FA Pledges Financial Support to Grassroots Football Facilities
February 26, 2013
The Football Association (FA) has pledged £150m ($227m) over the next three years to improve grassroots football facilities across the country.
A National Facilities Strategy, developed in consultation with the Premier League, Sport England and the Football Foundation, was launched on Tuesday as part of the FA’s ongoing 150th anniversary celebrations.
Targets include improving 3,000 grass pitches across England, building 150 artificial pitches and developing 100 all-weather surfaces, as well as refurbishing changing rooms and toilets on the most dilapidated sites.
FA research at grassroots level had found “poor facilities” the most pressing concern for 84% of those surveyed.
A statement on the FA’s official website confirmed “an illustrative figure of over £150m is expected to be invested into the nationwide strategy by the end of 2015”.
Roger Burden, Chairman of The FA National Game Board, said: “Football has enjoyed a remarkable period of investment since the formation of the Football Foundation in 2000 with over £780m invested into facilities across the country.
“Thousands of clubs and teams have benefited from this investment. However, it is clear that there is still a huge amount of work to be done.
“Many of our top professional footballers started their careers playing on park pitches for local clubs within local leagues.
“Whether used by a young person taking those first steps in football or as a veteran player or as a coach, facilities have a lasting and continuing influence on our experience of the game.
“For this very reason, investment in facilities will continue to be a key priority for The Football Association.“
Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “With 84% of people citing ‘poor facilities’ as their most pressing issue, the grassroots game has made it abundantly clear where it thinks the priority for investment should be.
“The FA deserves real credit for engaging with clubs in the detailed way that it has and for setting out a clear plan to tackle the this issue.”