—- Following their recent £7 million investment towards preparing the country’s football pitches, the Premier League, The FA and the Government, through Sport England, are making a further £2.19 million available through their Football Foundation to help clubs return to football.

The new Club Preparation Fund will help football clubs and community organisations to prepare their buildings to safely reopen in line with Government guidance around hygiene and social distancing.  Grants of £500 are being made available through the Fund and more than 4,000 grassroots clubs and organisations across the country will be able to benefit.

Grassroots football clubs and organisations, FA National League System clubs, Welsh Cymru Premier League clubs, and clubs in The FA Women’s Pyramid that own their own facility or have at least 12 months’ security of tenure, are all eligible to apply for funding.

Club Preparation Fund grants will enable clubs to satisfy extra hygiene measures that Government guidance requires.  This includes:

  • The installation of hygiene facilities such as hand sanitiser dispensers, soap dispensers, paper towel dispensers and waste bins
  • Modifications such as safety screening, contactless payment systems and signage
  • Facility maintenance work, such as repairing hand basins and hot water provision
  • Professional inspections that may be necessary due to the prolonged period of closure resulting from the pandemic – including inspections of water quality, gas and ventilation.

The Club Preparation Fund follows the £7 million Pitch Preparation Fund, which is benefiting 9,588 pitches and is a continuation of football and Government’s support for clubs that have lost out on normal revenue streams during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The FA recently released guidance to help providers of outdoor football facilities achieve the Government’s guidelines.  Providers will need to carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment, then adapt their facilities via three key ‘controls’: promoting good hygiene; keeping facilities and equipment clean; and maintaining social distancing and avoiding congestion.

Robert Sullivan, Interim Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “We had a great response to the recent Pitch Preparation Fund, with clubs welcoming our emergency support to get nearly 10,000 playing surfaces across the country match-fit.

“The Club Preparation Fund is a continuation of the support to assist the return of football by helping clubs prepare their buildings for the COVID-19 environment.

“Any organisations that need help should apply via footballfoundation.org.uk before the deadline of 19 July.”

Premier League Chief Executive, Richard Masters, said: “It is important that clubs are provided with the support they need to prepare for football’s return.  Along with the other funding partners, we were pleased to see thousands of clubs at different levels quickly benefit from the Pitch Preparation Fund.

“This further contribution is being made available to support more vital work and ensure premises are safe, in line with the latest Government guidelines.”

Mark Bullingham, The FA’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are committed to getting all levels of football playing as soon as the Government decides that it is safe to do so.

“This fund will be critical to helping clubs prepare facilities and carry out essential maintenance work.  We want them to be ready to welcome players back, which hopefully will be very soon.”

Sports Minister, Nigel Huddleston, said: “We know grassroots football clubs can’t wait to get back to the competitive game and we’re working hard to make sure they can do so safely as soon as public health guidance allows.

“This extra funding will help clubs to prepare and make sure they can put all-important safety measures in place to protect their players and staff for when they get back on the pitch.”

The application window will be open between 29 June and 19 July 2020.

Please visit the Football Foundation website for further details on the Club Preparation Fund and how to apply. 

ENDS

For media enquiries, please contact Rory Carroll, Head of Communications, Football Foundation, on 07545 932432 or rory.carroll@footballfoundation.org.uk.

Notes to Editors:

  • The latest Government guidance permits the re-opening of outdoor sports facilities such as playing fields.  It also allows facility operators to open buildings to allow access to pitches, for the use of toilets and the purchase of take-away food and drink.  This Club Preparation Fund will allow clubs and organisations to take the necessary steps to reopen their facilities in these circumstances.
  • Clubs and organisations must have a minimum of 12 months’ security of tenure and the legal responsibility to maintain and operate the clubhouse that they wish to safely reopen, to help service their playing pitches.
  • Grassroots clubs (including Step 7) will be able to apply for a maximum of £500 to help clubs adapt their clubhouse facilities via three key ‘controls’, which will help mitigate the possibility of spreading Covid-19: promoting good hygiene; keeping facilities and equipment clean; and maintaining social distancing and avoiding congestion.
  • FA National League System (Step 1-6), Welsh Cymru Premier League and FA Women’s Pyramid Clubs will also be able to apply for a maximum of £500 to help prepare their stadiums for reopening.
  • Eligible clubs and organisations will be able to apply from Monday 29 June to Sunday 19 July 2020.
  • Clubs and organisations that have already successfully applied for funding from the Pitch Preparation Fund will be able to apply from their Football Foundation Account through a short supplementary application form from 29 June.
  • Clubs and organisations that did not apply for a Pitch Preparation Fund grant, will be able to be apply via the Football Foundation website, but please note that no further applications to the Pitch Preparation Fund will be accepted.
  • Educational Establishments, Local Authorities, Parish Councils and Leisure Trusts with turnover of over £500,000 are ineligible for the scheme.

 

About the Football Foundation

The Premier League, The FA and Government’s Football Foundation is the largest sports charity in the UK.  It champions and supports fair access to quality football facilities for everyone, regardless of postcode, gender, race, disability or place.

The Foundation receives money from the Premier League, The FA and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, through Sport England.  This is matched with partnership funding and awarded as grants to create outstanding grassroots facilities that enable better games and attract more players, helping to transform communities.

The Football Foundation celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.  Since 2000, it has awarded more than 17,600 grants to improve facilities worth more than £708m – including 885 artificial grass pitches, 3,587 natural grass pitches and 1,210 changing facilities.  This has attracted an additional £885m of partnership funding – totaling over £1.5bn investment in grassroots football so far.

Through the Foundation, the Premier League, The FA, DCMS and Sport England have come together to create the National Football Facilities Strategy (NFFS) that will guide work over the next 10 years to transform many more local facilities. Local Football Facility Plans (LFFP) are being created to identify priority projects where demand is greatest, and the impact will be strongest and help stimulate the action required to deliver them.

Visit footballfoundation.org.uk for more information on the Foundation.

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