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FA to invest record £260m in grassroots football

By Tom Walker    12 Aug 2015
The grassroots funding will focus on participation, facilities and coaching

The Football Association (FA) will invest a record £260m into grassroots football over the next four years – a £60m increase on the funding allotted for the previous four-year period.

Announcing the funding today at the launch of the National Game Strategy for Participation and Development, FA chief executive Martin Glenn said the association plans to target four key areas of the amateur game - facilities, coaching, participation and developing the football workforce.

"Our goals are ambitious, but achievable," Glenn said. "There are challenges facing grassroots football both in terms of facilities and coaching. Today we have set out how we will tackle the challenges head-on."

“We’ve identified the four key areas in which we’ll invest £260m until 2019.”

Kelly Simmons, FA director for participation and development, added: “It is no secret that facilities need to get better – today we set out clearly and unequivocally how we can make that happen – not only through the creation of city hubs, but also investing in improving what already exists.

"Our relationship with the Premier League and DCMS through our commitment to the Football Foundation is key to achieving this.

“Having recognised the benefits of achieving Charter Standard status, 85 per cent of youth teams in England now have a qualified coach, which accounts for nearly one million Under-16s benefiting from such access. Alongside that we have seen the growth of youth football by 5,000 new teams since 2011.

“We have come a long way in youth football and it is a similar story in women’s and disability football. We know that 40,000 more girls and women are playing football regularly in the past two years and this is without the increased profile thee England women’s team have brought to the sport.”

The four areas where the new strategy will impact are:

• Boosting Participation: Building on the increases in boys and girls participation and growth in disability football, while delivering more varied formats of the game to address the drop in traditional 11v11 weekend football among adult males.

• Developing better players: £4million per year – including an annual £2million investment from the government – will be invested in grassroots coaching. There will be a network of County Coaches – tasked with improving and supporting coaching across grassroots football with club mentoring programmes. The extension of coach bursaries will get more women and people from diverse backgrounds into the profession and there will be a drive to get more top level grassroots coaches into the game.

• Better training and facilities: The FA is committing £48million – directly through its funding of the Football Foundation as well as investment in 100 new turf pitches and improvements to a further 2,000 as part of The FA’s Pitch Improvement Plan. Further funds have also been dedicated to building 30 new football hubs across key cities – with a pilot scheme already under way in Sheffield – with the Government committed providing £8m per year over five years to support The FA’s contribution.

• Football workforce: Football will become more representative of the communities it serves through inclusion initiatives. The FA is also rolling out technology to run the game more efficiently and create direct lines of communication with players across all grassroots leagues making football truly integrated.

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