Earlier this year, the FA announced a terrific new strategy – the Gameplan for Growth – that aims to double the amount of women and girls taking part in football by 2020. That drive to grow the game at grassroots level hasn’t stopped there, and the FA has now announced further investment in its Grow the Game scheme that will see more than 1500 new football teams and 3400 new coaches created.
Funding has been increased by a further £860,000 to a total of just under £2.5m, after the initial funding window saw “unprecedented demand from clubs”.
Creating record numbers of teams at grassroots level
Delivered by the Football Foundation on behalf of the FA, the scheme seeks specifically to increase participation in football in underrepresented groups. Funding will be prioritised for women and girls, disabled teams and male teams from aged 13 and above.
The additional funding will create 1,570 new football teams at grassroots level – 703 female teams, 642 male teams, 182 disability teams and 43 mixed teams – taking the total number of clubs awarded funding to 728. The funding injection will also create 3,405 newly trained coaches.
Bringing opportunities to those who may not have had it
Each team a club creates can receive a grant of £1,500, helping to pay for FA coaching courses, FA league affiliation costs, referees’ fees, first aid kits, football kit and any other equipment they might need.
The Grow the Game scheme gets people from traditionally underrepresented groups playing the sport, something they would not have had the opportunity to do otherwise. The FA should be praised for their significant investment. As a result, we have helped to deliver a record number of new teams – the participation levels of which will be sustained over the long-term.Paul Thorogood, Football Foundation CEO
From 2010 to last season, 3,728 women’s and girls’ teams were created thanks to Grow the Game grants, bringing 56,839 new players into regular football participation in the process and 2,343 disabled female footballers.
Over the last decade or so, the gap between grassroots football and professional football in this country has widened at an alarming rate – and so schemes such as Grow the Game are a timely and welcome boost. The Premier League often talked of a ‘trickle down’ effect after Sky’s mega-money came into football, but it never really materialised. Indeed, in 1992 the Premier League pledged to the government that it would put 5% of TV revenue into the grassroots game – and they reneged. Struggling and even prospering clubs at grassroots level still need all the help they can get.
There is a huge thirst for football in this country, but it can’t always be delivered due to a lack of finances or opportunities. This is a very welcome increase in funding – and your club can register its interest by contacting Niall Malone on 0345 345 4555 Ext: 4275 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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