It’s kick-off time: Plexal’s working with BT to make football more inclusive

Marc Allera, CEO of BT’s consumer division

From the side streets of São Paulo to the Olympic Stadium in Stratford, the transformative power of football is felt globally. And BT wants to bring the game to even more people.

The company chose Plexal as the destination to launch its new 4-3-3 strategy, which will unite the Home Nations in one of the largest ever footballing programmes through BT’s sponsorship of the The FA, Scottish FA, Irish FA and FA of Wales. It’s aiming to change the lives of millions of players, coaches and fans and make it easier for everyone to play.

As part of the sponsorship, BT unveiled Project Swift – which Plexal’s innovation team is partnering with BT to deliver. We’re working with our community, including our member Disability Rights UK, to develop a new format of the game that will enable people who can’t play using their bodies to play using their minds.

BT’s says its aim “is to introduce new technology concepts into the game, helping those currently excluded from competitive sport to play, with the ultimate ambition of enabling the very best to potentially play one day for their country”.

Speaking about the project, Kamran Mallick, CEO of Disability Rights UK, said: “Sport is a way of bringing people together, an enabler for increased wellbeing, motivation and enjoyment. For many disabled people the barriers we experience limit or exclude us from taking part in sport. We are excited to be partnering with BT to see how technology can remove these barriers and help us to find ways to participate in sport with our peers and communities, and to be active in a way that works for us.”

In addition to Project Swift, BT announced a slew of initiatives to make football more accessible, including support for grassroots football, investment in boosting digital skills and schemes to inspire women and girls to get involved in coaching and sports broadcasting.

Commenting on the sponsorship, Marc Allera, CEO of BT’s consumer division, said he was excited to break down the barriers to people participating in the beautiful game: “Football, like BT, is part of the fabric of our nations and we believe that combining football with the power of our technology, innovation and people will benefit society and the lives of millions of people across the UK over the next five years. We’re using these partnerships to break down barriers and create a meaningful legacy across grassroots, para and women’s football in the UK.”