0 FA to invest record £260m in grassroots football

The Football Association (FA) will invest a record £260m into grassroots football over the next four years - a £60m increase on the funding allotted for the previous four-year period

GrassrootsAnnouncing the funding on Wednesday at the launch of the National Game Strategy for Participation and Development, FA chief executive Martin Glenn said the association plans to target four key areas of the amateur game - facilities, coaching, participation and developing the football workforce.

"Our goals are ambitious, but achievable," Glenn 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've identified the four key areas in which we'll invest £260m until 2019."

Kelly Simmons, FA director for participation and development, added: "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."

One area where the strategy will be implemented is with the improvement in training and facilities. The FA is committing £48million - directly through its funding of the Football Foundation as well as investment in 100 new turf pitches and improvements to a further 2,000 as part of The FA's Pitch Improvement Plan. Further funds have also been dedicated to building 30 new football hubs across key cities - with a pilot scheme already under way in Sheffield - with the Government committed providing £8m per year over five years to support The FA's contribution.

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