ESFA National Finals, featured, Sponsors and Partners

Get ready for the Pokémon Primary Schools’ Cup 23/24

The English Schools’ Football Association (ESFA) and The Pokémon Company International are delighted to announce the return of the Pokémon Primary Schools’ Cup for the 2023/24 season.

The multi-year partnership between the ESFA and The Pokémon Company International is now in its second year, giving opportunities to over 5,000 primary school football teams and over 50,000 players across England. Schools across England will be getting ready to rally their teams and get stuck into the competition.

The partnership offers equal access to football for children at primary school, with a pathway for players to build their football skills across mixed teams, girls’ teams and small schools’ teams in the following categories:

  • U11 Schools’ Cup
  • U11 Girls’ Cup
  • U11 Small Schools’ Cup

During the 23/24 season, school teams will be able to showcase their skills in the local district rounds, successful teams then go on to compete in County rounds, then one of four Regional Finals, which take place in the North, Midlands, South East and South West of England. The top 6 teams who qualify in each Regional Final will have the opportunity to travel to the National Finals, which will be held at a prestigious English football club, to battle it out to be crowned National Champions.  

“It was amazing to see so many talented teams from across the country take part in last season’s competition, truly demonstrating that teamwork, friendship and respect are equally important factors in a football competition,” said Peter Murphy, Senior Director of Marketing at The Pokémon Company International. “We look forward to continuing to work alongside the ESFA to build on last year’s competition and add in a few special touches that will hopefully help inspire teams along the way. We’re excited to see new teams enter the competition this year and follow their journeys throughout the season.”

ESFA Chair, Marvin Robinson said: “On behalf of the English Schools’ FA, I am delighted to see the growth of the partnership between the ESFA and Pokémon, allowing the Pokémon Primary Schools’ Cup to provide such fantastic opportunities for schools and their pupils across England. Building on the resounding success of our inaugural season together, we eagerly anticipate the evolution of this partnership in the coming months. The Pokémon brand has an unparalleled resonance with children, and it breathes life into the U11 schools’ cup competitions in ways that are truly extraordinary.”

Alex Norman, team coach of last year’s winning U11 Small Schools’ Cup Team, Alma Primary School said, “Having seen the school win the competition last year, the children are so excited to compete again. The chance to play against other schools across the country creates opportunities that some may never have experienced and memories that last forever. Playing at Leicester City’s King Power stadium is something the kids and parents will never forget. It was a fantastic day! Our participation last year was a massive plus for the whole school with everyone feeling a part of the success.”

The Pokémon Company International is on a mission to delight their fans through excellent products and meaningful experiences. They hope to help make the world a better place for everyone by creating opportunities to bond and grow through shared journeys and friendly competition.

To take part, schools can get in touch with their local County Schools’ FA and register to take part in local rounds of the competition.

Competition and event updates will be shared via the ESFA’s website and across social channels throughout the coming months.

featured, Sponsors and Partners

Arnold Clark Schools’ Cup- ESFA announce new sponsor for U16-U18 National Competitions

The English Schools’ Football Association (ESFA) is delighted to announce Arnold Clark as the new sponsors of all U16 – U18 National Schools’ Cup competitions from September 2023. 

This new partnership will see Arnold Clark sponsor 10 ESFA Cup competitions, with the brand supporting thousands of schools’ football players on their journey to become National Champions in 2024 onwards. The Arnold Clark Schools’ Cup title will cover all U16 – U18 Schools’ Cup competitions, including three girls’ competitions. Almost 1,800 teams are currently entered into these competitions for the 23/24 season and it seems likely that the ESFA will reach, if not surpass, entry figures from 22/23, which was the biggest season in schools’ football history.  

The new sponsorship from Arnold Clark will continue to help grow the recognition of the competitions across England, provide the ESFA with a new partnership to promote and branding to elevate these National Cups to a new level. The ESFA’s U16 – U18 Schools’ Cup and Super League competitions have been a platform on which a consistently high level of footballing activity, for thousands of teenagers in England each year, has been showcased and the Association is keen to now align this activity with Arnold Clark from 2023 onwards. 

Marvin Robinson, ESFA Chair said: “The English Schools’ Football Association is excited to embark on this exciting journey with Arnold Clark as our partners. This new sponsorship is a testament to our commitment to nurturing young talent and promoting ‘the beautiful game’ in schools across England. As we kick off the 2023/24 season with Arnold Clark’s support, we anticipate unparalleled growth and success for our U16 – U18 National Schools’ Cup competitions. Together, we are poised to inspire and empower the next generation of National Champions, and we couldn’t be more delighted about the potential this partnership holds for the future of schools’ football in our country.

Eddie Hawthorne, Arnold Clark Chief Executive and Group Managing Director, said: ‘We are very proud to announce this sponsorship with the English Schools’ Football Association.  At Arnold Clark, we strongly believe in thinking beyond our company and giving back to the communities we serve and support, and football is something that brings the whole community together.  We’re delighted to have this opportunity to sponsor this year’s National Cup competitions and look forward to watching the game’s future stars in action.’ 

Arnold Clark is Europe’s largest independent, family-run car company, selling almost 300,000 cars a year, with over 200 locations across the UK.  With over 60 years’ experience in the industry, the Group provides customers with unbeatable choice and value, with over 20,000 used cars, new cars, nearly new cars, new vans and used vans in stock at any one time. 

Arnold Clark also looks after all car-related needs, including servicing, MOT inspections, accident repairs, car rental and car insurance, giving customers the complete driving package. 

Furthermore, there is a fleet division and leading training facilities, while the company continues to lead the way in the automotive industry’s transition to electric with its Innovation Centres in Glasgow and Stafford. 

Draws for the 10 Arnold Clark Schools’ Cup competitions are available to view online via the ESFA’s National Competitions’ page and you will be able to follow the progress of this year’s teams via the ESFA’s social media channels. If you have any questions regarding entry in the Arnold Clark Schools’ Cup competitions this season, you can contact the National Competitions Department at  

Good luck to all the teams that take part in these National Cup competitions in 2023/24.