FA chief executive says record overseas deal could have transformational impact at grassroots level
The Football Association has announced a new overseas broadcast deal for the FA Cup which it says could have a "transformational" impact on the grassroots game in England.
The record six-year deal with Pitch International and IMG, which will begin in the 2018/19 season, is reported to be worth £800m.
The FA has not disclosed the financial terms of the deal, but its chief executive Martin Glenn described it as “a hugely significant deal for the FA as a not-for-profit organisation".
"It means we will be able to invest even more than we currently do in pitches, facilities and participation programmes to make football available for all," said Glenn. "It is not overstating it to say that it could have a transformational impact on what we are able to achieve across the country.
"We are extremely grateful to Pitch International and IMG for recognising the value of this wonderful competition – as we are to our other cup partners – and their support will have a direct and lasting impact in helping us to grow the grassroots and making sure football is for all."
Last year's FA grassroots survey found the quality and availability of pitches to be the biggest problem raised by the grassroots community, who also highlighted concerns over the standard of coaching.
Two years ago this month, the FA announced a £230m strategy to revolutionise grassroots facilities and coaching, including the creation of 150 new football ‘hubs’ in 30 cities across England by 2020.
The first hub opened in Sheffield last month with the official launch launch set for this week. It is one of two hubs set to open in the steel city, with planning applications approved for similar hubs in Liverpool and west London and a three-month window open for other local authorities around the country to express interest.
Now, the new FA Cup cash injection will provide a boost to the FA as they seek to roll the project out across the country's urban heartland.
Women's football will also be a “prime candidate” for FA investment, according to the Observer newspaper, which reports that the governing body are seeking to double the number of people playing and watching the women's game by the end of the decade.
“Only four in 10 girls play at primary school, so the job for the next four years is to capture more of the talent who are playing and develop them more quickly,” Glenn told the Observer.
“It’s expensive, but I maintain any pound spent on the women’s game has a far higher rate of return than just about anything else I can spend.”
The FA's annual budget for women's football is set to rise to £17.7m in 2016 - an increase of 16% - according to the report.
Have your say - What should the FA do with the new FA Cup TV money?
What do you think of potential boost to grassroots football from the new FA Cup TV deal? Do you expect to see a "transformational impact" on the game across the country?
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Image courtesy of TheFA.com.