I’m not a fan of football. But anytime I watch, I do observe that footballers step unto the pitch holding the hands of kids.
I keep wondering that why is it so? Why don’t they use grown-up people but children?
Below is what I found out:
First of all, the kids that hold the hands of footballers are called Player escorts (also called match mascot or child mascot (plural is mascot children).
A player escort is a child who accompanies a football player entering the pitch. Player escorts hold hands with the footballer while they walk in and stay with the player during the playing of the national anthem.
The children are usually between 6 and 18 years old.
In addition to assisting players, they often have duties such as carrying flags, helping the sideline ball crew, and playing matches with each other.
There are various reasons why players walk in with children:
1. Promoting children’s rights campaigns.
It all started as a regular event with FIFA and UNICEF coming together to promote a campaign that is designed around improving the livelihood of children.
2. Bringing the element of innocence to the game.
This is done to remind players that children are looking up to them so they should play with all fairness.
3. Fulfilling children’s dreams.
You know some children wish to walk close to their favorite football stars. So making them walk out with them is like fulfilling their heart desires. This makes them to also develop a passion for the game of soccer.
Being a child mascot may or may not be free. Among FA Premier League clubs, some may charge £350-£600 depending on the fixture while others offer some free places through competitions and charities, and other clubs do not have a charge at all.