A record 47 clubs from across all three divisions of The Football League have been awarded 'The Football League Family Excellence Award' for 2011 - topping the previous highest total of 41.
Recognising the outstanding experience clubs provide for young fans and families at their grounds, the Award has this year been given to six clubs for the first time: Hereford United, Macclesfield Town, Notts County, Oxford United, Rotherham United and Stevenage.
Thirteen Football League clubs have proved their consistent family friendly credentials by achieving the award every year since its inception in 2007.
The Award is based on an independent assessment, commissioned by The Football League, of the family experience at all 72 League clubs during the 2010/11 season using 'mystery shopper' families.
In announcing the successful clubs, Football League Chairman, Greg Clarke, said: "The Football League Family Excellence Award provides clubs with a benchmark in their efforts to attract families through their gates.
"It is hugely encouraging to see that the number of clubs receiving the accolade is at its highest ever level, demonstrating The Football League's commitment to securing the next generation of fans."
With greater use of family areas and family pricing initiatives combining to attract more people to their first game, the 2010/11 season has seen an increasing focus on making the experience itself more compelling.
Initiatives such as dedicated family stadium entrances, specially trained family area receptionists, technology-supported entertainment and a comprehensive effort to rid family areas of abusive language and anti-social behaviour, have all combined to increase the benchmark.
The judges were particularly impressed with the efforts clubs are making to ensure away travel is more attractive for families, with away family areas ensuring they can enjoy the match in a dedicated, safe, welcoming and entertaining environment.
The Football League also aims to give encouragement to those clubs that have not been successful this time around. Best practice guidance, feedback and training will be available to the remaining clubs to encourage their efforts towards achieving the mark next season.
The Football League will again recognise the clubs delivering the very best family experience in each division through the 'Family Club of the Year' award at this season's Football League Awards. The clubs shortlisted for this accolade are Cardiff City, Dagenham & Redbridge, Huddersfield Town, Oxford United, Reading and Shrewsbury Town. The winners will be announced at The Football League Awards which will be held on 20th March 2011 at The Brewery in Central London. For more information, visit www.FLAwards.com.