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Game On scheme supports return of grassroots football

9 Mar 2021
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Premier League, The FA and the Football Foundation provide funds to help clubs get ready to kick off again

The Premier League, The Football Association and the Government's Football Foundation have launched the Game On programme to get the country ready for the return of grassroots football at the end of this month.

Three funds, totalling more than £16million, will be available so clubs can pay for everything from creating a safer environment and getting grass pitches match-ready to goal posts or portable floodlights.

One of the three funds is being specifically targeted at those whose participation was most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prior to the second national lockdown, disability team affiliations were down by 29 per cent when compared against the same time last season. There were also steep declines in participation among walking footballers and players in the country's most in-need areas.

Bringing communities together

"There is huge excitement across the country ahead of the return of grassroots football at the end of the month," said Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters.

"The game provides so many benefits for people of all ages and brings communities together, which is now more vital than ever.

"The launch of these three funds will provide targeted support for clubs across the country, with a range of grants designed to ensure a safe return of the grassroots game."

Community football clubs are being encouraged to come forward and apply for the three funds to make sure that football hits the ground running.

The three Game On funds
Return to Football Fund

A £2.1m fund targeted to support clubs in the highest areas of deprivation in England, as well as disability football and groups underrepresented in football, including women and girls, to support the return to football or activities aimed at bringing new players to the game.

The Football Foundation has identified the groups most affected by the lockdown, where participation in football has decreased the most, and will seek to target funding towards them.

Grass Pitch Maintenance Fund

A £14m fund opening on 15 March will provide six-year tapered grants to improve the quality of grass pitches.

Thousands of football matches are cancelled every year because of problems with grass pitches, and these grants form a key part of the Foundation's overall Grass Pitch Programme, which aims to improve at least 5,000 pitches by June 2024.

Small Grants

A fund to help clubs pay for essential equipment and machinery they need to start playing again. Clubs can apply for up to £25,000 to refurbish their changing rooms, pay for grass pitch drainage, new goalposts, pitch maintenance equipment and portable floodlights.

"We are so looking forward to the safe return of grassroots football from 29 March and will do all we can to support clubs up and down the country get back to normal after what has been an unprecedented year of challenges," said FA Chief Executive Mark Bullingham.

"Grassroots football has a hugely positive impact by bringing communities together and improving the health of the nation.

"These new funds will provide crucial financial support to clubs and leagues, helping them to get the game we love up and running again."

Find out more about Game On on the Football Foundation website.

Last year, more than 1,000 clubs across 65 leagues in England and Wales received funding from the Premier League's Matchday Support Fund.

And more than 40,000 teams across England and Wales had funding from the Premier League, The FA and the Football Foundation's Club Preparation Fund.

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