The Premier League, The FA, the government and Sport England have come together through their Football Foundation to launch a new ‘Pitch Preparation Fund’ in support of the game, which is currently facing unprecedented challenges as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
The fund provides almost £10 million of financial support to those struggling to maintain their football pitches across the country. This is a direct response to a need across the game, providing grants to clubs that have lost out on normal revenue streams during this difficult period and helping them to prepare their pitches after challenging winter weather conditions.
The move will help to get clubs in a position to start playing football again when it is safe to do so, following government advice, and is estimated that to benefit up to 4,000 grassroots clubs and organisations.
A total of £9.56 million has been allocated to the fund, which is open to football clubs and voluntary organisations that maintain their own natural grass pitches and have at least 12 months’ security of tenure. Clubs with suitable tenure for a 3G artificial grass pitch are also eligible to apply.
Grassroots football clubs and organisations, FA National League System Clubs from Step 1-6, Welsh Cymru Premier League clubs and clubs in The FA Women’s Pyramid (Tier 1-5) that maintain their own natural grass and third generation (3G) artificial grass pitches, are among those eligible to apply for funding.
Robert Sullivan, Football Foundation Interim Chief Executive, said: “This fund reflects the determination of the Premier League, The FA and government to work together to make funding available to help get pitches match-ready for when restrictions are lifted.
“The Football Foundation will work with eligible clubs and community organisations across the country to ensure they get what they need. We are here to help, so please apply via http://footballfoundation.org.uk/ before the deadline of 25 May.”
Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters said: “These are unprecedented times, not only within football but for society as a whole, and our thoughts are with all those who have been directly affected by COVID-19.
“On top of our existing financial commitment to football facilities, this funding will ensure vital work can be conducted on pitches across the country to help clubs prepare for when it is safe for the game to resume.”
Mark Bullingham, The FA’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “These are extraordinary and challenging times not just for football, but across society and as always, our first thoughts are with those families affected.
“We remain committed to supporting clubs during this uncertain period and that’s why The FA has joined forces with the Premier League and government to create this new initiative.”
Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston said: “We’re doing all we can to help the sport sector through this difficult time and that includes grassroots football that has such a positive impact on millions of people's lives.
“This funding from the government, the Premier League and The FA will help clubs upgrade their facilities so they are ready to go as soon as it’s safe to start playing again.”
The funding will help eligible clubs with essential maintenance works which could include 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 could include deep cleaning, overmarking and FA pitch testing.
The application window will be open between Thursday 7 May and 9pm on Monday 25 May 2020.
Please visit the Football Foundation website for further details on the fund and how to apply.
For further information, please contact:
- Leanne Woodhead-Groves, Nottinghamshire Football Association, on 07866914470 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Rory Carroll, Head of Communications, Football Foundation, on 07545 932432 or email@example.com.
- David Antill, Communications Manager, Premier League, on 07934 298 259 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Chris Swoffer, Corporate Communications Manager, The FA, on 07866 004845 or Chris.email@example.com.
- Lizzie Palmer, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, on 07519 294 329 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Jo Sayer, Head of Press, Sport England, on 020 7273 1800 or email@example.com.
Notes to Editors:
- Clubs must have a minimum of 12 months’ security of tenure over the pitches they wish to improve by freehold, leasehold or licence, and have the responsibility for maintaining them.
- Grassroots Clubs will be able to apply for a maximum of £5,000 to go towards pitch preparation works, with up to £1,500 available to support sites with one pitch, up to £2,500 for 2-3 pitches and the maximum amount of £5,000 available to clubs who have for 4+pitches. This covers both grass and 3G pitches on site.
- FA National League System, Welsh Cymru Premier and FA Women’s Pyramid Clubs will be able to apply for a maximum of £1,500 to support maintenance and preparation works towards their stadia pitch
- FA National League System clubs that also manage the maintenance of additional grass pitches at their site for grassroots teams, over above their stadium pitch, will also be able to apply for additional funding – up to a total maximum grant of £5,000.
- Clubs and organisations that play on a 3G Stadium pitch for fixtures are eligible to apply for a maximum of £1,500 to support maintenance costs and pitch testing
- Clubs will be able to apply from Thursday 7 May to 9pm on Monday 25 May 2020.
- Clubs that have already applied to the Sport England Community Emergency Fund for funding for pitch maintenance works or have recently received an ‘Enhanced Grass Pitch Maintenance Grant’ from the Football Foundation will be ineligible to apply
- Educational Establishments, Local Authorities, Parish Councils and Leisure Trusts with turnover of over 500k are also ineligible for the scheme.
About the Football Foundation
The Premier League, The FA and government’s Football Foundation is the largest sports charity in the UK. It champions and supports fair access to quality football facilities for everyone, regardless of postcode, gender, race, disability or place.
The Foundation receives money from the Premier League, The FA and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, through Sport England. This is matched with partnership funding and awarded as grants to create outstanding grassroots facilities that enable better games and attract more players, helping to transform communities.
The Football Foundation celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. Since 2000, it has awarded more than 17,600 grants to improve facilities worth more than £708m – including 885 artificial grass pitches, 3,587 natural grass pitches and 1,210 changing facilities. This has attracted an additional £885m of partnership funding – totaling over £1.5bn investment in grassroots football so far.
Through the Foundation, the Premier League, The FA, DCMS and Sport England have come together to create the National Football Facilities Strategy (NFFS) that will guide work over the next 10 years to transform many more local facilities. Local Football Facility Plans (LFFP) are being created to identify priority projects where demand is greatest, and the impact will be strongest and help stimulate the action required to deliver them.
Visit footballfoundation.org.uk for more information on the Foundation.