Yeovil Town have retained their Family Excellence status for the second year running. They are listed by the Football League as one of 56 clubs, out of the 72 members, that have been given the League's kitemark for work in engaging families on matchdays. The Glovers' name had been absent from the May 2015 and May 2016 lists, but returned to the League's list of accredited clubs at the end of the 2016-17 season as one of 53 clubs. That list has now grown to a record number for this season, meaning that only 16 clubs have missed out on the award.
As a result, the League have created a new 'Gold Award' status for the 2017-18 season, giving ten clubs a higher status of recognition. These are Aston Villa, Cardiff City, Derby County, Fulham, Middlesbrough, Queens Park Rangers, Reading, Blackburn Rovers, Doncaster Rovers, Luton Town.
The League have also noted that Forest Green Rovers, Grimsby Town and Sunderland have been given the general award for the first time - no surprises really given all three have not been members of the Football League in recent seasons. There are seven clubs that have achieved the Family Excellence Award in every season that they have been eligible (allowing for clubs moving to the Premier League or National League) whilst three have received the recognition in every season since its introduction.
The concept involves the Football League sending out 'mystery shoppers' as families who will purchase tickets for two fixtures during a given season, and then prrovide feedback concerning what response they got to certain requests, such as the purchasing of food, the availability of designated family areas, or facilities. Each club is then rated by the League in terms of what they were able to offer to families. Football League Chief Executive Shaun Harvey says of the awards:
"It is hugely encouraging to see the continuous development and improvement made by EFL clubs in offering engaging matchday experiences for families. For over a decade the EFL's Family Excellence Scheme has helped to produce positive and impactful change across the leagues, helping to drive a real focus on matchday entertainment, facilities and the overall experience on offer for families, and ultimately to assist in growing attendances. Its impact continues to be notable with several clubs gaining strong industry-wide reputations for offering true family value and a consistently high level of service and innovation. The EFL will continue to work with clubs to help drive change and support the continued effort to attract and retain future generations of supporters. Congratulations to the clubs that have achieved Family Excellence status and to those that have been awarded Gold status in its inaugural year."
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