The Greater Game

The Greater Game Rolled Out Nationwide

The Greater Game centres around four key elements: move; think; eat and sleep; encouraging 12-16 year olds to make one healthier action a week.

The Football Association (The FA) has announced the national rollout of ‘The Greater Game’, a campaign focused on inspiring 12-16-year-olds, and their families, to improve their health and wellbeing by making at least one extra healthier action per week. 

Central to the campaign is a grassroots programme, co-created with the Official Health & Wellbeing Partner of FA Grassroots Football, Nuffield Health, that focuses on four key elements: moving well; thinking well, eating well; and sleeping well, with fellow founding partner, M&S Food focusing on the eating well element.  

The pilot grassroots programme, launched in 2023, saw 186 teams take part, with participating clubs noticing a positive impact across all elements. As a result, it will now be rolled out nationally with an ambition of onboarding clubs across all 50 County FAs.

This is supported by research from The FA of 1,800 nationally representative 12–16-year-olds in the UK, revealing that almost a third (31%) do not believe regular exercise is necessary. 

The programme will roll out with a focus on the moving well element as The FA launches ‘DROPS’, an accessible football-inspired game for young people. To play, the game requires three friends, six bottles and a ball and is designed to be easily played on a regular basis to inspire young people to be more physically active and move more in a fun way. England stars including Ollie Watkins, Jessica Park and Gino King from the England men’s, women’s and para teams feature in the launch film. 

The focus of The Greater Game is to inspire this age group to move more to not only reap the benefits for their physical health, but for their mental health too. Further research found that over half (52%) of young people have experienced a mental health problem in the last year.

The programme provides practical tips and techniques to support making healthier choices across all elements (Move, Think, Eat, Sleep) with over a third of 12 – 16 year olds claiming they do not feel the need to sleep more than nine hours – the recommended time to aid development in young people – with only 14% saying they manage to do so every day. 

Additionally, a fifth (20%) of young people eat fast food for dinner, more than five times per week, and over a quarter (28%) do not feel the need to eat any fruit and vegetables.

The Greater Game ambassador and former England international, Jill Scott, said:
“I’m a huge believer in the importance of being active, not just through football, but throughout your everyday life. What’s important about The FA’s Greater Game campaign is that it educates young people on the benefits of a healthier lifestyle, whilst providing them with the tips and tools to go out and put that into practice. I’m looking forward to seeing grassroots clubs across the country start to introduce The Greater Game programme, allowing us to make a real difference. I also can’t wait to have a go at playing DROPS myself!” 

James Kendall, FA Director of Football Development, said: “We are really proud to be able to launch The Greater Game nationwide, following our successful trial period. Delivering this exciting programme through our incredible network of County FAs and grassroots clubs will allow us to harness the power of football to help improve the health and wellbeing of young people at a crucial time in their lives. Alongside our great brand partners who share our vision, we are committed to drive real positive change in this important area.”   

Dr Davina Deniszczyc, Charity and Medical Director, Nuffield Health said: “We recently released our Healthier Nation Index which highlights that the younger generation is disadvantaged when it comes to their health, and we recognise that we need to do more to keep them active for both their physical and mental health. We’re proud to partner with The FA and we’ve worked closely together to deliver this important initiative to get young people fit and healthy. We’re fully committed to unblocking the barriers that young people face, and we’re hoping The Greater Game will educate and inspire them to enjoy movement.”

Sophia Linn, Senior Nutritionist, M&S Food, said: "We've been partnered with The FA for two years now and we're passionate about helping to improve the health of the nation - in particular amongst families and young people. By taking the Greater Game nationwide we'll be able to reach more young footballers and help guide them on nutrition and the best way to fuel before and after a game - because if you eat well you play well."

Parents, guardians, coaches, teachers and local communities are encouraged to participate in ‘The Greater Game’, by signing up here

View The Greater Game content on the newly launched You Tube channel here