Greater Game

The Greater Game

Using the power of football to improve the health and wellbeing of young people





  • Following last year’s successful pilot programme, The FA’s ‘The Greater Game’ is being rolled out nationwide.
  • The Greater Game centres around four key elements: move; think; eat and sleep; encouraging 12-16 year olds to make one healthier action a week.

  • Research conducted by The FA found that nearly a third (31%) of young people do not feel the need to exercise regularly and over half (52%) have suffered from a mental health issue in the past year.
  • Alongside the national rollout of ‘The Greater Game’ comes a focus on the move element with the release of an accessible, football-themed game for young people named ‘DROPS’ with content of the game now available on The FA's social channels.


The Football Association (The FA) announced the national rollout of ‘The Greater Game’, a campaign focused on inspiring 12-16-year-olds, and their families, to improve their health and wellbeing by making at least one extra healthier action per week.


Central to the campaign is a grassroots programme, co-created with the Official Health & Wellbeing Partner of FA Grassroots Football, Nuffield Health, that focuses on four key elements: moving well; thinking well, eating well; and sleeping well, with fellow founding partner, M&S Food focusing on the eating well element.  


The pilot grassroots programme, launched in 2023, saw 186 teams take part, with participating clubs noticing a positive impact across all elements. As a result, it will now be rolled out nationally with an ambition of onboarding clubs across all 50 County FAs.


This is supported by research from The FA of 1,800 nationally representative 12–16-year-olds in the UK, revealing that almost a third (31%) do not believe regular exercise is necessary.


The programme will roll out with a focus on the moving well element as The FA launches ‘DROPS’, an accessible football-inspired game for young people. To play, the game requires three friends, six bottles and a ball and is designed to be easily played on a regular basis to inspire young people to be more physically active and move more in a fun way. England stars including Ollie Watkins, Jessica Park and Gino King from the England men’s, women’s and para teams feature in the launch film.


The focus of The Greater Game is to inspire this age group to move more to not only reap the benefits for their physical health, but for their mental health too. Further research found that over half (52%) of young people have experienced a mental health problem in the last year.


The programme provides practical tips and techniques to support making healthier choices across all elements (Move, Think, Eat, Sleep) with over a third of 12 – 16 year olds claiming they do not feel the need to sleep more than nine hours – the recommended time to aid development in young people – with only 14% saying they manage to do so every day.


Additionally, a fifth (20%) of young people eat fast food for dinner, more than five times per week, and over a quarter (28%) do not feel the need to eat any fruit and vegetables.