Stay in the Game

Grants to Maintain Existing Essex Adult Male Teams

New-Look Scheme Returns to Support Club Retention

The Football Association are re-launching an adult male retention-focused funding scheme to support men’s 11-a-side community football teams in Essex.

The newly-titled ‘Stay in the Game’ scheme will offer existing clubs the opportunity to apply for grants of £750 to help cover the various associated costs of running a football team. The application window is open until Thursday 6th June.

Last year, under the name ‘Retain the Game’, the scheme helped to support the retention of 2,336 adult male teams across the country, supporting an estimated 55,000 community footballers.

Clubs who benefitted from the grants last year were able to use the funding for matchday and training facility hire, first aid training and new equipment, whilst also subsidising matchday fees for members of their respective squads.

This year, the grants will once again be available to adult male teams in the Under 18s to 21s category, open-age adult sides and veterans’ teams. Grassroots clubs who meet the following criteria will be eligible to apply:

* clubs who operate with two or more adult male teams - Under 18s, Under 19s, Under 21s, Under 23s, open age and vets
* clubs who hold The FA’s Charter Standard Award (Adult, Youth, Development or Community)
* adult clubs who commit to achieving the FA Adult Charter Standard within season 2019/20
* clubs who have the support of their County Football Association

Paul Simpson, England Under 20s Head Coach, said: “It’s no secret that we are seeing adult male players move from regular 11-a-side football into other more casual formats of the game. One of the main reasons is clubs lacking money for things like match fees, facilities hire, new kit and equipment, which can lead to their teams folding.

“Last year’s roll-out of the scheme saw some really positive strides and I hope we’ll see men’s 11-a-side teams across the country receive a helping hand.”

Stay in the Game is inclusive of players from different ethnic backgrounds, faiths and sexual orientations. This push to reverse the decline in adult male teams follows the recent ‘Grow the Game’ funding scheme for 2019, which made £1.5 million available for grassroots clubs looking to create new women and girls or disability football teams. 

As well as Grow the Game, the Football Foundation uses investment from the Premier League, The FA and the Government, through Sport England, to provide enhanced sporting facilities across the country. Since 2000, they’ve supported over 16,500 grassroots projects worth more than £1.5bn.

The application window for Stay in the Game is now open and closes at 5:00pm on Thursday 6th June 2019. Clubs seeking more information on the programme should contact their local Essex County FA Football Development Officer or visit the Football Foundation website at

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