FA launches £230m revolution in grass roots facilities

Footballers legsThe Football Association has recently launched ‘a revolution in grass-roots facilities and coaching’, with plans to build trust-run ‘hubs’ filled with 3G pitches on local authority sites in 30 UK cities.

This follows chairman Greg Dyke’s £750,000 Commission into why English football has been struggling. The Commission looked into youth-development issues, and why home grown talent was struggling to get into the first teams in the Premier League.

The Commission has pledged that by 2020, football hubs will be established in 30 cities, by replacing derelict local authority grass pitches with artificial grass pitches.

Commenting on the new hubs, Dyke said: “We all know that the maintenance of those facilities, particularly the local authority ones, has declined over the years. We’ve had two terrible winters. The advantage of the artificial pitches is that you can play on it 60-80 hours a week whereas the average grass pitch is four to five.

“We probably should spend £6,000-£8,000 a year to maintain pitches, but we are spending £2,000 a year so therefore the maintenance of these pitches is in decline. If you replace them with artificial pitches you also get the advantage that more people will play football in the way they want to play. People are playing five or six-a-side. They can play at 9pm, rather than Sunday morning.”

The hubs will be used mainly by youth leagues, but can be used by adults and clubs for midweek training. They will also provide a base for coaching courses.

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