Grassroots football facilities get £30m boost during the first half of 2016

Almost £30m has been ploughed into grassroots football facilities over the last six months, courtesy of the Football Association (FA) and the Premier League.

According to the Football Foundation – which distributes the money on behalf of the organisations and Sport England – 128 facilities benefited from a £28.3m (US$37.7m, €33.8m) investment between January and June 2016.

The grants helped raise a further £25.1m (US$33.5m, €30m) from other sources as new 3G pitches were laid and changing room pavilions were refurbished.

Projects in Dudley, Plymouth and Havant received grants worth close to £1m.

Dudley’s Metropolitan Borough Council was awarded £833,030 (US$1.1m, €994,089) to convert an existing artificial grass pitch to a new floodlit surface, while Havant Borough Council gained £831,807 (US$1.1m, €992,629) to lay a new pitch, extend its changing pavilion and enlarge road access and its car park.

The largest single grant was the £900,000 (US$1.2m, €1.1m) awarded to YMCA Plymouth and Plymouth Council, who used the money to refurbish its existing pitch and build a new changing pavilion.

Martin Glenn, chief executive of the FA, said that the governing body’s “commitment to improve grassroots football continues at pace”, and highlighted the new multi-pitch football hubs in Sheffield which have just been established.

“Thanks to this investment, more people across the country will have access to better facilities,” said Charles Johnston, Sport England director of property. “The 128 projects have a fantastic opportunity to reach out to people who might not think that sport is for them and I would urge clubs to do all they can to help get more people active.”

First published on www.sportsmanagement.co.uk, written by Matthew Campelli, 2 Sep 2016