A new study from the Football Association of Wales (FAW) has measured the impact of grassroots football on the Welsh economy for the first time.
Backed by the World Health Organization and the United Nations, The Value of Welsh Football Study has found players across the country currently generate over £553m each year, broken down as a £263m direct contribution to the Welsh economy, a more than £206m healthcare saving and an almost £84m economic impact of social benefits.
By 2026, projections show the overall contribution would rise to £692m each year if the targets of ‘Our Wales’, the new vision and strategic plan for Welsh football, are met.
Based on the UEFA Social Return on Investment (SROI) model, the survey breaks down the game’s contribution in areas including volunteering (£57m), player spending (£47m), subjective wellbeing (£177m) and many other outcomes.
While thousands of adults and children take part in football across Wales, the detailed research is only based on the 90,000 players and 18,000 volunteers registered with the FAW. Demand to play the game has grown as Wales moves out of COVID-19 lockdowns, with over 700 players on club waiting lists in Cardiff alone.
“The FAW has been around since 1876 but this is the first time we’ve been able to put a figure on the true economic and social value of participation in football. If you’re one of the thousands of us across Wales who’s played the game, you’ve long known that football’s much more than a game, much more than kicking a ball around. The impact on your head, on your heart and in bringing communities together is something that lasts long after the whistle’s blown,” said Noel Mooney, CEO of FAW.