George Osborne announces £50 million funding boost for grassroots football
Mon 8th Dec 2014 | Money & Finance
FA chairman Greg Dyke has praised the Government for its “shared ambition” with the Football Association after chancellor George Osborne announced a £50 million funding boost to support grassroots football in England.
Speaking in Manchester on Monday, Mr Osborne revealed that over the next five years the treasury will make a further £8m annual contribution to The FA’s action plan to improve facilities for the 7.76 million people who regularly play football in England, with a further £2m per annum being invested in improved coaching.
The investment is a major endorsement for The FA’s ground-breaking plans to transform grassroots facilities across England through the creation of over 150 multi-sport hubs across 30 cities – one of the key recommendations of the FA Chairman’s year-long England Commission study into achieving future England national team success, published in October.
The Government’s additional commitment to coaching aids The FA’s long term ambition to increase the volume of English footballers at the very top of the sport.
It will also support initiatives to boost development of more female coaches and also those from BAME backgrounds.
Dyke said: “I am delighted that the Government has shown its support for the England Commission’s drive to significantly improve grassroots football facilities and coaching.
"The best quality coaches working on the best quality facilities will really help us to deliver a transformation in player and coach development across English football.”
The Government investment will be matched by The FA alongside further contributions from other partners including Local Authorities such as Sheffield where a pilot of the project is already underway.
Dyke added: “This improvement is vital to the nation’s shared ambition of future England team success.
"I would like to thank the Chancellor and the Secretary of State for their personal backing, the DCMS and Sport England for their continued support, and all our other key partners including Local Authorities, the Premier League and Football League."
Research by The FA reveals that the number of people who regularly play football in England remains high with one in five adults participating and in some areas of the country participation being on the rise.
But the added investment will offer greater flexibility for The FA to respond to the changing needs of the modern grassroots footballer.
In recent years there has been an increase in the number of players who have opted to play in less structured formats of the game such as those provided by small-sided providers rather than in traditional league formats at weekends.
However the additional funding will double the number of full-size 3G, artificial grass pitches which will be playable in all weathers, enabling over 3,500 community sports matches to be consistently played every week and presenting far greater opportunities for traditional XI v XI football to be made available at more varied times to meet player’s changing lifestyles.
Culture secretary Sajid Javid said: “Investing in building state-of-the-art 3G pitches up and down the country is a real boost to grassroots sport.
"These all-weather facilities will not only mean that people can play football all-year round but are great for talent development due to the true, flat playing surface.
"If we strengthen the game at the grassroots and increase the number of coaches, it will only help the England team in future World Cups and European Championships.”
Posted by: Kev Howland
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