Grassroots football facilities across England will benefit from an initial £39 million of UK government funding, as part of a major commitment to levelling up access to physical activity across the nation.

One hundred and sixteen projects across England will receive funding to create and improve pitches, changing rooms and pavilions, so that more local communities can access high-quality facilities.

Projects have been chosen for their ability to deliver improved facilities in deprived areas, support multi-sport use and increase participation among currently under-represented groups, including women, girls and disabled players.

A full list of funded projects can be found here.

The funding, combined with contributions from The FA, Premier League, clubs and other local partners, will improve the quality of community facilities, bring people together to enjoy playing sport in their local area, regenerate communities and enhance social cohesion.

£39 million will be provided for football facilities in England this financial year, out of a total of £230 million set to be invested to help to build or upgrade up to 8,000 quality pitches across the UK over the next four years. The funding will also support the construction or refurbishment of clubhouses, changing facilities and community buildings.

Scotland will also receive a total of £2 million, Wales £1.3 million and Northern Ireland £700,000.

UK Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston said:

We are committed to improving access to high quality sports facilities for the underprivileged and underrepresented across England.

From artificial grass pitches in Sefton, Newcastle and Southampton, to great changing facilities in Blackpool and Solihull, and grass pitch improvements in Chelmsford, Harrogate and Ipswich, this investment will ensure more people can enjoy the physical and mental health benefits of these facilities in their local communities.

Mark Bullingham, Chief Executive of the FA, said:

This initial £39 million investment from the government, the first tranche of the £230 million that was recently allocated to transform grassroots football facilities across the country, will help people to get active again as we emerge from the pandemic.

“Having more quality facilities around the country will encourage new participation at every age group and from historically under-represented groups, level up health inequalities in left-behind communities, and make the playing experience enjoyable for everyone that plays the game.”

Richard Masters, Chief Executive of the Premier League said:

It is great to see the first projects benefiting from this additional government funding get underway to provide more opportunities for people to play and enjoy football.

We welcome this further investment into football facilities, which enhances the existing significant contributions the Premier League, The FA and Government have put into developing thousands of grassroots projects over the last two decades through the Football Foundation, providing a valuable boost to clubs and communities that need it the most.

Robert Sullivan, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation said:

This government funding for community sports facilities across England will be life changing for people who will use them.

We know that playing on good quality facilities helps people get fitter, improves mental wellbeing, grows confidence and builds stronger relationships. This is all essential for individuals and communities as we emerge out of the COVID-19 crisis.

With the government, Premier League and The FA’s investment, we have made plenty of progress in the last two decades, but there is still lots of work to do to ensure all communities across England get the standard of local sports facilities they need and deserve. This new funding is enabling us to unlock the power of even more pitches to help transform people’s lives.

Today’s announcement follows a joint ‘Expression of Interest’ submitted to UEFA by the Football Associations of England, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Scotland and Wales on Wednesday (23 March).

The governments of the UK, Ireland, Scotland and Wales have confirmed their support for the EOI submission and, given the Northern Ireland Executive is currently not meeting formally, officials there continue to observe the process closely.

Formal discussions on the technical specifications for the tournament are expected to take place with European football’s governing body over the coming weeks, before a final decision is made on submitting a formal bid.

On the prospects of hosting UEFA EURO 2028, Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston added:

This is welcome news from The FAs, and the government remains committed to working closely with them and our partners in the government of Ireland and the Devolved Administrations to bring UEFA’s flagship festival of international football to the UK and Ireland.

Our unprecedented partnership creates the potential for the best EUROs ever, and we are passionate about bringing another world-leading sporting event here, creating a real celebration of football for people across the UK and Ireland.

The government says it continues to demonstrate its commitment to sport and recreation, recently announcing that it is also investing £30 million to refurbish more than 4,500 tennis courts across the UK.

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