The FA alongside Sport England, the Premier League and the Football Foundation has this week launched a new strategy which will improve and develop grassroots football facilities nationwide.
A three year plan developed by the partners will ensure the game works together to improve football facilities across the country, through a more co-ordinated approach to investment.
Targets within the Facilities Strategy include improving 3,000 natural pitches across England, building 150 artificial pitches and developing 100 all-weather surfaces while refurbishing changing rooms and toilets on a range of selected sites.
FA research with grassroots players, volunteers, referees and administrators shows that regular participants want improved pitches (both grass and artificial), floodlighting, changing facilities and toilets when it comes to playing and training at their clubs.
Sport England Property Director, Charles Johnston, said: “Good sports facilities play an important role in local communities; they not only improve people’s sporting experience but also help attract new participants. Sport England is committed to working collaboratively with the FA and its partners in a coordinated approach to investment which will ensure new and improved football facilities are developed in the communities that need it most.”
Roger Burden, Chairman of The FA National Game Board, commented: “Football has enjoyed a remarkable period of investment since the formation of the Football Foundation in 2000 with over £780m invested into facilities across the country with thousands of clubs and teams having benefited from this investment.
“However, it is clear that there is still a huge amount of work to be done.”
Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, also added: “Whether you are looking to develop the next generation of footballing talent, or are one of the millions who play purely for the love of the game at the grassroots each week, facilities are the platform on which all of that takes place.
“With 84 per cent of people citing ‘poor facilities’ as their most pressing issue, the grassroots game has made it abundantly clear where it thinks the priority for investment should be.
“Developing better, well-maintained facilities is the only way to ensure that we avoid the routine cancellation of fixtures due to flooding and poor weather and to ensure that football does not stop simply because it has got dark.”