Amateur football players can now pay their match fees via their smartphone thanks to an update to an official app.
Digital payments service PayPal has signed a partnership with the Football Association (FA) to enable grassroots footballers to pay their match fees from their smartphones.
The FA Matchday app will now offer an online payment system to more than a million people who play football at a grassroots level. They will have the ability to pay match fees, annual subs and even fines from within the app.
According to the FA, 80% of clubs currently rely on cash, with 74% of club officials saying they waste time chasing late payments from players and parents, with clubs reporting up to 40% of fees are no collected.
PayPal UK’s director of mobile payments Rob Harper said: “Technology is enabling us to move away from cash in almost all aspects of life, and the beautiful game is next.
“Those forgotten fivers to pay for subs soon add up and become a real headache for managers. Together with The FA, we’ve devised an easy way for players to leave their wallet or chequebook at home, and use their PayPal digital wallet to settle up instead. With over 24 million PayPal account holders in the UK, we are well-placed to drive positive and lasting change for the sport.”
The app also makes it easier for grassroots teams to organise themselves, the FA said.
It will include features that allow club secretaries, managers and players to organise training sessions, pick their team and send out updates to players.
Players themselves can also share their availability and view fixtures, results and league tables.
FA director of digital engagement Russell James said: “This signals our intent to further bring grassroots football into the digital age, making the game more accessible for all.
“Importantly, this service will help save time and reduce administration for those people who dedicate their time to organising the football that so many people enjoy. Working with PayPal, the market leaders in their field, can only have a positive impact for everyone at grassroots football.”
Former England international Lee Dixon added: “Paying with cash in grassroots football has been a problem for years. When I first started playing, my mum would give me a couple of pounds to pay my subs, which I’d tuck it into my sock.
“Come full time I’d have lost the coins and my manager would be out of pocket. Things haven’t really changed in decades. We shouldn’t underestimate what this app could do for the grassroots game. Providing teams with steady income is essential to the sport’s future success.”