Media alert

The English Schools’ Football Association (ESFA) and The Pokémon Company International announce the launch of the Pokémon Primary Schools’ Cup

London, United Kingdom – 1st November 2022 - The 22/23 Schools’ Football season has kicked off with a brand-new partnership between the ESFA and Pokémon, forming the inaugural season of the Pokémon Primary Schools’ Cup. The multi-year partnership will see Pokémon providing opportunities for over 5,000 school teams and over 50,000 players across three competitions for mixed teams, girls’ teams and small schools’ teams.

The U11 Schools’ Cup, U11 Girls’ Cup and U11 Small Schools’ Cup competitions provide a pathway for teams to progress through three rounds of competition. Beginning in 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 from each Regional Final will have the opportunity to travel to the National Finals in May, where the National Champions of each competition will be crowned.

The Pokemon Schools’ Cup competitions embrace and promote the ESFA’s “15 Benefits” of schools’ football including, but not limited to,

  • Providing opportunities to develop positive relationships
  • Helping children to feel they are part of a team
  • Encouraging teamwork
  • Teaching respect

The Pokemon 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.

Peter Murphy, Senior Director of Marketing at the Pokémon Company International said, “We’re incredibly excited to now be part of this long-standing competition and hope young trainers from schools all over the country will take part, to enjoy their own shared journey, making new friends and memories along the way”.

Stuart Botham, ESFA Chair (22/23) said, “On behalf of the English Schools’ FA, I am delighted to see the Association and Pokémon embarking on this new journey together, to provide such fantastic opportunities for primary school pupils across England. To be able to align our activity with a brand that resonates so positively with children is wonderful and I am looking forward to seeing how this partnership develops over the coming seasons”.

Competition and event updates will be shared via the ESFA’s website and across social channels throughout the coming months.
About Pokémon
The Pokémon Company International, a subsidiary of The Pokémon Company in Japan, manages the property outside of Asia and is responsible for brand management, licensing, marketing, the Pokémon Trading Card Game, the animated TV series, home entertainment and the official Pokémon website. Pokémon was launched in Japan in 1996 and today is one of the most popular children’s entertainment properties in the world. For more information, please visit

About the English Schools’ FA
Since 1904 English Schools’ Football Association has been the governing body for Schools’ Football across England and has run International squads since 1907. The ESFA is proud of its remit as an educational organisation, to be able to reward individuals, particularly at U18 level, who choose to remain in mainstream education as opposed to opting to join the academy system. There are deeply rooted values in education for ESFA and this is a way to celebrate players who have chosen to build a secure foundation for themselves with qualifications, wherever their football careers may take them.  
Working with sponsors such as Pokémon, PlayStation and Utilita, the ESFA is able to provide many different opportunities for children at all ages to participate in football in England, running all national football competitions for schools and districts across the country. National Cup competitions culminate in the staging of National Finals held at various prestigious football stadiums and training grounds from March to June. Previous venues have included The Etihad complex, Goodison Park, West Bromwich Albion and Stoke City FC. For more information about the ESFA you can visit our website or follow @schoolsfoootball on Twitter and Instagram