The FA to invest more than half a billion pounds in grassroots football over the next four years

The announcement was made today

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The Independent Football

The Football Association today announced it will invest more than a quarter of a billion pounds in grassroots football over the next four years, in an attempt to reverse a shocking decline in the standards of grassroots facilities.

The new Football Association chief executive Martin Glenn said that the deterioration in grassroots and facilities and coaching was the biggest challenge the game faced. The FA said its investment would be  supplemented by a further multi-million pound investment supported by Government, to create 30 new “city hubs” across England.

Glenn made the announcement at the launch in Lancashire today of the new National Game Strategy for Participation and Development. He said: “There are challenges facing grassroots football both in terms of facilities and coaching. Today we have set out how we will tackle the challenges head on.

“We have identified four key areas in which we have committed to investing £260 million over the next four years – facilities, coaching, participation and developing the football workforce. Our goals are ambitious, but achievable.”

The FA is attempting to build the number of boys and girls playing the game, as well as the number of disabled players. There will also be an attempt to stem the fall-off in the number of traditional 11 v 11 games among adult men. A sum of £4 million per year will be invested in grassroots coaching to improve the number of elite players. There will be a network of county coaches

Kelly Simmons MBE, FA Director for Participation and Development, said: “It is no secret that facilities need to get better – today we set out clearly and unequivocally how we can make that happen – not only through the creation of  city hubs, but also investing in improving what already exists. Our relationship with the Premier League and DCMS through our commitment to the Football Foundation is key to achieving this.

“Having recognised the benefits of achieving Charter Standard status, 85 per cent of youth teams in England now have a qualified coach, which accounts for nearly one million Under 16s benefiting from such access. Alongside that we have seen the growth of youth football by 5,000 new teams since 2011.

“We have come a long way in youth football and it is a similar story in women’s and disability football. We know that 40,000 more girls and women are playing football regularly in the past two years and this is without the increased profile thee England women’s team have brought to the sport.”