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Football Foundation funding boost for multi-sport facilities

The charity is also helping to improve the quality of grass pitches to enable more people to have more access to high-quality facilities.

24th August 2022

The Football Foundation have set a target for 40% of its investment to be in multi-sport projects by 2025.

This is worth a projected £92 million over the next three years and includes £15m of National Lottery funding from us that will be made available to support the improvement of grass pitches at cricket, rugby league and rugby union grounds nationwide.

The aim is to improve the landscape of sport across the country, ensuring people have more access to places to play the sports they love, aligning with our own Uniting the Movement strategy.

Tim Hollingsworth and Gareth Southgate with representatives from the ECB, RFU and RFL as the Football Foundation launch PitchPower

In conjunction with the announcement was the launch of PitchPower to more sports.

The foundation’s web app, designed to revolutionise the condition of grass pitches in England, has been open to football facilities since 2020, but will now be available to rugby league, rugby union, with cricket following in 2023, ahead of their new season.

The app allows community clubs and organisations to carry out and submit sport-specific grass pitch inspections, with experts from the Grounds Management Association then providing bespoke advice and recommendations to improve the pitch quality.

From next year, organisations using PitchPower will also be able to apply for funding to support making improvements identified through the app and our chief executive, Tim Hollingsworth, is excited by the project.

“The rollout of the PitchPower app for football, cricket and rugby is a major step forward for facility enhancement, bringing together a host of major sporting bodies in exactly the way our Uniting the Movement strategy seeks to do,” he said.

“I am delighted that Sport England is also providing £15m of National Lottery funding to help further improve pitches in places where they can have the biggest impact.

“I am also pleased that 40% of the Football Foundation’s funding over the next three years will also have a multi-sport benefit in addition to football – this is huge and will benefit multi-sport pitches and facilities up and down the country, ensuring more people can play more sport, more often.”

The Football Foundation's pledge to increase funding into multi-sport projects will see benefits for sports such as rugby and cricket, but also netball and basketball.

In addition to this, the multi-sport commitment will see the first Football Foundation ‘PlayZones’ open in 2023.

"This is huge and will benefit multi-sport pitches and facilities up and down the country, ensuring more people can play more sport, more often."

Tim Hollingsworth

Chief executive, Sport England

These small-sided sports facilities, that have been boosted by an additional £13.5m investment from the Premier League, will provide accessible outdoor facilities that can help bring communities together through recreational activity.

And England men’s manager Gareth Southgate is pleased to see the collaboration involved in making these projects possible.

“The Premier League, The FA and Government’s Football Foundation does so much more than helping communities improve their local football facilities and its new commitment to multi-sport facility funding marks an exciting time for grassroots sport across the country,” said Gareth, who was at the launch event with representatives from the English cricket, rugby union and rugby league teams.

“PitchPower is going to be a game changer for grass pitch sports in this country.

“Around 90% of the affiliated football game is played on grass but we know that millions of players are left disappointed every year when their matches are cancelled due to poor quality pitches, something the Football Foundation and its partners are working tirelessly to prevent.

“With the funding that cricket and rugby clubs will be able to unlock by undertaking inspections with PitchPower, a greater number of pitches across these sports will be better quality.

“This means more opportunities to play and get active which is hugely important to the nation’s physical and mental wellbeing.”

Further reaction

  • Nigel Huddleston, Sports Minister

    "We are committed to improving access to good quality sports facilities and levelling up opportunities for people to get involved in sport.

    "Coupled with the £230 million investment we are making to build or improve up to 8,000 grassroots football and multi-sport facilities across the UK by 2025, this commitment from the Football Foundation will be transformational.

    "This shows what can happen when we work together with football and our partners at the Premier League and The FA."

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  • Richard Masters, Premier League chief executive

    "Over the past 30 years, the Premier League is proud to have supported the development of grassroots sport through investment in facilities and community programmes across the country.

    "We are committed to investing more than ever to provide additional opportunities for people to participate. We have recently announced new funding for small-sided PlayZone pitches which will provide multi-sport facilities in the heart of communities that need them the most.

    "Through the new PitchPower app, the Premier League and our Football Foundation partners are working with other sports to develop and maintain high-quality facilities, helping even more people to keep active."

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  • Nick Pryde, ECB director of participation and growth

    "Every club up and down the country is indebted to the hard work of those volunteers who dedicate their time to produce pitches for recreational teams to play on.

    "It is those volunteers who are the heartbeat of our game and supporting them through innovative ideas such as PitchPower is one of the most important things we can do.

    "I am proud that multiple sports have been able to come together to provide this level of support and access to funding for grassroots clubs, which will not only help to ensure better and safer pitches in cricket, but also more opportunity to play for more people."

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  • Shaun Wane, England rugby league men's head coach

    "This is a brilliant example of sports working together, and on behalf of the many clubs and players in Rugby League who will benefit from PitchPower, it’s a massive thanks to the Premier League, The FA and Government’s Football Foundation.

    "Preparing for a World Cup this autumn gives us the chance to show our appreciation for all the volunteers at community clubs who are the bedrock of all sports.

    "It wouldn’t be possible without the pitches and facilities needed at community level and I’ll always make sure my England team are aware of the importance of that."

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  • Craig Richards, England women's rugby league head coach

    "I know our England Women have been inspired in our preparations for the World Cup by the performances of the Lionesses in the Euros this summer, and this is just as important as the growth of Women’s and Girls’ Rugby League wouldn’t be possible without the pitches and facilities needed at community level."

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  • Steve Grainger, RFU director of rugby development

    "We are delighted to be partnering with the Football Foundation on this exciting initiative and want to thank them for their multisport commitment.

    "Good quality natural turf pitches are critical in getting Rugby Union played and our partnership to develop the Pitch Advisory Scheme has got off to a flying start, with over 500 face-to-face pitch consultations having been completed in the last six months.

    "As our game diversifies with more women and girls playing, growing mini and junior sections in clubs and demand for matches to be played throughout the week, many pitches are coming under more and more pressure.

    "The PitchPower app will have a real impact in helping to manage this, enabling us to reach a much higher number of clubs and improve these much-needed community assets.

    "We’re looking forward to the app going live in tandem with our Pitch Up For Rugby activity on 17/18 September as community clubs celebrate the start of the grassroots season.”

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