sport

Cash boost for grassroots

Grassroots football facilities across the country are set to benefit from a 5.8m cash injection, thanks to the Premier League and the FA Facilities Fund.

The new funding, which will aid 67 facilities, constitutes the first-ever investment from the new fund which will help develop new sports facilities, such as floodlit third generation artificial grass pitches and modern changing rooms.

By providing more high-quality facilities, coupled with coaching at the appropriate age group, the Premier League and the FA Facilities Fund aims to improve the experience for regular players, while attracting new players to the game.

Many of the new 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.

Funded by the Premier League, the FA, and the Government, via Sport England, the Premier League and the FA Facilities Fund is delivered by the Football Foundation, the country's largest sports charity.

Helen Grant MP, Minister for Sport and Equalities, said: "The Premier League and the FA Facilities Fund, backed with investment from Government, shows what can be achieved with a strong public and private partnership in sport.

"By building fantastic all-weather 3G pitches across the country we will boost grassroots football, encourage participation all-year round and also help develop the next generation of talent."

Richard Scudamore, chief executive of the Premier League, said: "The Premier League's commitment to, and investment in, grassroots facilities is unprecedented and unparalleled‎.

"These new and upgraded sites will be of huge benefit to local communities, allowing even more schools, clubs and casual players to enjoy their sport. We want to encourage as many people as possible to get involved in the game."

And Alex Horne, general secretary of the FA, said: "The Premier League and FA Facilities Fund is crucial to our aim of improving facilities up and down the country.

"From small grants of under 10,000 to some of the largest grants of up to 500,000, the fund makes a huge impact in the communities that the facilities serve. Renewing pitches and expanding our 3G pitch network is an important ambition for the FA."