Budweiser to invest £1m into grassroots football

The FA and Budweiser have announced a £1m investment into grassroots football over the next two seasons as part of the US firm's sponsorship of the FA Cup.

The new initiative, called Budweiser Club Futures, will help to support the grassroots game by giving 16 grants of £50,000 to non-League clubs across Steps 5-7 of the English football pyramid over the next two years.

Eight grants will be available during the 2012-13 season, with a further eight available during the 2013-14 campaign.

Within each season, one of the chosen eight clubs will win an additional £100,000 super grant – as voted by football fans from early next year through the official FA Cup and Budweiser UK Facebook pages.

Budweiser are sponsoring Step 5 club Wembley FC - whose website is powered by Club Website - this season in their bid to progress through the early rounds of the FA Cup.

The deal, which has brought Terry Venables and a host of ex-internationals - to Wembley, has enabled the Combined Counties Premier club to upgrade their clubhouse and purchase a new minibus, amongst other improvements.

Critics have dismissed the move as publicity stunt disguised as a gesture of support for grassroots football, overlooking the real need for investment in the non-league game.

But now an extra £1m investment will allow other clubs to improve their facilities as Wembley FC have done, as part of the Budweiser Club Futures programme.

The scheme aims to ‘help clubs to help themselves’ by improving any part of their general facilities - from improving a clubhouse, building conference facilities or expanding the car park. Anything that helps a club grow and play an even larger role in their local community.

It also aims to help clubs become more financially sustainable, giving the opportunity to create a legacy in their community to inspire future generations of footballers.

“This level of football traditionally survives on the generosity of volunteers and a real sense of community spirit," said Sir Trevor Brooking, Director of Football Development at the FA.

"So it goes without saying that this £1m investment as part of the Budweiser Club Futures programme is a fantastic gesture, with the £100,000 Super Grant being a real pot of gold for the clubs involved.”

Budweiser European Marketing Director, Iain Newell, added: “We know the importance of non-League clubs to the future of the beautiful game and to local communities, so we’re proud to be able to give these clubs a financial boost.

"As a long-standing supporter of football around the world, Budweiser is committed to partnering with the communities where we live and work to support local clubs as they build their legacies."

Step 5-7 clubs who wish to apply for a grant can do so via the FA website. Closing date for submission of applications is 31 October 2012.

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