Funds in excess of £16m are being made available for the return of grassroots football at the end of this month through a joint initiative set up by the Premier League, the Football Association and the government’s Football Foundation.
Slightly more than £2m of the cash is being targeted at supporting clubs in the highest areas of deprivation in England, at disability football and at underrepresented groups, including women and girls. On top of that, a £14m bursary will provide six-year tapered grants to improve the quality of grass pitches while small grants will be issued to help clubs pay for essential equipment and machinery they need to start playing again.
The Premier League’s chief executive, Richard Masters, said: “There is huge excitement across the country ahead of the return of grassroots football at the end of the month. The game provides so many benefits for people of all ages, and brings communities together, which is now more vital than ever. The launch of these three funds will provide targeted support for clubs across the country with a range of grants designed to ensure a safe return of the grassroots game.”
As part of the small grants, clubs can apply for up to £25,000 to refurbish their changing rooms and pay for grass pitch drainage, new goalposts, pitch maintenance equipment and portable floodlights.
The FA’s chief executive, Mark Bullingham, said: “We are so looking forward to the safe return of grassroots football from 29 March and will do all we can to support clubs up and down the country to get back to normal after what has been an unprecedented year of challenges.
“Grassroots football has a hugely positive impact by bringing communities together and improving the health of the nation. These new funds will provide crucial financial support to clubs and leagues, helping them to get the game we love up and running again.”