For UCFB student Paul Carr, what started as a degree programme module has led to forming a national governing body that will soon be highlighted in a dedicated Sky Sports programme.

As a keen participant of walking football, Paul, who studies BA (Hons) Football Business & Finance at UCFB Etihad Campus, realised a governing body was needed for the sport. The Walking Football Association (WFA) was then born after his perfect pitch to the UCFB board as part of the UCFB Sports Entrepreneur Award this year.

 

Now, nine months down the line, The WFA are set to announce a number of partnership and sponsorship deals, and are confident of securing the funds to host a European and world championship in 2019 and 2020 respectively. With over 1,100 clubs and an estimated 35,000 players, walking football is the fastest growing sport in the UK.

On the upcoming Sky Sports show, Paul said: “This will be the first 30-minute professional showcase of the sport on national TV. It’s a feel good video, presenting the sport as a fun, social and healthy activity for the over 50s.”

He added: “It’s only been nine months but we are sending out a monthly newsletter to over 700 clubs and the responses have been very positive with numerous testimonials received. We have just launched a club affiliation scheme, and the launch of the England national team has generated huge excitement. We’ve already had 12 applications for the manager position and the clubs have nominated over 100 players for squad consideration.”

Paul, chief executive of the not-for-profit organisation, sits on the board of directors alongside Steve Rich and John Croot, who created the game. UCFB chairman Brendan Flood and Folkestone and Hythe MP Damian Collins are also directors. Former Premier League referee Uriah Rennie has been brought in as The WFA’s referee advisor.

Over the coming months, Paul hopes to see The WFA gain more media exposure and partnerships, and is keen to set up 15 regional walking football centres. Next year, The WFA will be able to apply to Sport England for the sport to be officially recognised, which will then allow the organisation to apply for funding.

Click here for more information on The Walking Football Association.

The Walking Football Association will feature in ‘Walking Football’ on Sky Sports at the following times:

Tuesday 3rd October

Sky Sports Football – 7pm, 8.30pm & 11pm

Sky Sports Mix – 10pm

Wednesday 4th October

Sky Sports Football – 9am, 1pm, 5pm, 9pm & 10pm

Sky Sports Mix – 3pm & 7pm