An FA and Football Foundation initiative is set to substantially increase participation in our national game amongst underrepresented groups. £2.36m of investment from The FA has been awarded to 728 clubs by the Football Foundation, which delivers the Grow the Game scheme on behalf of the national governing body for football.
This investment will enable those clubs to create 1,570 new grassroots football teams and 3,405 newly-trained coaches.
The recent funding window saw unprecedented demand from grassroots clubs applying for the financial helping hand to create new teams. The FA therefore increased their original £1.5m investment by an additional £860,000 in order to open up access to play regular football to significantly more people across the country.
As a result, this year’s Grow the Game scheme is projected to create:
· 642 male teams
· 703 female teams
· 43 mixed teams
· 182 disability teams
Players-wise, this can be broken down to:
· 11,881 male players
· 8,561 female players
· 1,504 male disabled players
· 567 female disabled players
Applications from demographics identified as having been traditionally underrepresented in the sport – namely, women and girls; male teams of Under-14s-and-upwards and disabled teams – were prioritised.
This approach has particularly benefitted the female game over the years. For example, from 2010 to last season, 3,728 women’s and girls’ teams were created thanks to Grow the Game grants, bringing 56,839 new players into regular football participation in the process. 2,343 of these were disabled female footballers.
Grow the Game is designed to increase participation at the lowest levels of the game with grants of £1,500 available for each new team that a club creates. The funding can help a burgeoning club pay for the fundamentals, including: FA coaching courses; FA league affiliation costs; referees’ fees; first aid kits; and even football kit & equipment.
Kelly Simmons MBE, The FA’s Director of Participation and Development, said: “Grow the Game not only allows us to focus on helping those underrepresented groups within the grassroots game, but also unearth brand new groups who want to kick a ball and increase participation levels as a result.
“The proposition of 1,570 new teams and 3,405 new coaches across the country is extremely encouraging and it is hoped that this investment will lead to greater and more flexible playing opportunities for all.”
Paul Thorogood, CEO of the Football Foundation, said: “Grassroots football is better off thanks to the Grow the Game scheme. It gets people from traditionally underrepresented groups playing the sport, something they would not have had the opportunity to do otherwise. This is underlined by the 1,570 new teams created thanks to this latest funding.
“The FA should be praised for their significant investment, which was delivered by the Football Foundation. As a result, we have helped to deliver a record number of new teams – the participation levels of which will be sustained over the long-term.”