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New fund provides £102 million boost for grassroots football facilities

October 30, 2013

Local football facilities are set to benefit from £102 million of investment over the next three years after Sport England, together with the Government, teamed up with the Premier League and The FA to provide funding towards the development of new or refurbished grassroots football facilities.

The Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund will be delivered by the Football Foundation on behalf of the funding partners, and will enable the Football Foundation to continue to support grassroots facility projects across the country, which will improve the experience of playing the national game at the lowest levels and help to increase participation in football.
By encouraging more people to play the game on high-quality surfaces coupled with coaching at the appropriate age group, the funding will help to improve participation, and help increase the footballing talent pool across the country.
Launching the new fund at a school in central London, the newly-appointed Minister for Sport and Equalities, Helen Grant, joined Sport England Property Director, Charles Johnston, Premier League Chief Executive, Richard Scudamore, The FA’s General Secretary, Alex Horne and Football Foundation Chief Executive, Paul Thorogood for the announcement.

Helen Grant said: “This partnership between the Premier League, the FA, Sport England and Government shows what can be achieved when the public and private sectors work together to help strengthen our national game at the grassroots.
“The investment of £102 million into facilities, delivered by the Football Foundation, will encourage many people to get into sport in some of the most deprived areas of the country.  Sport has a unique power to change lives for the better and this will make a positive impact in many local communities.”

Charles Johnston added: “I am delighted that Sport England’s on-going investment into grassroots football facilities will continue through the new Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund. I am particularly pleased that the new Fund will see even greater collaboration between the funding partners with the Football Foundation delivering a highly effective and efficient programme on their behalf.
“This approach will make sure that investment into new and improved football facilities is directed to the communities which need them most. Facilities play a key role in enabling more people to play sport and this investment will help the partners get more people playing football.”

Many of the new state-of-the-art facilities will serve to strengthen the connection between professional football clubs and their local communities, particularly in the most deprived areas of the country, through the professional clubs’ community trusts’ outreach work.

Richard Scudamore said: “Premier League clubs are committed to playing an active role as hubs of their communities, particularly in the area of sports participation, from the grassroots level through to their Academies. The Premier League and the FA Facilities Fund will help them to support a new generation of facilities across the country, particularly in the most deprived areas.
“Having been a Trustee of the Football Foundation since the very start, I have seen first-hand how these new sports facilities can help to regenerate communities and increase participation amongst those who play our national game. By committing £36m over the three years to developing more and better public sports sites, we hope continue that regeneration.”

Alex Horne added: “The funding that The FA has invested through the Football Foundation has dramatically improved local football facilities up and down the country and is a key part of The FA’s four-year National Game Strategy, a £200 million investment into the grassroots game.
“These enhanced facilities increase opportunities for young people to become involved in football, whether as players or coaches, and it is this work which feeds into helping to produce the next generation of English football talent.
“Our announcement really is an excellent example of how much can be achieved when football’s governing bodies work in partnership with Government to deliver a highly efficient investment programme into facilities across the country.”

The Football Foundation was set up by the Premier League, The FA and the Government in 2000. Since then 9,600 grants worth £412m have been awarded thanks to investment from those three funding partners. The Foundation has used this to attract more than £565m of additional partnership funding into the grassroots game. Last year alone 741,801 people played sport at Foundation sites with 63,702 sporting qualifications also gained at the new facilities.
Paul Thorogood said: “I am delighted that the Premier League, The FA and the Government have agreed to continue with their generous investment into the grassroots of the game through this new fund and grateful for their continued confidence in the Foundation to deliver it.
“The announcement of £102m over the next three years into improving public football facilities is excellent news for local communities. The Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund will enable the Foundation to continue our mission to transform the inventory of grassroots football facilities across the country.
“The Football Foundation has pioneered numerous sophisticated performance management and analysis systems since our launch in 2000, so I can absolutely guarantee that this investment will be directed to where it is needed most and where it will have the greatest impact.”