A new ‘Football Rebooted’ campaign has been launched today by the UK’s leading smart energy supplier, Utilita, and former England and Premier League goalkeeper, David James MBE. The campaign has been created to help the nation recycle at least one million pairs of ‘pre-played’ football boots and astro boots, saving families a small fortune, as well as 136,000 tonnes of carbon – the same as taking 7,000 cars off the road for a year, or turning the energy off in one million medium-sized houses for a week.
The ‘donate and claim’ campaign, enables anyone with spare football boots or astro boots to request a freepost ‘boot bag’ to donate their boots, after which their boots will appear at one of many claim stations that will pop up in parks, training grounds, and at some of the UK’s largest football clubs. Premium pairs of the ‘most wanted’ retro boots and former and current players’ boots and other items will also be in the mix, giving anyone a chance to come along and grab a pair to be proud of.
The campaign is strategically designed to put an aspirational spin on a mechanic that will get good boots through to families struggling to afford new ones, after Utilita’s State of Play report revealed that out of the 74 percent of families who had been impacted financially by the pandemic, 18 percent won’t be able to send their kids back to grassroots football as they can’t afford boots and other items such as goalie gloves and shin pads.
Campaign ambassador and keen environmentalist, David James, and the Utilita team held focus groups with families, which revealed the barriers to boots finding new homes – the biggest being pride. The donate and claim mechanic avoids families needing to accept charity from people they know, and makes claiming a new pair an aspirational activity, whereby people are impacting the environment, too.
Campaign ambassador, David James MBE, comments on why the campaign is so important: “Right now, there are millions of pairs of football boots that people have grown out of or replaced, and we need to make sure they don’t end up in landfill. Getting these boots replayed through Utilita’s Football Rebooted campaign will not only save players a few quid but will also act as an important reminder about the power of upcycling and reusing items that still have a lot of life left in them.”
Bill Bullen, founder of Utilita - the only energy company created to help households use and waste less energy - comments on why Utilita has created the Football Rebooted campaign saying: “Most consumers are becoming more thoughtful about how their choices impact the environment, but sometimes life gets in the way of making the right choice. That’s why we have created Football Rebooted, which makes recycling football boots with plenty of life left in them, really easy.
“The campaign has been shaped by grassroots football players, coaches and parents, so uses carbon-saving examples that really resonate with this audience - home energy usage and taking cars off the road. It’s been incredibly encouraging to see football players as young as six years old talk passionately about the importance of protecting the environment.”
Premier League and EFL clubs across the UK, including Portsmouth, Southampton, Derby County and Leeds United, have already signed up to donate the football boots worn by their academy players, while first-team players have also donated their own boots in the interests of the environment. As part of the new campaign, schools can request boots be sent to them for children who they identify as needing football boots to enable them to play in or outside of school.
English Schools' FA (ESFA) Chairman, Phil Harding, said: "The last 12 months have been very difficult for families, teams, players and schools alike and, as the National Governing Body for Schools' Football, the ESFA welcome any campaign to help ensure children have every opportunity to take part in a sport that they are passionate about, but that is also so beneficial for both their physical and mental health. The Football Rebooted campaign not only has a great environmental message but is also working towards helping children to be active, participate and enjoy school sport."