The Home Nations are set to unite thanks to BT, who have announced plans to launch one of the largest footballing programmes across the UK – making football accessible to all.
The 4-3-3 strategy is set to use the power of technology and football to change the lives of millions across the home nations, focusing on three key areas: disability, women’s and grassroots football.
Working in partnership with The FA, Scottish FA, Irish FA and FA of Wales, the strategy will encompass technology, innovation and digital skills in footballing communities across the UK to break down barriers when it comes to playing the beautiful game.
BT are set to launch a number of initiatives and projects over a five-year agreement including creating a para and disability innovation hub; The FA Playmaker, an official FA entry-level online course; and boosting support for men’s, women’s, para and disability football from grassroots to elite levels.
In a bid to raise the profile of Para and disability football, BT will invest in the creation of inspiring para documentaries and films for BT Sport. The first documentary has been commissioned and will focus on blind and visually football.
BT has promised they will also carry out the premier research programme to understand the accessibility of football to enable those who don’t currently play the sport to get involved, too.
Kamran Mallick, CEO of Disability Rights UK, enthuses: “Sport is a way of bringing people together, an enabler for increased wellbeing, motivation and enjoyment. For many disabled people the barriers we experience limit or exclude us from taking part in sport.
“We are excited to be partnering with BT to see how technology can remove these barriers and help us to find ways to participate in sport with our peers and communities, and to be active in a way that works for us.”
Similarly, BT Sport will also broadcast the Disability Cup, providing disability football with a live TV platform – the first time this has happened. Not to mention, working alongside tech innovation hub Plexal, and Disability Rights UK, BT says it will design and develop a new format of disability football for those who can’t play with their bodies.
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“Football, like BT, is part of the fabric of our nations and we believe that combining football with the power of our technology, innovation and people will benefit society and the lives of millions of people across the UK over the next five years,” says Marc Allera, CEO of BT’s consumer division.
“We’re using these partnerships to break down barriers and create a meaningful legacy across grassroots, para and women’s football in the UK.”
4-3-3 is named after the four FAs sponsored by BT, the three areas it hopes to improve and three goals the telecommunications company has for the partnership.