Football For Life

This Entry has been submitted.

Football For Life

Organization type: 
for profit
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

'Football For Life' is a landmark charitable grassroots project which brings joy into the lives of disadvantaged children in migrant worker communities in China. FFL provides in-curricula coaching courses delivered by British FA qualified coaches and local assistants in an educational and fun English language environment.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

There are currently 150-200 million migrant laborers who have moved from the countryside into major cities in China. They must either uproot or leave behind their children. In certain regions, 50% of children have parents working in other provinces. Migrant children are especially vulnerable to low self-esteem and delinquency. They are also the most at risk from human trafficking. Studies show that a large percentage perform poorly in school, are disenfranchised, and develop behavioral issues due to limited social support, poor economic conditions, lack of familial support and low motivation levels. Migrant children mostly live outside city centers and frequently move with their parents. They lack stability and suffer from limited access to education and government services. Against this backdrop, recent studies show that youth crime in China is escalating dramatically and gangs are attracting children by providing comfort, structure & a sense of purpose.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Football For Life is unique in several ways. In this competition, we are unique in being the only submission from China, the world’s biggest football nation. Our commitment to community values and the principles of fair play still make us unique in this market today. FFL is the first time that a registered charity and a community football club have come together in China to provide disadvantaged children with the same high quality experiences enjoyed by more affluent urban kids. FFL is the first time that ClubFootball’s 90,000+ members and fans (and many more supporters) have had the opportunity to channel charitable contributions directly into football and witness the impact on deserving children in their own communities. FFL is unique in matching CAI’s network of migrant schools with ClubFootball’s spare coaching capacity. This matching of resources enables us to jointly deliver football courses free to all FFL participants and to start integrating migrant kids groups with the more than 2,000 city registered kids currently playing football at our courses held at nearly 20 locations across Beijing. At the heart of FFL is the desire to provide positive learning experiences, not just for city and migrant kids, but also for ClubFootball’s international coaches, local staff and volunteers. These innovations make FFL sustainable and scalable directly in line with the growth of football in major cities.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

FFL kicked off in the first semester of the 2009/10 academic year (autumn/winter) with pilot programs running in Dongba Experimental School. The pilot involved approx. 150 boys and girls. In Spring 2010, Football For Life expanded to reach a total of 242 kids. Substantial media support has been secured and key sponsors & partners are committed for future seasons. Feedback At the outset, being unfamiliar with the game of football, many had expected not to enjoy the activity but were unanimously converted come the end of the course! Aside from bringing happiness to the children, they were particularly grateful for the exercise and the opportunity to play outdoors having previously stayed inside for PE classes. The activity helped boost confidence, self-esteem and energy levels, as well as giving kids the chance to interact more and form stronger, more compassionate relationships with their peers. In addition, many of the children also mentioned that taking part in the programs had prompted a love of the game that they could use in their family life and intended to watch televised games with their fathers in future. FFL also helped break down gender-based barriers amongst girls who previously believed that football was a sport for boys only and who now look forward to playing with a newfound sense of confidence in their abilities.
About You
China ClubFootball FC
Visit website
Section 1: About You
First Name


Last Name



China ClubFootball FC

Section 2: About Your Organization
Organization Name

China ClubFootball FC

Organization Phone

+86 10 51306893

Organization Address

Unit A211, Door 3, Zone A1, Zhaowei Huadeng, Zhaowei Building #51, No.14 Jiuxianqiao Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100015

Organization Country
Your idea
Country your work focuses on
Do you have a patent for this idea?


With the project now successfully launched in Beijing, our efforts in 2010 are focused on further evaluating the impact, consolidating our current operations (including dealing with the issue of the fluctuating numbers of students at migrant schools) and, subject to funding, extending Football For Life into more migrant schools to reach more deserving kids.

For that we require support from multiple sources and we are working closely with local government, private companies, non-profit organizations and other community groups to secure in-kind and cash donations and sponsorships. We are also actively seeking grants from charitable foundations.

Our aim is to build Football For Life into the primary vehicle for uniting the incredible power of football at all levels in China and directing those combined efforts directly into delivering practical solutions on the ground in the most deserving communities.



Feedback From The Children

“This activity makes me happy and gives me confidence and courage in meeting the challenges I will face. I also felt the spirit of team work too! I really like this activity and coaches. Thank you for helping me to find happiness and courage.”

Sun Lan (Grade 7)

“I really liked this activity. It helped me to change a lot of bad habits. Before I did not listen carefully in class, even fell asleep, but now I listen carefully and do not fall asleep anymore. This is how football helped me to change.”

Yang Mengmeng (Grade 5)

“Every time the coaches came to our school, although we did not cheer out loud, I was really excited inside. When they said hello to me, I only replied simply but I was very happy!”

Wang Jiali (Grade 5)

“I will remember forever that I played football with English coaches and shook hands with them when I was in Grade 5”

Wang Lige (Grade 5)

“Before I usually only played with my best friend and sometimes just on my own, so I felt lonely. My classmates always said I was like a sad, old person! But after I took part in this activity, I smile every day."

Tan Dan (Grade 7)

What will it take for your project to be successful over the next three years? Please address each year separately, if possible.

2010 – The successful pilot project provides the practical proof of impact required by many major funding bodies. Our primary objective is to ensure the sustainability of the current FFL project in Beijing by establishing minimum annual commitments from our current supporters and by reaching out for further CSR and public affairs contributions from China-based businesses. We need to further improve the donation process to facilitate smaller, individual contributions and we will further develop corporate schemes that better match client budgets and deliver tangible CSR benefits.

2011 – ClubFootball is in the process of securing private backing for the construction of the first dedicated community football center in China. As our flagship charitable project, FFL will be at the core of the fund-raising activities facilitated by the new venue. In addition to providing further high quality capacity for free coaching sessions, the center will also allow us to host special FFL Football Festivals for all participating migrant children and better integrate our migrant kids groups with their city-registered neighbors.

2012 – ClubFootball is exploring options for the extension of its business into further Chinese cities. We commenced commercial community coaching programs at international schools in the city of Tianjin in 2009 and initial FFL fundraising activities started there this year. As these activities and the associated ‘football-friendly’ network grows, we will establish a permanent presence in the city and FFL Tianjin will be our central community commitment.

What would prevent your project from being a success?

With ClubFootball’s coaching capabilities and CAI’s migrant schools network both in place, the major barrier remains the lack of knowledge about this type of community responsibility among local people and the position of many companies which have funds to allocate for similar projects but have yet to recognize Football For Life as a positive force for good within China.

In China, government ownership of sport, restrictions on the activities of charities and NGOs and the failure of the education system to properly value sport in school, all conspire to make it harder to build community sports networks. As indicated by the lack of entries from China for this competition and China's absence from the 2010 FIFA World Cup Finals, football here remains isolated from the world at all levels.

As an organization, ClubFootball is dedicated to building the sustainable infrastructure needed for grassroots football to flourish in China and, with FFL, we are further stating that, as grassroots football finally gets going within major cities, the amateur principles of community support must be proudly proclaimed and delivered from Day One. Given China's population, this is the biggest challenge in the world and we will succeed only if more people and organizations come to share this understanding and actively contribute to ensuring that society's most vulnerable members can enjoy and share the same uplifting sports experiences as the most secure.

How many people will your project serve annually?


What is the average monthly household income in your target community, in US Dollars?

$50 - 100

Does your project seek to have an impact on public policy?


What stage is your project in?

Operating for less than a year

In what country?
Is your initiative connected to an established organization?


If yes, provide organization name.

China ClubFootball FC Limited

How long has this organization been operating?

More than 5 years

Does your organization have a Board of Directors or an Advisory Board?


Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with NGOs?


Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with businesses?


Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with government?


Please tell us more about how these partnerships are critical to the success of your innovation.

Chinese Football Association – ClubFootball supports the “Schools Football” program in 44 cities nationwide.

Beijing Olympic City Development Association – ClubFootball is partner to the Olympic legacy organization. We work with Beijing Education Commission, British Council and Premier League to deliver coach training courses.

Nike is a ClubFootball partner and donates footwear and balls for FFL courses.

Digitouch Foto supports FFL with in-kind services, including team photos for all participants.

Leung’s Studio volunteered their skills to help ClubFootball and CAI create the FFL logo.

Grassroots sports and charitable giving both suffer from lack of media exposure and we have cultivated relations with media organizations that share our commitment. Media partners distributing FFL information (press releases, news and features) are:

PR Newswire Asia, Beijing Today, Sohu Sports Broadcasting, Jin magazine,, Global Times, China Newswire, China CSR

The involvement and support of the above organizations is crucial to bringiing the FFL message to the wider public.

What are the three most important actions needed to grow your initiative or organization?

1. Secure more funding. We know the exact costs and resources needed to deliver each FFL course and we still have potential capacity within our current coaching teams. Unfortunately, there is an almost endless number of migrant children who have no organized sports activities and could benefit from FFL courses.

2. Official recognition. We work closely with government, business, media and communities, but we still need to gain more official recognition for our work from domestic and international football organizations and supporters.

3. English. The English language environment provided by FFL is key to attracting kids, parents and schools and we need to better integrate fun-based language learning and practice into all our courses. We are exploring opportunities to add "English Through Football" materials to the packs supplied to FFL participants.

The Story
What was the defining moment that led you to this innovation?

From its inception, ClubFootball has had a very strong community ethic and, in partnership with sponsors including MasterCard and Manchester United FC, we have raised nearly US$100,000 for charities including UNICEF, Red Cross and Huiling since 2004.

While we are proud of these achievements as an example of how social groups can join together for the common good, it became increasingly clear to us that football itself desperately needs support in China and, crucially, that football itself is the best solution for many social challenges addressed by various charities.

Once we identified that our football courses directly address many of the issues being tackled by CAI and other NGOs in migrant worker communities, it was an easy extension for us to move forward together to create a single project that combined those shared objectives and benefits.

Tell us about the social innovator behind this idea.

ClubFootball was established by a group of British social entrepreneurs based in China and FFL is just one of the positive results of over 10 years of efforts to instill community sports ethics here.

Chairman Rowan Simons is one of the most respected experts in China’s media industry and a prominent spokesman for the grassroots game. His story of building football in China was told in the book “Bamboo Goalposts” which was shortlisted for the 2008 William Hill Sports Book of the Year.

CEO Keith Bradbury has led our charitable projects since the launch of ClubFootball and he created and now drives forward the FFL project with CAI.

COO David Niven is responsible for building ClubFootball’s junior coaching and league programs and coordinates the schedules of our FFL coaching teams.

How did you first hear about Changemakers?

Through another organization or company

If through another, please provide the name of the organization or company

Two separate referrals: Nike China and FA Premier League