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SBD Global/February 27, 2013/Facilities

With 'Poor Facilities' A Concern At Grassroots Level, FA Pledges $227M To Improvements

The FA is "committing to the improvement of thousands of run-down and dilapidated playing fields nationwide after 84% of those involved in the game's grassroots cited 'poor facilities' as their most pressing concern," according to David Conn of the London GUARDIAN. The FA will pledge the Football Foundation's £50M ($75.8M) annual budget from '13 to '15 to be spent "mainly on improving large football sites in often poor areas of England's cities." It is unlikely, however, that the FF, which has since '01 been funded by the FA, Premier League and Sport England, "will be given extra money to address the problem." Even though Premier League clubs are "anticipating a massive boost" to £5.5B ($8.3B) in their '13-16 TV deals, the FA is "not expecting the 20 top clubs to increase their contribution to the foundation." The strategy recognizes that "despite the huge amount of money" in football and £780M ($1.2B) invested by the foundation since '01, many who play the game "still do so in abject conditions." That challenge is made more difficult by the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government's cuts to local authorities, which own 83% of playing facilities and are "struggling to maintain their budgets for sport and leisure" (GUARDIAN, 2/25).
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