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Football Foundation manages new money for sports infrastructure

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Local football facilities are set to benefit from £102m of investment over the next three years after the Premier League, The FA, and the government (via Sport England) committed to financing a new fund that will provide grants towards developing new or refurbished grassroots football facilities.

The Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund will be delivered by the Football Foundation on behalf of the funding partners, and will provide financial support toward the development of new or refurbished community sports facilities. It will begin to provide this investment from mid-January 2014.

Many of the new state-of-the-art facilities will serve to strengthen the connection between professional football clubs and their local communities, particularly in the most deprived areas of the country, through the professional clubs’ community trusts’ outreach work.

Helen Grant MP, Minister for Sport and Equalities, said:

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.

Richard Scudamore, Premier League Chief Executive, added:

Having been a Trustee of the Football Foundation since the very start, I have seen first-hand how these new sports facilities can help to regenerate communities and increase participation amongst those who play our national game. By committing £36m over the three years to developing more and better public sports sites, we hope to continue that regeneration.

Alex Horne, The FA’s General Secretary, said:

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 £200 million investment into the grassroots game.

Pictured: Sports Minister Hugh Robertson opening a typical Football Foundation project in Wyberton, Lincolnshire, UK.

Manchester City training facility to include mini stadium

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Manchester City Football Club is busy developing both Etihad Stadium and its proposed training facility. It has undertaken a public consultation on the Youth Development and Training Facility on 80 acres of brown field land diagonally opposite the Etihad Stadium. The opinions of the residents of East Manchester will help shape the club’s submission for planning approval. Planning consent to improve the land in Openshaw West, acquired by the Club over the past two years, was granted in June and remediation work on the site is under way.

Key elements and benefits of the proposals are as follows:

The centre would not only provide the Club with a competitive edge in terms of recruitment of players of all ages, but would also more than meet the requirements for a grade 1 Academy as set out by the Premier League’s new Elite Player Performance Plan.

All aspects of the Club’s youth development, first team training and operations functions would be brought into the one location in the heart of East Manchester and would include:

  • A new Academy for up to 400 young players with classrooms for 200
  • On site accommodation for junior and senior players
  • 16 football pitches, up to 12 of them dedicated to players aged from 8 to 18
  • A state of the art first team building with changing rooms, gym, refectory and injury and rehab centre
  • A 7,000 capacity stadium for youth matches
  • Staff offices and a dedicated media centre
  • A bridge linking the site to the Etihad Stadium and the rest of the Etihad Campus

Garry Cook, CEO of Manchester City Football Club said:

Manchester City’s ambition is to be a successful and sustainable football club and youth recruitment and development through a top class facility is a key component of that ambition.   Our research to date has been painstaking and our planning comprehensive and whilst our plans would inevitably have a positive impact on both our young and established playing talent, the regenerative and economic impact for our community should not be underestimated. We welcome the views of all of the communities we serve as we seek to gain planning permission for this most exciting of proposals.

Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, said:

The partnership between Manchester City Football Club, the Council and New East Manchester would accelerate the regeneration of the area, delivering significant community and economic benefits. This new facility would help us continue to improve education and skills and will create jobs and other opportunities for local residents as well as being a further example of the club’s investment in the area.

It would be complementary to other proposed developments in the area, which would combine together to fulfil our vision for East Manchester as a centre for elite sport.