Rochdale Football Club is delighted to announce that is has been awarded ‘Family Excellence’ status for the 2019/20 season by the EFL, reflecting the Club’s continued commitment to attracting and engaging families and young fans at the Crown Oil Arena.
For the second consecutive year, 63 EFL Clubs in total have received the status.
EFL Clubs received ‘mystery family’ visits during the 2019/20 campaign prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, with their feedback and reports again determining whether each respective Club would achieve the status.
During what became an unprecedented season for EFL football in 2019/20, the scheme again recognised that family engagement has continued to thrive across the League, despite supporters being unable to attend live fixtures for the final part of the campaign.
The EFL Family Excellence Scheme sees each Club assessed across a range of touchpoints, in order to reflect and report on the first-time family experience they encounter. The programme empowers Clubs to think differently about their interactions with family supporters, encourages them to innovate and consider the specific wants and needs of the family unit and the matchday experience they offer, in order to attract, welcome and retain a new generation of supporters.
In addition to 63 EFL Clubs achieving Family Excellence status, ten Clubs received ‘Gold Award’ status for the exceptional family matchday experiences they provide, thereby showcasing the ‘best in class’ across the 2019/20 Season.
Further recognised for their outstanding efforts and strategies for capturing the imagination of young fans and families, three Clubs – who have all achieved the Family Excellence ‘Gold Award’ this season - have also recently been revealed as the divisional winners of the Family Club of the Year Award.
David Bottomley, Dale Chief Executive, said: “We are thrilled to have been awarded ‘Family Excellence’ status for 2019/20.
“Family is at the heart of everything we do at Rochdale AFC, and we continue to work hard, developing our matchday experience for children and their families every season, so it’s fantastic to have received this type of recognition.
“The start of last season saw the launch of Desmond’s Den – the home of our friendly mascot - as we aimed to further enhance our matchday offering. The dedicated pre-match space proved to be a big hit with our youngest supporters, as they enjoyed a range of junior events as well as playing FIFA on our Play Station 4s!
“The matchday experience will look different when crowds return to the Crown Oil Arena due to Covid restrictions, but we’ll be doing everything we can to continue to engage with our junior fans and to make them feel part of the Dale Family.”
EFL CEO, David Baldwin, added: “It is fantastic to see the continued dedication of EFL Clubs to provide an exceptional matchday experience for families when attending fixtures across the League.
“I would like to congratulate all those that have achieved Family Excellence status for the 2019/20 season and Luton Town, Peterborough United and Plymouth Argyle for their respective [Gold] awards, setting a consistently high standard for family engagement.
“We know nothing beats the joy of watching a live fixture and the EFL and its Clubs look forward to welcoming the return of fans to stadia, when it is safe to do so. Up until the Covid pandemic outbreak it is clear from the evidence gathered throughout the Family Excellence Scheme, that young fans and families were experiencing a high standard of matchday experience across the League.
"It is testament to Clubs’ hard work that the standard of experience offered to families continues to rise, and this will undoubtedly help to ensure a welcoming environment will be provided for all families, once we are able to return to stadia.”