DIRECT: FA creates DM database of two million footie fans

Carlsberg, Nationwide, Umbro and McDonald's will soon have access to a major direct marketing tool with the Football Association's launch of a two million-strong consumer database.

The FA is developing a project known internally as WONFAS (Web-Oriented National Football Association Systems), which will collate all county FA databases from around the country.

It will be supplemented by the Englandfans database and that of the FA Football Workforce.

The FA will use the resource as a vehicle for promoting initiatives such as coaching schemes, and will also make it available to members of its FA Partners commercial programme for selected DM activities.

The database will be of particular interest to Carlsberg, which last week signed up as the FA's £30m men's football partner until 2006. The beer company is poised to make a significant investment in relationship marketing following successful SMS campaigns targeted at its core adult male audience.

WONFAS is also likely to be a valuable tool for the other FA Partners.

Nationwide is to be the official backer of women's football, McDonald's is getting involved at the community level, and Umbro is the FA's new elite partner.

One further slot, relating to youth football, is expected to be filled in the next few weeks, with T-Mobile and Coca-Cola contenders for the £30m deal.

The WONFAS initiative will also aim to get young footballers to register with their clubs online to enable the FA to keep a more efficient record of amateur players.

An FA spokesman said the database project would be introduced in stages, and would form an important element of the body's attempts to become more customer-focused.

It is not known if the FA will use a DM agency to exploit WONFAS. The FA has used EHS Brann for a number of DM initiatives, including the relaunch and rebranding of Englandfans.

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