Facilities still the big grassroots issue – Sky Sports survey

A survey by Sky Sports News has revealed that poor facilities are still the biggest issue facing the grassroots game.

The survey of over 2,500 people found that poor pitches and facilities, along with a lack of investment, are the top priorities for those who play the game.

84 percent of survey respondents said that they felt the FA was not doing enough to preserve grassroots football, while 66 percent said that their local council did not do enough to maintain pitches and facilities.

The results will come as no great surprise to anyone within the grassroots game.

In 2009, Club Website revealed that half of the grassroots football community put up with substandard facilities on a regular basis, while the FA's own 2011 grassroots football survey found that 84 percent of people identified facilities as the most pressing issue facing the game.

The wettest winter on records has caused more frustration than ever for the football community, with the average grassroots team missing more than five games (Club Website poll, March 2014) and some teams going months without a game.

Club Website members responded to the Sky Sports poll in their hundreds and many shared their thoughts on the big issue.

Among them was Mark Oliver, who said: "One of the biggest problems is the poor condition of most pitches and the type of football that it produces. How can we expect our youngest players to play football unless we give them a surface to play on?

"Every primary school and secondary school should have their own 3G pitch too which the community can access. But this will require a huge investment in grassroots facilities."

FA General Secretary Alex Horne said that Sky Sports News' findings were "consistent with FA research" and admitted that there was room for "a big increase" in the number of 3G pitches in England.

Horne announced that the FA has been working closely with 17 local authorities to understand the "pressure points" they face in this area, while there are plans in place to work with three local authorities on a new pilot project to take stock of football provision in the wider community.

Read the full results of Sky Sports News' Grassroots Survey.

Read more about the FA's plans to work closely with local authorities on the facilities issue.

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