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£50m to improve football facilities

The Government has promised £50 million of taxpayers' money over the next five years to help improve football facilities in a bid to help England lift the World Cup.

Some £8 million a year will be spent at 150 centres, helping to pay for the installation of new third-generation (3G) artificial pitches, while £2 million a year will be spent on training coaches.

Culture Secretary Sajid Javid said strengthening the game at the grassroots level will help the England team at future international tournaments.

The £10 million annual investment will be matched by the Football Association (FA), with further contributions from professional clubs and local councils aimed at providing over £200 million of total funding.

The money will help pay for 150 multi-sports hubs in 30 cities, with £2 million a year s upporting 25 new "coach educators" to triple the number of high-level coaches nationally and a bursary scheme to fund qualifications, with specific targets for female coaches and coaches from black and minority ethnic backgrounds.

Mr Javid said: " Investing in building state-of-the-art 3G pitches up and down the country is a real boost to grassroots sport.

"These all-weather facilities will not only mean that people can play football all-year round but are great for talent development due to the true, flat playing surface.

"If we strengthen the game at the grassroots and increase the number of coaches, it will only help the England team in future World Cups and European Championships."

The funding was announced as Chancellor George Osborne opened the Manchester City Football Academy, part of a £200 million regeneration plan paid for by the club's owners Abu Dhabi United Group in partnership with the city council.

The Chancellor said : "I am a strong believer in improving sporting facilities for young people, which is why I am delighted to oversee the opening of the City Training Academy today. The partnership between Abu Dhabi United Group and Manchester City Council is a benchmark for public private partnership, driving investment into the North of England and developing projects where business and the community benefit.

"Building infrastructure that supports participation in sport is an important part of government's responsibility to support a healthier and more active society. This is why, from next year, we will invest £10 million every year in sports pitches and coaching to ensure that our children have the high-quality facilities they need to develop their sporting talents."

FA chairman, Greg Dyke, said: " The best quality coaches working on the best quality facilities will really help us to deliver a transformation in player and coach development across English football."

"This improvement is vital to the nation's shared ambition of future England team success."


From Belfast Telegraph