Grassroots supporters criticise the promise of £1bn boost

The 'nitty-gritty' on what the money will be spent on yet to be decided

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The Independent Football

Grassroots football campaigners have criticised the Premier League’s headline-grabbing pledge of £1bn to the lower reaches of the football pyramid and to grassroots football.

The FA chairman Greg Dyke, Sports Minister Helen Grant and Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore all met at a new 3G pitch at a school in south London to announce the promise, but admitted the “nitty-gritty” as to what the money will be spent on, and who will administer it, has not been worked out.

“What today is about is us working together,” Grant said. “The nitty-gritty will be worked out in due course.”

The £1bn figure has made headlines, but it is only 40 per cent higher than the £700m pledged three years ago, despite domestic television income rising by 70 per cent, from £3bn to £5.1bn.

At least half the sum will go in the form of parachute payments to clubs relegated from the Premier League, and the precise amount left for the construction and maintenance of new 3G pitches for grassroots will not be known until much later in the year.

Dyke could only say that there would be “significantly more money for grassroots facilities”.

Kenny Saunders, the founder of the Save Grass Roots Football campaign said: “It is a publicity stunt. He [Scudamore] is trying to put the clubs on a pedestal.

“They already put in £700m so it is only an extra £300m. The stats speak for themselves. They are sitting well off.

“If the Premier League had done what they said they were going to do in 1999 in the task force agreement, by investing 5 per cent in grassroots, we wouldn’t be in this state.”