Free v Free
With the World Cup in progress in Brazil it is a fitting time to reflect on why football is such a popular game. Although football is now a billion pound industry awash with money, the real reason why it is the world game is that it is so very easy to organise and play and it is free.
All you need is some players, something for a ball and makeshift goals. What you see will see at the World Cup final is essentially the same as what is also played in a backstreet in Ghana.
The NCFA are running a children's football week from 19th -27th July celebrating football in its simplest form.
We are running various FREE football events and encouraging everyone to take part whether it be 1v1 balloon football in the bedroom or a 2v3 World Cup in the garden. Everyone can get involved in some way or other.
The theme this year is Football & Peace during the centenary year of the most important football game ever played during the Christmas truce in 1914 when despite butchering each other only hours before, given the opportunity reverted to childhood and played a game of football that they played as children, two teams, jackets for goalposts and a ball. The same game that is played worldwide by children in the playgrounds, streets, parks and waste ground.
Sadly many children in this country have been priced out of playing the game as joining a club can be expensive and then there is no guarantee that they will get a game. With the huge rise in traffic and the fear of stranger danger, street football and even kick about's in the park are becoming rarer.
The majority of football for children is now organised by adults and normally there is a cost involved.
With the advent of the Premier League whole swathes of the population have been priced out of watching football live and sadly that is being mirrored by the struggle of many parents to pay for their children to even play.
It is somewhat ironic that children in some of the most desperate places on the planet have access to free play and free football while the more affluent a country becomes the less access there is to play.
Free play, on their own terms, is the right of every child and the National Children's Football Alliance would like to make a plea to the government, FA, Premier League and any organisation that can make a difference to do more in making sure more children have access to free football.
Everyone can do something. A parent can take their children down the park for a kick about and ask other parents to bring their children and meet say once a fortnight. It is in everyone's power to do something.
What can you do?