Almost 3000 clubs in England received a slice of the cake worth close to GBP 10 million that was made available by the Premier League, The FA and the Football Foundation.
The Pitch Preparation Fund was set up in support of the game, which is currently facing unprecedented challenges because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is providing grants to clubs that have lost out on normal revenue streams during this difficult period and helping them to get their pitches ready for when it is safe to play football again, following Government advice.
The response to the Fund has been positive, with around 3000 applications received in the two-and-a-half weeks since the application window was opened during May.
As a result, GBO 7m of investment has been awarded to 2902 clubs and organisations which will allow 9588 football pitches to be made match-fit, benefiting 33,153 football teams in the grassroots, non-League and women’s game, as well as every club in the Welsh Cymru Premier League.
“The positive response to this initiative across the football community has been very encouraging and we remain committed to supporting clubs through this uncertain period,” said The FA CEO Mark Bullingham.
“This fund will help clubs to carry out vital work and prepare pitches for when it’s safe for the game to resume.”
As a result of the exposure of the Pitch Preparation Fund, the Football Foundation also received an increase of 176 per cent in its regular facility grant applications during May 2020, compared with May 2019.
This means even more football sites will be improved, over and above those receiving Pitch Preparation Fund grants.
Robert Sullivan, Interim chief Executive officer of the Football Foundation, added: “We’ve been delighted by the response to the Pitch Preparation Fund when it launched just a few weeks ago.
“Our national game can’t take place without playing surfaces being in good condition so this GBP 7m of investment provided by the Premier League, the FA and the Government is an important helping hand for clubs across the country to get their pitches match-fit for when matches are allowed to start up again.”
In addition to grassroots clubs benefitting from the scheme, 673 non-League, Women’s Super League and Welsh Cymru Premier League clubs have been supported via the Premier League’s Football Stadia Improvement Fund.
Clubs and other organisations are also being given access to the Football Foundation Groundskeeping Community. This is a free online resource the Foundation developed with the FA and the Grounds Management Association, containing advice and guidance.