The Pokémon Company International has entered a three-year partnership with The Football Association to support its national futsal strategy.
With a focus on children’s football development, the partnership hopes to increase school and club participation in futsal (indoor football that is usually five-a-side) across the UK.
This will entail raising the sport’s profile, creating a clear identity for the game and developing a twin tracking pathway that allows boys and girls to enjoy futsal as part of their overall experience of football.
"We are delighted to welcome The Pokémon Company International as a partner of The FA to support our national futsal strategy and help grow participation in England," Dan Kiddle, The FA’s head of commercial partnerships, said.
"Pokémon is an instantly recognisable brand across the world and we are excited to work together to encourage young players, of all abilities, to play the game of futsal."
The Pokémon Company International and The FA plan to deliver a range of initiatives across participating schools and clubs next year, including The FA’s National Youth Futsal Festival in May and supporting the England men’s national futsal team.
According to The FA, a number of players on the England men’s team were brought up playing indoor football – a hobby that uses technical ability, decision-making and reaction time to create more technically confident players.
Michael Skubala, head coach of the England futsal team, said: "It’s great to have such an iconic brand as Pokémon to sit alongside futsal development in England.
"We will work hard together to engage with young players so that they can experience futsal as part of their football development. It’s an exciting, fast-paced, technical game and I know they will love it."