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Pulse nets FA grassroots facilities contract

By Matthew Campelli    25 Nov 2015
Pulse will operate the Sheffield-based centres for at least 10 years

The Football Association (FA) has inked a 10-year deal with leisure and fitness provider Pulse to operate three new grassroots football facilities in Sheffield.

The three centres – Graves, Thorncliffe and Westfield – will be opened as part of the FA’s Parklife Project scheme, which is aiming to get more people involved in grassroots football using quality financially sustainable facilities.

Pulse will oversee the hubs, on behalf of the FA, the Sheffield Football Trust and Sheffield City Council, between 1 April 2016 until March 2025. The contract has the option to be extended for another five years.

Graves is scheduled to open on 1 April 2016, while Thorncliffe is expected to be established on 1 October 2016. Westfield will follow in 2017.

Using its dedicated football arm, Pulse Soccer, the firm will oversee day-to-day operations at the centres, including activity programming, marketing, pricing structures, IT systems and reporting, health and safety, staffing and maintenance for each site.

In 2008, Pulse was appointed by Barrow Borough Council to transform an ailing local hockey ground into a self-financing football facility, called Pulse Soccer Barrow.

If the Parklife pilot scheme is successful, the FA will attempt to establish similar operations in 30 of England’s largest cities.

The FA’s Parklife programme manager, Mark Coulson, said the governing body was “thoroughly impressed with Pulse’s proposal”.

“Financially sustainable public sector football facilities is a key driver for the FA and this partnership in Sheffield with Pulse and Sheffield City Council is a great example of what can be achieved,” he added.

Warren Ormerod, director of soccer at Pulse, added: “We feel that the expertise of our in-house teams will help us ensure we can provide more opportunities for communities in Sheffield to get involved in football at grassroots level.

“We have a proven track record in transforming all-weather pitches into profitable enterprises and we look forward to working closely with the FA and Sheffield City Council.”

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