Public money will back the Football Association’s plan to improve grassroots facilities across the country and will help create 150 multi-sport hubs across 30 English cities.
Chancellor of the exchequer George Osborne announced the grant yesterday as he opened Manchester City’s new football academy.
Over the next five years, £8m a year will go towards building more than 400 new synthetic 3G pitches, with the remaining £2m a year going into coaching football.
The Football Association says that it will match the government’s funding and there is an aspiration that some of the wealthier clubs might also put their hands in their pockets.
FA chairman Greg 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. This improvement is vital to the nation’s shared ambition of future England team success.”
Secretary of state for culture, media & sport 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.”
Between 1979 and 1997, under the Conservative governments, approximately 10,000 playing fields were sold off. Under the current government, school playing fields are still being sold at a rate of one every three weeks.
£40m is approximately what Manchester United pays out in annual wages to just three of its players. According to reports, Robin van Persie, Radamel Falcao and Wayne Rooney are collectively on £3.26m a month.