A record number of English Football League (EFL) clubs have achieved Family Excellence status for demonstrating best practice in family engagement on matchdays.

Some 65 English Football League clubs achieved the standard set by the scheme in 2021-22, which was up on the 63 clubs who did so in 2019-20.

Of those, 12 were crowned gold award winners for their exemplary work in engaging families at their stadiums. The gold award winners for the most recent season were Championship winners Fulham as well as Blackburn Rovers, Hull City, Luton Town, Middlesbrough, Sheffield United and Stoke City. Lower league teams Doncaster Rovers, Exeter City, Mansfield Town, Scunthorpe United and Swindon Town were also honoured.

The EFL said that clubs have worked hard to ensure supporters have been welcomed back safely this season following the disruption caused by the Covid pandemic , while exploring new and innovative ways to continue to boost the matchday experience for youngsters and families.

Trevor Birch, the EFL’s chief executive, said: “I would like to congratulate the record number of clubs that have achieved Family Excellence status this season. Ensuring a memorable matchday experience is vital to attract the next generation of young fans, so it’s great to see so many clubs excelling in this area.

“Fans returning to EFL clubs in their millions this season has been fantastic to see and club staff should be commended for going the extra mile to make the matchdays engaging for families attending live games.”

The Family Excellence Scheme, first introduced by the EFL in 2006-07, is an ongoing consultation programme, which aims to drive continuous improvement and best practice in family engagement across the leagues.

The scheme sees each EFL club receive two ‘mystery family’ visits throughout the season, with their feedback and reports determining whether each respective club would achieve Family Excellence status.

Last month, Ipswich Town was named the Family Club of the Year at the EFL Awards. The EFL said the club has created a “compelling matchday experience” for families, with attractions including a full-size 3G pitch next to Portman Road.

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