Focus on facilities

Delivering first-class facilities is a key element of our strategy to get as many people playing sport as possible. This season saw the delivery of the 525th artificial grass pitch funded by the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund.

BBC pundit and former Premier League player Jermaine Jenas, who started his career at Nottingham Forest, visited the new Forest Recreation Ground 3G pitch, built on the birthplace of Nottingham Forest FC, to see the results of a £900,000 grant from The Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which is delivered by the Football Foundation. Funding is provided by the Premier League, The FA and Government via Sport England. Speaking with the advantage of local knowledge, Jenas said:

I grew up in Nottingham and everyone around here comes here to play football, so for the Premier League to have invested so much money to regenerate it and to take care of it is huge. It’s such a hub and a lot of good players have come from this area.

It’s huge for grassroots football; it’s huge for the schools and for the local area as a whole. It’s going to be great – these pitches, you can play on them throughout the winter – no games will be called off. I was speaking to the coaches at Forest and they are very grateful the Premier League have done that.

Children train at Nottingham Forest's training facilities
A game taking place under floodlights

If there had been something like this near me when I was growing up, I probably would have played twice as much football. For the Premier League to provide something like this, it means a lot to me because I feel like it’s going to help generate a lot more quality players. Being from Nottingham and having gone through that system and knowing how hard it is, I think it’s brilliant that they’ve done that.

I personally believe when you provide pitches like this, you are going to create top players because they are going to want to come back every day and practice. A lot of kids come up to me asking “what do I do to become a top footballer, how did you do it?” Well I had a football with me 24/7. It’s places like this that create that type of culture, that make you just want to play football.

This is how it starts, through pitches like this that have been provided by the Premier League. Not only that but the pavilion that they have regenerated as well. It’s a place where a lot of the coaches can come and they can use it as their education hub. People not only come here to train and work hard but they can study.

Football Stadia Improvement Fund

Arsenal Manager Arsène Wenger also visited a new facility at Boreham Wood FC at the start of this season: “It is an excellent facility which will allow the club to continue to develop. It will also be of great benefit to our ladies and Academy sides, who play their home games at Meadow Park. I am very pleased that we were able to come together with Boreham Wood FC, the Football Stadia Improvement Fund (FSIF) and other funders to make this project a reality.”

Arsène Wenger at Boreham Wood

The FSIF, which is solely funded by the Premier League, awarded grants to 146 projects worth 6.1m in 2014 alone. The FSIF is the country’s largest provider of grants towards projects that help improve the comfort and safety of lower-league football grounds in both the professional and amateur game.

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