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SBD Global/March 28, 2014/Finance
Football Association Loses $2.7M In Public Funding Due To Declining Participation Figures
Published March 28, 2014
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| Sport England's Active People Survey
|Swimming||2.88 million||2.93 million
|Athletics||1.95 million||2.02 million
FA 'DISAPPOINTED': Also in London, Owen Gibson reported the FA said that it was "disappointed" with the decision and "suggested it had not been given enough time to show that its plan was working." The number of 16-year-olds and older playing football has "gone down from 2.02 million to 1.84 million" since '05, when Sport England's active people survey began. Price said that the FA was now "more focused on the problem than it had been in the past but must translate words into action." Price: "They are more engaged than they have been for some time. They do want to get it right but they need to accelerate their efforts." Sport England will use the £1.6M it is deducting from the FA to fund a "football city" pilot -- a trial "looking at new ways of encouraging people to play the game, including casual and small-sided matches." Cities will be invited to bid for the fund, which will be used to "test new ideas that could be rolled out nationally." Price: "It's got to be about jumpers for goalposts and small-sided games as well as traditional 11 v 11 on a Saturday afternoon" (GUARDIAN, 3/27). REUTERS' Mike Collett wrote while "so much money is swishing around at the top end of the game, with top professional clubs investing millions in fancy academies, the reality for millions of recreational players is pot-holed pitches littered with dog excrement, wonky goal posts and dilapidated changing rooms" (REUTERS, 3/27).
PRIOR WARNING: The BBC's David Bond reported Sport England warned the FA last year that it could lose up to 20% of its £30M overall public funding package for the '13-17 period if it "failed to halt the fall in numbers." While the cut of £1.6M is "small in comparison with the FA's overall turnover" -- which was more than £300M in '12 -- Sport England says it "represents 10% of the remaining money specifically allocated to the FA for increasing participation." In total, the FA distributes £43M ($71.4M) a year to grassroots projects. As part of its review process, Sport England "not only considered participation numbers but also each sport's plans to try to increase interest at grassroots level." That is "why other sports that have experienced a decline in participation -- such as cricket, rugby union and badminton -- have not had any funding removed this year" (BBC, 3/27).