£14m spent on grassroots football between June and December 2015
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£14m spent on grassroots football between June and December 2015

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The Premier League and Football Association (FA) ploughed £14m (US$20.7m, €19m) into the upgrade of 163 grassroots facilities in the six months ending December 2015.

Awarded by the Football Foundation charity, the grants improved facilities worth £57m (US$84.3m, €77.2m) across the UK over the half-year period.

Premier League club Sunderland FC benefited from the largest grant, with £1m (US$1.5m, €1.4m) donated to the building of its community education and sporting facility, Beacon of Light. The facility, which will be run by the club’s charitable arm, Foundation of Light, secured planning approval last September.

Other notable investments include £500,000 (US$739,871, €677,327) being spent on a new changing pavilion for Queens Park Rangers FC, and a further £500,000 (US$739,871, €677,327) going towards a floodlit 3G pitches for Beech Hill Primary School in Halifax, West Riding.

The Beech Hill investment will increase the number of clubs using the site from 52 to 64, and will enable FA Level One and Level Two courses, goalkeeping coaching and Junior Football Leader Awards to be held on the site.

Money from the Premier League and FA, through its Facilities Fund, is generally put towards building new, or refurbishing existing, floodlit 3G pitches and changing facilities. Smaller grants are also put aside for the replacement of unsafe goalposts or purchasing pitch maintenance equipment.

Between 2013 and 2016 the Premier League, FA and government, through Sport England, has invested £102m (US$150.9m, €138m) into grassroots facilities. That investment is set to grow further after the publication of the government sports strategy – Sporting Future revealed that the Premier League has committed more funds over the next three years.

FA chief executive, Martin Glenn, said 2016 will see “even more intensity” in terms of grant investment, “marking a step-change in the nature of grassroots football provision”.

“Since we launched in 2000, the Football Foundation has supported over 14,000 grassroots projects worth more than £1.3bn (US$1.9bn, €1.8bn),” said Football Foundation chief executive, Paul Thorogood.

“By targeting this investment into areas of greatest need and where it will have the greatest impact, we also maximise the impact of that investment.”

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The Premier League and Football Association (FA) ploughed £14m (US$20.7m, €19m) into the upgrade of 163 grassroots facilities in the six months ending December 2015.
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