NATIONAL LOTTERY players across the country are being given the chance to watch local football teams for free as a ‘thank you’ for the over £12.5 million of National Lottery funding which helped these community clubs survive when the Covid pandemic struck and football at this level effectively shut down.
The National Lottery Football Weekends campaign across the four home nations will make over 100,000 tickets available on a ‘Buy One Get One Free’ basis for National Lottery players for selected matches in March and April.
It aims to get people out to watch and really get behind their local team, perhaps for the first time, and experience the vital role these clubs play as part of their local community which includes games in the National League, National League North and National League South with Solihull Moors and Leamington taking part.
Thanks to National Lottery players, during the height of the Covid crisis a total support package of over £12.5 million from The National Lottery was made available and proved vital for many local clubs across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to survive the loss of essential matchday revenue as football shut down.
Crowds have since returned to football at this level in huge numbers as people recognise the importance of their local football club to their local community and The National Lottery Football Weekends is to thank National Lottery players for stepping up when they were needed the most.
The special ‘Buy One Get One Free’ ticket offer will be available to National Lottery players for a game at one of the 231 participating clubs in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The ticket offer will apply to one home match for each club, taking place between March 19 and April 16.
The campaign will be delivered in partnership with the National League, The FA (Football Association), The Scottish FA (Scottish Football Association), FAW (Football Association of Wales) and NIFA (Northern Ireland Football Association) and is also backed by well-known ex-footballers Ally McCoist and Karen Carney.
Mark Bullingham, FA Chief Executive, said: “The National League System is incredibly important to the English pyramid and the positive impact local clubs have on their communities up and down the country is clear to see.
“Volunteers, leagues, clubs and fans have all pulled together during the pandemic and it will be fantastic to see so many people out supporting their local team across The National Lottery Football Weekends.”
Ally McCoist, former Scotland international and National Lottery Football Weekends Ambassador said: “In nearly every corner of the country you will find a football club which does much more than just kick a ball around on a Saturday afternoon.
“These clubs make a difference to so many in their community and they suffered perhaps more than any other part of our game during the pandemic.
“The support of National Lottery players has been crucial in helping them survive and now you can support them again, but this time from the terraces.”
To find out more about The National Lottery Football Weekends and to find your nearest match visit: www.thenationallotteryfootballweekends.co.uk.
Each club will be responsible for distributing tickets for its home match and details on how to claim will be available from each club. Terms and conditions apply.
The money for this campaign, as well as the initiatives with the various FA’s and leagues across the UK during Covid came from a National Lottery promotional fund, it was not funded by money allocated for National Lottery Good Causes or by Camelot.
The National Lottery is also working alongside Non-League Day, a campaign set up in 2010 to encourage supporters of clubs playing at the highest levels of the game to support their smaller local or non-league club and sample the unique matchday experience of football at local level.