Coca-Cola Great Britain launched a purpose-driven campaign called “Ball Games Allowed” with football (soccer) charity StreetGames to fund players’ access to sports fields. The partnership comes after a study shows 50 percent of young people said it’s difficult to play in their local community because of playing restrictions in community spaces or no access to coaches. As a result, 30 percent of aspiring players must travel up to an hour away to find a place to play a game on a proper football field.

The findings on which the campaign is based show that 49 percent of those who are ages 16-25 said they have a “no ball games” sign near their home. Additionally, 86 percent of the same respondents said they would benefit from having football coaches in their community and 68 percent said their community would benefit from having safe places to play.

As part of the “Ball Games Allowed” initiative, Coca-Cola created two video spots—one from the perspective of players and one from coaches— to raise awareness about the challenges that young UK football players face in finding spaces to play and support from coaches. Both spots feature retired professional football player Jermaine Jenas, who openly shares how the sport took him away from “anything bad” and how his coaches shaped the person he became. As long as “no ball games” signs continue to exist, players will be stripped of aspiration and team building skills, Jenas notes. Between voiceovers from Jenas, other young football players are shown expressing the benefits of having a place to practice, namely staying away from crime and mischief. 

“The lack of football spaces and coaches restricts so many, but by unlocking more, we are giving more aspiring footballers the chance to thrive. ‘Ball Games Allowed’ will enable us to open up access to facilities in 20 communities, for hundreds of young people where the need is greatest and train over 300 coaches working in our most disadvantaged neighbourhoods,” said Jane Ashworth, StreetGames CEO.

In addition to the efforts to amplify safe spaces to play, Coca-Cola Great Britain pledged to donate $250,000 to StreetGames for playing fields and coaches. Donors will be entered for a chance to win tickets to hundreds of Premier League matches. The beverage brand has launched a new multi-brand on-pack promotion that will run until September 1 across packs of Coca-Cola, Coca-Cola zero sugar, Diet Coke, Fanta, Oasis, Sprite, and Dr Pepper. Coca-Cola Britain has been supporting StreetGames since 2010.