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- 23 October 2013 00:00
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The Premier League, Football Association and the UK Government (via Sport England) have committed to a new £102 million fund that will be spent on improving grassroots football facilities.
The Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund will provide financial support for the development of new or refurbished community sports facilities in the three years from January 2014.
It will be delivered by the Football Foundation charity on behalf of the funding partners.
"This partnership between the Premier League, the FA, Sport England and Government shows what can be achieved when the public and private sectors work together to help strengthen our national game at the grassroots," said the new Minister for Sport and Equalities Helen Grant.
"The investment of £102 million into facilities, delivered by the Football Foundation, will encourage many people to get into sport in some of the most deprived areas of the country.
"Sport has a unique power to change lives for the better and this will make a positive impact in many local communities."
The scheme aims to develop improved pitches and provide more quality coaching.
The long-term plan is to raise the standard of English-born footballers by improving the experience of playing the game at the lowest levels.
"Premier League clubs are committed to playing an active role as hubs of their communities, particularly in the area of sports participation, from the grassroots level through to their academies," said Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore.
"By committing £36 million over the three years to developing more and better public sports sites, we hope to continue that regeneration."
The fresh investment will help continue the development of new or refurbished community sports facilities.
State-of-the-art facilities in the most deprived areas will also be targeted through the professional clubs' community trusts' outreach work.
"The funding that the FA has invested through the Football Foundation has dramatically improved local football facilities up and down the country and is a key part of the FA's four-year National Game Strategy, a £200m investment into the grassroots game," said FA general secretary Alex Horne.
"These enhanced facilities increase opportunities for young people to become involved in football, whether as players or coaches, and it is this work which feeds into helping to produce the next generation of English football talent."
The Football Foundation is the United Kingdom's largest sports charity.
It was set up in 2000, and has awarded 9,600 grants worth £412 million.
More than £560m of additional partnership funding has also been provided to the grassroots game.
In 2012, 741,801 people played sport at Foundation sites, with 63,702 sporting qualifications also gained at the new facilities.
"I am delighted that Sport England’s on-going investment into grassroots football facilities will continue through the new Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund,” added Sport England Director of Property Charles Johnston.
"I am particularly pleased that the new Fund will see even greater collaboration between the funding partners with the Football Foundation delivering a highly effective and efficient programme on their behalf.”