Nottingham named first City of Football

Nottingham to host two-year trial to boost grassroots participation as first ever City of Football

Nottingham has been named as England's first City of Football after outlining innovative plans for improving grassroots participation.

The city beat off competition from Manchester and Portsmouth to win £1.6m of Sport England funding for a two-year trial aimed at getting more people playing football regularly.

The money has been reinvested by Sport England after they cut £1.6m of Football Association funding in March, following a sharp decline in the number of people playing football in England.

Nottingham's successful bid was praised by Sport England for "mobilising an impressive group of private, public and voluntary sector partners" from within and outside of football to work together on "insightful" ways of getting more people playing the game.

These include the city's digital platform 'Playbook', which will "help providers planning to put on football activities in the city target the right people, in the right places, at the right time, with relevant offers."

Sport England Director of Sport Phil Smith said "Nottingham has an exciting and inventive response to the challenge of getting more people to play the game and we will look forward to working with them to make this happen."

Nigel Cooke, head of One Nottingham, the city's strategic partnership, said: "Over the next two years, we will create new football partnerships; develop new technologies; encourage more people to play, especially 14 to 25 year olds, women and girls and people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds; and share our learning so that the rest of England can benefit from our insight."

The City of Football project has received the full support of the Football Association, who will monitor the success of the two-year pilot with a view to rolling out Nottingham's successful initiatives to improve local participation across the country.

Kelly Simmons, FA Director of National Game, said: “Football is our national game and it is vitally important that we get as many people as possible playing across the country in a way that they want at times convenient to them.

"Nottingham’s plans showed real strength in opening up opportunities for everyone in the city to get involved in the game, and we look forward to sharing our expertise, discovering new insights, and applying the findings of the pilot across England going forward."

To find out more about the City of Football, visit or

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