New figures show that English footballing participation is set to receive a significant boost over the next 12 months.
New investment provided by The FA, and delivered by the Football Foundation, has been announced that will support the growth and maintenance of 3,502 teams in the country, which is expected to cater for over 64,000 footballers in local leagues.
Grow the Game, which was first launched back in 2010, offers grants of £1,500 towards community football clubs wishing to establish new teams and this year focused on catering for female and disabled players.
Retain the Game is a brand new scheme, which was launched in April of this year, and is targeted at supporting existing adult male clubs to continue offering local opportunities to play. Grants of £750 are made to support the essential costs of playing and training.
A large number of clubs have been successful in securing investment from The FA through the Football Foundation. Over the course of the next year, Grow the Game will support the growth of 872 female and 294 disabled teams respectively, while Retain the Game will help to maintain 2,336 adult male sides across the country.
Funding from both grants can be used to help a club pay for FA coaching courses; FA league affiliation costs; referees’ fees; first aid kits; and even football kit and equipment through a bespoke voucher.
Danielle Carter, Member of The FA’s Inclusion Advisory Board and Arsenal Women’s Striker, said: “It’s extremely exciting that so many community clubs in England have successfully applied for Grow the Game funding.
“We should start to see increased numbers of women’s, girls and disability teams in parks and facilities across the country, which will hopefully inspire even more new players to take up, enjoy and continue to build the sport amongst these groups.”
Aidy Boothroyd, England Under-21s Head Coach, said: “It’s encouraging to see so many grassroots clubs up and down the country taking advantage of funding available through Retain the Game.
“Whilst the total number of adult male footballers in England has increased over the past few years, it is vital that regular playing opportunities continue to exist with teams in their local areas.
“I hope this new scheme will make a real difference across the country and help to maintain high levels of participation throughout the men’s game.”
Across the two campaigns, The FA has made £2.5 million available to grassroots clubs looking to either create or retain association football clubs for grassroots players across the country.
As well as Grow the Game and Retain the Game, the Football Foundation delivers the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund on behalf of the Premier League, The FA and the Government, through Sport England. Since 2000, the Foundation has supported over 16,000 community projects worth more than £1.5bn.
Across England, the Football Foundation’s Funding Partner investment has helped to support the development of:
- 774 third generation artificial grass pitches
- 3,091 real grass pitches
- 1,039 changing pavilions