This weekend the Kinder+Sport Kids Cup gives 48 children the a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play on the hallowed turf at Wembley before The Football League Play-off Finals.The 2015 Kinder+Sport Kids Cup has seen over 16,700 children take part in the nationwide competition which is an increase of more than 1,000 from previous years. The competition, for children under the age of 11, culminates in a final at Wembley before the Sky Bet Football League Play-Off Finals this Bank Holiday Weekend.
This year will see children from Huncoat Primary School, Lyndhurst Primary School, The Oaks Primary School, South Failsworth Primary School, St James Primary School and Salesbury Primary School representing Accrington Stanley, Portsmouth, Crawley Town, Oldham Athletic, AFC Bournemouth and Blackburn Rovers, battling it out to be named the Kinder+Sport Kids Cup Champions of 2015. The lucky finalists have progressed through each stage of the competition, organised by The Football League Trust, beating competition from various schools representing 72 Football League clubs.
The unique format of the Kids Cup sees each of the 72 Football League clubs running a competition for local schools. The 72 winners are then split into three divisions, in line with each club’s divisional status, before being again split into two groups, North and South. Each club has chosen a local school as its representative through each stage of the Kinder+Sport Kids Cup on the road to Wembley.
Mike Evans, Director of Operations for The Football League Trust, commented: “Over the course of the Sky Bet Football League Play-Off weekend the dreams of 48 children will come true with a unique opportunity to follow in the footsteps of legends and play at Wembley Stadium. However for us the most important outcome of the competition is that so many children have been encouraged to be active at an early age.”
Kinder+Sport is a global initiative run by Ferrero, which is also a sponsor of the Kinder+Sport Girls Cup competition. This year the Kinder+Sport Girls Cup competition moved 6,000 girls and saw Brentford take the title.
The Kinder+Sport Project is a key part of Ferrero’s global CSR activity and in the UK sees Ferrero partner with The Football League Trust to increase the levels of physical activity, promote nutritional education and build awareness of the importance of a balanced diet and active lifestyle amongst children.
In the UK Ferrero also support the + Sport Move and Learn Project which is a schools-based programme targeting nine to 10-year-olds. It sets out to move over 21,000 children and deliver over 190,000 hours of activity and education over the 2014/15 school year across the UK and Ireland.
A Ferrero spokesperson said: “We are delighted to be supporting the Kids Cup and Girls Cup competitions, to get children across the country involved with and excited about playing sport and getting active as part of our wider Kinder+Sport activity.
"At Ferrero we believe that active children are more likely to grow into active adults. We want to inspire future generations to embrace physical exercise, and gain a sense of joy from living an active life.
"Led by clubs in their regions, the tournaments provide children with a truly unique opportunity to be exposed to the world of professional sport, an unmissable source of inspiration to stay active."
Drew Barrand, Marketing Director of The Football League, said: “These competitions really show how Football League clubs connect and engage with their local communities.
"The Kinder+Sport Girls Cup and Kids Cups use that connection, along with the chance to play on a national stage at Wembley, to drive participation as part of The Football League’s ongoing commitment to grassroots football.”
The finals line-up:
Saturday 23rd May - Sky Bet League 2:
Accrington Stanley (Huncoat Primary School) v Portsmouth (Lyndhurst Junior School)
Sunday 24th May - Sky Bet League 1:
Crawley Town (Oaks Primary School) v Oldham Athletic (South Failsworth Primary School)
Monday 25th May - Sky Bet Championship:
Blackburn Rovers (Salesbury C of E Primary School) v AFC Bournemouth (St James C of E Academy)