make to local communities.

“Football is a way of life across England and this research shows just how vital clubs are in bringing people together and fostering a strong sense of pride.

“We are determined to protect these vital community assets, so clubs are placed on a sustainable footing now and into the future and continue to play a central role for generations to come.”

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