This special issue addresses the complex reality of English community football organisations, including Football in the Community (FitC) schemes, which have been attending to social agendas, such as social inclusion and health promotion. The positioning of football as a key agent of change for this diverse range of social issues has resulted in an increase in funding support. Despite the increased availability of funding and the (apparent) willingness of football clubs to adopt such an altruistic position within society, there remains limited empirical evidence to substantiate football’s ability to deliver results.
This book explores the current role of a football and football clubs in supporting and delivering social inclusion and health promotion to its community and seeks to examine the philosophical, political, environmental and practical challenges of this work. The power and subsequent lure of a football club and its brand is an ideal vehicle to entice and capture populations that (normally) ignore or turn away from positive social and/or health behaviours. The foundations of such a belief are examined, outlining key recommendations and considerations for both researchers and practitioners attending to these social and health issues through the vehicle of football. This book was originally published as a special issue of Soccer & Society.