More than 40,000 teams across England and Wales have received funding from the Premier League, The FA and Government's Football Foundation to help them prepare for the return of football.
The Foundation is awarding 3,383 grants worth £1,691,500 to organisations across the country through the Club Preparation Fund.
This follows £7million of investment through the Pitch Preparation Fund, which is helping grassroots clubs get their playing surfaces match-fit.
The Club Preparation Fund will help clubs prepare their buildings to reopen safely in line with Government guidance around hygiene and social distancing, and The FA's plans for a "phased return" that were announced on 18 July.
Club Preparation Fund's impact in numbers:
- A total of 3,383 grants awarded
- £1,691,500 of investment
- 40,131 football teams benefiting
- 32,921 grassroots teams benefiting
- 6,742 teams in The FA National League System will benefit
- 197 women and girls' teams will benefit directly from grants, with the vast majority benefiting through sharing grounds that are receiving grants
- 10 grants awarded to clubs in the Welsh Cymru Premier League
These grants will help football sites to satisfy the extra hygiene measures that Government guidance requires, including:
- Installing hygiene facilities, such as hand sanitiser dispensers, soap dispensers, paper-towel dispensers and waste bins
- Modifications, such as safety screening, contactless payment systems and signage
- Facility maintenance work, such as repairing hand basins and hot water provision
- Professional inspections that may be necessary due to the prolonged period of closure resulting from the pandemic, including checks of water quality, gas and ventilation
"It is important that clubs are provided with the support they need to prepare for football’s return," Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters said. "Along with the other funding partners, we were pleased to see thousands of clubs at different levels quickly benefit from the Pitch Preparation Fund.
"This further contribution is supporting more vital work to ensure premises are safe, in line with the latest Government guidelines.”
The Pitch Preparation Fund awarded £7m to 2,902 organisations. This is enabling over 9,000 football pitches to be made match-fit and is benefiting more than 33,000 football teams.
"Football is at the heart of communities across the country and we're determined to help local clubs bounce back stronger than ever," said Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston.
The FA also released bespoke guidance for outdoor facility providers to help achieve the Government's guidelines.
Providers will need to carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment, then adapt their facilities via three key "controls": promoting good hygiene; keeping facilities and equipment clean; maintaining social-distancing and avoiding congestion.
Clubs and other organisations can access the Football Foundation Groundskeeping Community for free. This is an online resource of advice and guidance for looking after natural-grass pitches.