The Football Association (FA) has announced an official payments partnership with PayPal alongside the launch of a new smartphone app that aims to transform how players pay their matchday fees.
Issues such as match fees, annual subs, and even fines incurred for receiving red or yellow cards can be resolved through the mobile app.
Over a four year partnership, both organisations plan to work together on further initiatives to help support grassroots football.
For example, later on this year, grassroots teams will be able to redeem free PayPal-branded football training kit and equipment.
Grassroots football is renowned for its dependance on physical money; according to FA statistics conducted in May 2018, 80% of clubs taking cash and 38% using old fashioned cheques to collect payment.
This reliance on physical money and cheques has meant over the years many clubs have suffered from late or missing payments, 74% of club officials admit they waste time chasing late payments from players and parents, and a third of clubs report that up to 40% of their match fees are not collected.
Director of Digital Engagement at The FA, Russell James talked positively about the partnership, saying it’s a clear signal that the FA are making football more accessible and bringing it into “the digital age”.
He added: “This service will help save time and reduce administration for those people who dedicate their time to organising the football that so many people enjoy.
“Working with PayPal, the market leaders in their field, can only have a positive impact for everyone at grassroots football.”
The FA stated that millions of pounds extra could be collected digitally by grassroots clubs every season.
Incorporating digital payments through the new ‘FA Matchday App’, is hoped to simplify the collection and tracking of money for people who manage grassroots football teams.
Former England footballer Lee Dixon spoke of his previous experiences and how paying by physical cash has been a problem for grassroots football for year.
He reminisced: “When I first started playing, my mum would give me a couple of pounds to pay my subs, which I’d tuck it into my sock. Come full time I’d have lost the coins and my manager would be out of pocket.
“Things haven’t really changed in decades. We shouldn’t underestimate what this app could do for the grassroots game. Providing teams with steady income is essential to the sport’s future success.”