Sports minister "appalled" at lack of Premier League investment

New sports minister Tracey Crouch has said she is “genuinely appalled” at the Premier League’s contribution to improving grassroots football facilities, calling on the league to invest “much more” of its multi-billion riches in the amateur game.

In April the Premier League announced plans to share over £1bn of its record new domestic TV deal – worth £5bn over three years from 2016-17 – outside of the top flight, but Crouch believes they must do more.

“That billion includes parachute payments so we expect roughly around a third to go to the grassroots,” said Crouch, addressing a Sport and Recreation Alliance summit in her first public speech as sports minister this month.

“That is divided in various ways so by the time you get down to talking about artificial pitches it’s not very much money at all. I want to see a lot more from Europe’s wealthiest league.”

The Premier League will earn an expected £8bn from domestic and overseas TV rights from 2016-17 to 2018-19. Whilst the league argues its first responsibility is to fans by investing in the best playing talent and facilities, it also points to a £168m investment in grassroots football and ‘good causes’ during the current three year TV deal.

“I don’t think enough of the money has gone into the grassroots from the last TV deal,” added Crouch, who is an FA-qualified coach and has run a girls’ football team for the last decade.

“I think the fact we are still lagging behind other footballing nations in our facilities is appalling and I really want to make sure the Premier League make a decent contribution to improving that situation. I am genuinely rather appalled that they don’t.

“They raise a phenomenal amount of money from TV rights and it was a phenomenal amount of money the clubs made in profit. It’s a very wealthy league. I would like to see much more of that money go down to the grassroots.”

This article appeared in The Clubhouse – the monthly newsletter from Club Website. To get the best grassroots news, offers and competitions straight to your inbox every month, sign up today!

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Dan Pope
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Freelance writer, editor and copywriter, specialising in football and with a passion for grassroots sport. Former editor at Club Website.

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15 Comments

  1. Graham Morgan on June 26, 2015 at 2:28 pm

    Well said Tracey.

    How recently was it that Sport England were proudly speaking of their £40 million donation to Football to help with grassroots development?

    Graham Morgan
    Former Head of adidas Global Grassroots Football

  2. Stuart Grimshaw on June 26, 2015 at 2:34 pm

    Given the amount of money the government is cutting from public services left right & center they are in no position to be “appalled” about the amount of money grassroots football gets from the Premier League – even if they are right.

  3. bryan symonds on June 26, 2015 at 2:58 pm

    I am the unpaid groundsman and like so many others are not paid for the work that has to be done, looking after three main pitches and two others takes a lot of grass cutting ,we are now desperate for a new machine plus irrigation system in these dry situations only have about 5 weeks and start playing/training again we are only a small club but have last season been promoted into the Suffolk league division one, thank you for showing an interest in grass roots football,best regards .

  4. Ash Rai on June 26, 2015 at 3:58 pm

    The Minister is spot on, I am part of a great local club that allows every child to play and we simply get nothing.

    We are desperate for facilities in OUR area, given the huge sums paid out in the name of football to premiership clubs and players grassoots investment is not on the radar.

    There is no game without grassroots development, we need to stop talking and start doing.

  5. Jim O'Rourke on June 26, 2015 at 7:01 pm

    Pleasing to have a new Sports Minister Tracey Crouch who understands just how the money from the Premium League is spent. It may take government intervention to solve the lack of facilities.

  6. J lewis on June 26, 2015 at 8:16 pm

    We look forward to the government reversing encouragement of property speculation building over school playing fields then.
    & putting back the inter school sports organisation.

    Won’t hold our breath tho’, apparently its always someone else’s fault.

  7. martin eddy on June 26, 2015 at 9:06 pm

    good to have someone who knows what is happening at grass roots. if you play on council run facilities you have to fend for yourself or put up with things getting worse every year as the council budgets are getting cut year on year. we work with our council but we are lucky because we have people willing to volunteer free of charge to make it work and local businesses willing to support us. but it is hard work just keeping your head above water

  8. Bob Hickman on June 27, 2015 at 12:24 pm

    Grassroots football? Does she mean amateur adult football or youth football? The two need to be treated as separate entities and we would then know exactly how much is going into each one.

  9. Chris Carrington on June 27, 2015 at 7:15 pm

    That pitch looks like Wembley compared to ours, plus our natural lighting/fully air conditioned changing rooms (no windows or lighting so lovely in the winter) will out do most in the country. Doesnt stop us playing every week. Blazing Rag 2000 FC

  10. Damon O'Shea on June 27, 2015 at 7:24 pm

    Local volunteer based football clubs are in massive decline, without these organisations who are the beating heart of our game, kids will have no pathway to playing the game.

    A clear code of conduct is required to force the big club academys selling a false hope to parents with kids as young as 8, and collapesing youth local youth teams in the process should be policed.

    The premier league academies are huge businesses cashing in on nieve parents and where are the 1st team players?

    Money gives power and power corrupts

  11. michael on June 27, 2015 at 7:46 pm

    been coaching mini soccer for three years and I have never seen a penny come to our team ,it looks like the way things are going if the likes of myself and other people across the country put all the hard work into teams .if the fa want it to end all here it going that way until they pull there finger out and instead of giving all funding to top level football rather than the small fish down the bottom

  12. David Fitzpatrick on June 27, 2015 at 8:46 pm

    Hope this extends to Scotland . After all grassroots teams up here have been developing players that end up with Premiership and championship clubs for years now .

  13. Mac on June 27, 2015 at 9:48 pm

    It was her party that sold the school and club playing fields in the 80s and Gove snatched the rights to the current school grounds two years ago, his department subsequently ‘losing’ the paperwork councils had kept safe for decades.

  14. andy day on June 28, 2015 at 12:18 pm

    Something needs to be done sooner rather than later has I have seen Sunday morning football go from 6 leagues down to two over last 20 years its not looking good for Sunday football in York not many pitches and poor grounds also the pitches that we can hire are to expensive, help is needed for us to continue the beautiful game.

  15. Dave Grundy on June 29, 2015 at 11:55 am

    Investment in Grass Roots football is a complete myth. I have been involved in boys and girls/Ladies football for over 20 years with several different clubs with varying degrees of facilities i.e Council Pitches, own pitches etc and have never seen a penny received to help. Think this is just another “soundbite” to look like the govt are doing something postive, but in reality they are the ones ultimately responsible for the demise in grass roots football with their huge spenidng cuts imposed on local councils and playing field sell offs. No confidence that anything will change at all

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