Almost 10,000 football pitches across the country are set to be enhanced in aid of almost 3,000 football clubs thanks to a £7million scheme from the Premier League, The FA and Government's Football Foundation.
The Pitch Preparation Fund was set up in support of the game, which is currently facing unprecedented challenges because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is providing grants to clubs that have lost out on normal revenue streams during this difficult period and helping them to get their pitches ready for when it is safe to play football again, following Government advice.
What better way to start the week then with the news that nearly 3000 clubs across the country have been awarded Pitch Preparation Funding!— Football Foundation (@FootballFoundtn) June 8, 2020
Thanks to investment from the @premierleague, The @FA and @DCMS, over 9,000 pitches will now be able to get match-fit 🙌
The response to the Fund has been positive, with around 3,000 applications received in the two-and-a-half weeks when the application window was open during May.
As a result, £7m of investment has been awarded to 2,902 clubs and organisations.
This will allow 9,588 football pitches to be made match fit, benefiting 33,153 football teams in the grassroots, non-league and women’s game, as well as every club in the Welsh Cymru Premier League.
- A total of 2,902 grants awarded
- £7m of investment
- 9,588 football pitches improved
- 33,153 football teams benefiting
- 2,196 grassroots clubs awarded grants
- 706 clubs in the National League System awarded grants
- 1,138 grants will support women and girls' football
- All 12 Welsh Cymru Premier League clubs awarded grants
As a result of the exposure of the Pitch Preparation Fund, the Football Foundation also received an increase of 176 per cent in its regular facility grant applications during May 2020, compared with May 2019.
This means even more football sites will be improved, over and above those receiving Pitch Preparation Fund grants.
Robert Sullivan, Interim Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: "Our national game can't take place without playing surfaces being in good condition so this £7m of investment provided by the Premier League, The FA and the Government is an important helping hand for clubs across the country to get their pitches match fit for when matches are allowed to start up again."
The grants awarded will help with essential maintenance works toward grass pitches, including vertical decompaction, slitting, over seeding, fertilising and weedkilling, as well as routine preparatory works such as grass cutting and the setting out and line marking of pitches.
For artificial surfaces, eligible works include deep cleaning, overmarking and FA pitch testing.
"This was one of the clearest and simplest grant applications I’ve ever made," said Jay Cotton from Connah's Quay Nomads Football Club, who were awarded a Pitch Preparation Fund grant.
"It was really transparent and took little time to complete. In these challenging times grant aids and support is going to be key for all clubs."
In addition to grassroots clubs benefiting from the scheme, 673 non-league, Women's Super League and Welsh Cymru Premier League clubs have been supported via the Premier League's Football Stadia Improvement Fund.
Clubs and other organisations are also being given access to the Football Foundation Groundskeeping Community. This is a free online resource the Foundation developed with The FA and the Grounds Management Association, containing advice and guidance. Anyone can sign up at https://thefa.hivelearning.com/groundskeeping.
The Football Foundation is a charity funded by the Premier League, The FA and the Government, through Sport England.