To multi-sport facilities

Gareth Southgate joined forces with the Premier League, The FA and Government’s Football Foundation to recently announce that by 2025, the charity plan to commit 40% of its investment, worth a projected £92 million over the next three years, into multi-sport projects that support both football and additional sport, such as rugby, cricket, netball, and basketball.

This will benefit the landscape of sport across the country, ensuring people will be able to access more places to play for more of the nation’s favourite sports. 

Gareth (pictured above from the Football Foundation's website with Wembley grounds manager Karl Stanley completing a PitchPower inspection) was at Gunnersbury Park Sports Hub to make the announcement and launch PitchPower, the Football Foundation’s web app that they say will revolutionise the condition of grass pitches in England. Initially launched to football in 2020, the app is now available for Rugby League, with Rugby Union set to go live at the RFU’s ‘Pitch Up For Rugby’ season opener on 17th/18th September, and cricket to follow at the start of the next season. 

Free to use, PitchPower will see every community club and organisation across cricket, rugby league, rugby union, and football, given the ability to carry out their own sport specific grass pitch inspections. Once an inspection is submitted, grass pitch experts at the Grounds Management Association produce an assessment report with bespoke advice and recommendations to improve the grass pitch quality at a site.   

Along with the support in inspections, £15 million of Sport England National Lottery funding will be made available via the Foundation to support the improvement of grass pitches at cricket, Rugby League and Rugby Union grounds the length and breadth of the country over the next three years. From Spring 2023, clubs and organisations using PitchPower to submit their inspections will have the opportunity to apply for funding to support making the improvements identified through the app. 

The multi-sport commitment will also see the first Football Foundation PlayZones open in 2023, thanks to additional investment of £13.5m from the Premier League. These small-sided sports facilities will provide accessible outdoor facilities that bring communities together through recreational forms of football and a range of other sports.   

England men’s football manager, and Football Foundation Supporter Gareth Southgate, said, “The Premier League, The FA and Government’s Football Foundation does so much more than helping communities improve their local football facilities and its new commitment to multi-sport facility funding marks an exciting time for grassroots sport across the country.

“PitchPower is going to be a game changer for grass pitch sports in this country. Around 90% of the affiliated football game is played on grass but we know that millions of players are left disappointed every year when their matches are cancelled due to poor quality pitches, something the Football Foundation and its partners are working tirelessly to prevent.  

“With the funding that cricket and rugby clubs will be able to unlock by undertaking inspections with PitchPower, a greater number of pitches across these sports will be better quality. This means more opportunities to play and get active which is hugely important to the nation’s physical and mental wellbeing.” 

Sports Minister, Nigel Huddleston, added. “We are committed to improving access to good quality sports facilities and levelling up opportunities for people to get involved in sport. 

“Coupled with the £230 million investment we are making to build or improve up to 8,000 grassroots football and multi-sport facilities across the UK by 2025, this commitment from the Football Foundation will be transformational. 
“This shows what can happen when we work together with football and our partners at the Premier League and The FA.” 

The launch took place at Gunnersbury Park Sports Hub, which opened last year after receiving a £4m grant from the Football Foundation in 2018 to build state of the art multi-sport facilities.

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