The growth of walking football in the UK and across the globe, pre and post-pandemic

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By admin.FA / April 1, 2021

These unprecedented times have been a test of many of us across the planet and remain that way today. However, with the recent lockdown releasing, following the successful roll-out of the vaccine, the UK has experienced a reduction in the infection rates, allowing some normality to return. The loosening of restrictions means our bunch of reprobates and enthusiastic footballers here at Foxash are back playing the beautiful game, starting from this Easter Sunday. Our return follows the recent government milestone to unlock us and allow us to play this beautiful sport. We want to send out a collective thank you to the man with scruffy blond hair.

‘Walking footballers around the country are getting back to what we enjoy most, and we wish for a speedy return to walking football for all participants around the world.’

The game of walking football has seen its unprecedented times. Positive ones. If someone had mentioned ten years ago that a new sport is coming, that would see many tens of thousands of participants over the age of fifty able to don appropriate attire and venturing onto a field to enjoy team sports. I think very few would believe it could happen. However, this is precisely the case. The sport has seen unprecedented growth over the past five years, boasting over 1000 walking football clubs registered in the UK alone. In England, there are now over 60,000 registered walking footballers. The #WalkingFootballBug has undoubtedly hit the UK, but this new sport is not only reserved for our green and pleasant land.

Walking football beyond good ole Blighty

You have heard of FIFA, well now we have IWFA (international Walking Football Association). Indeed, many other associations have formed across the world, helping to make Walking Football an organised and enjoyable sport for us aged folk. FIWFA, which is an independent association, is launching the inaugural Walking Football World Nations Cup. The cup is planned for 2022, despite its unwanted attention around its name.

Who would have thought? Older, and of course, wiser folk running around a field and representing their country? It demonstrates the sport’s growth worldwide, and tournaments for clubs and nations have been a growing theme almost since the inception of the sport. The world nations cup will culminate with group games and finals taking place at the Manchester Academy stadium. Quite a venue!

The growth around the world is also evidential. Clubs are forming continually across Europe, and more and more tournaments are coming on board. At Foxash, we are certainly considering our first venture across the channel to play against some of our European neighbours.

Why do we do it?

We love the game, and the opportunity to meet up with a decent bunch of human beings who try not to kick lumps out of each other (it’s not allowed) is great fun. We get a little fitter, and we feel great, and yes, those aches and pains from a Sunday morning stroll with a size five can last a few days. But do we care? Of course not!


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