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SBD Global/April 22, 2014/International Football

FA National Game Dir Simmons Fears Impact Of Recently Imposed 'Austerity Measures'

The FA fears English football "being damaged for 'the next 50 years' unless more is done to combat the crisis" in grassroots facilities brought on by what it calls government "austerity measures," according to Henry Winter of the London TELEGRAPH. Remedies include council facilities being "taken over by clubs and the installation of more 3G pitches at all levels, including Wembley." The FA has "been angered" by Sport England's recent decision to "cut funding" to the FA's grassroots programs by £1.6M ($2.7M) a year after "participation levels among adult males dropped." FA National Game Dir Kelly Simmons said, "It was disappointing and a very short-term decision." Simmons: "We have raised our concerns in government but we have to face the fact that local authorities, who have been such a big investor and provider of football facilities, are taking huge hits in their budgets under the austerity measures. If we don't tackle this and work with local authorities this is going to impact football for the next 50 years." There is a "general frustration within the FA that government appears neither to accept nor be prepared to address the long-term link between a lack of investment in grass-roots sports and obesity problems" (TELEGRAPH, 4/20).
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