Sunderland, Nottingham Forest and Crawley Town among 65 EFL clubs who achieved Family Excellence status last season

A total of 65 EFL clubs, including Crawley Town, have achieved Family Excellence status for the 2021-22 season, 12 of which have been crowned as ‘Gold Award’ winners for their exemplary work in engaging families on matchdays.

The record-breaking number, up from 63 clubs in 2019-20, recognises continuous improvement and best practice in family engagement across the league and rewards clubs in their efforts to attract and retain young fans of the future.

Given the particularly challenging set of circumstances faced during the Covid-19 pandemic, EFL clubs have worked hard to ensure supporters have been welcomed back safely this season, while exploring new and innovative ways to continue to boost the matchday experience for youngsters and families.

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Now in its 14th year, the Family Excellence Scheme is an ongoing consultation programme, which aims to drive continuous improvement and best practice in family engagement across the leagues.

A total of 65 EFL clubs, including Crawley Town, have achieved Family Excellence status for the 2021-22 season

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.

The year-on-year progress of EFL clubs was also highlighted at the EFL Awards last month, with Ipswich Town named the Kin + Carta Family Club of the Year.

The club has created a compelling matchday experience for families, and chief among their main attractions - and a key example of excellent family engagement activation - is the Fan Zone: on a full-size 3G pitch next to Portman Road which is the 'go to' pre-match destination with entertainment and activities which helps attract, and importantly retain, young fans and families.

EFL chief executive, Trevor Birch, 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 Gold Award Winners for 2021-22 are as follows; Blackburn Rovers, Doncaster Rovers, Exeter City, Fulham, Hull City, Luton Town, Mansfield Town, Middlesbrough, Scunthorpe United, Sheffield United, Stoke City, and Swindon Town.

A full list of all other EFL clubs to receive Family Excellence status can be found below:

Championship – AFC Bournemouth, Birmingham City, Blackpool, Bristol City, Cardiff City, Coventry City, Derby County, Huddersfield Town, Millwall, Nottingham Forest, Peterborough United, Preston North End, Queens Park Rangers, Reading, Swansea City, West Bromwich Albion.

League One – AFC Wimbledon, Bolton Wanderers, Burton Albion. Cambridge United, Charlton Athletic, Cheltenham Town, Crewe Alexandra, Ipswich Town, Lincoln City, MK Dons, Oxford City, Plymouth Argyle, Rotherham United, Sheffield Wednesday, Shrewsbury Town, Sunderland, Wigan Athletic, Wycombe Wanderers.

League Two – Barrow, Bradford City, Colchester United, Crawley Town, Forest Green Rovers, Leyton Orient, Morecambe, Newport County, Northampton Town, Oldham Athletic, Port Vale, Rochdale, Salford City, Stevenage, Sutton United, Tranmere Rovers, Walsall.