Following their recent £7million investment towards preparing the country’s football pitches, the Premier League, The FA and the Government, through Sport England, are making a further £2.19million available through their Football Foundation to help clubs return to football.
The new Club Preparation Fund will help football clubs and community organisations to prepare their buildings to safely reopen in-line with Government guidance around hygiene and social distancing. Grants of £500 are being made available through the fund, and more than 4,000 grassroots clubs and organisations across the country will be able to benefit.
Grassroots clubs and organisations, FA National League System clubs, Welsh Cymru Premier League clubs, and clubs in the FA women’s pyramid who own their own facility, or have at least twelve months’ security of tenure, are all eligible to apply. Club Preparation Fund grants will enable clubs to satisfy extra hygiene measures which Government guidance requires, including:
* the installation of hygiene facilities such as hand sanitiser dispensers, soap dispensers, paper towel dispensers and waste bins
* modifications such as safety screening, contactless payment systems and signage
* facility maintenance work, such as repairing hand basins and hot water provision
* professional inspections which may be necessary due to the prolonged period of closure resulting from the pandemic (including inspections of water quality, gas and ventilation)
The Club Preparation Fund follows the £7million Pitch Preparation Fund, which is benefiting 9,588 pitches and is a continuation of football and Government’s support for clubs who have lost out on normal revenue streams during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The FA recently released guidance to help providers of outdoor football facilities achieve the Government’s guidelines. Providers will need to carry out a Covid-19 risk assessment, then adapt their facilities via three key ‘controls’: promoting good hygiene; keeping facilities and equipment clean; maintaining social distancing and avoiding congestion.
Robert Sullivan, Interim Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, commented: “We had a great response to the recent Pitch Preparation Fund, with clubs welcoming our emergency support to get nearly 10,000 playing surfaces across the country match-fit.”
“The Club Preparation Fund is a continuation of the support to assist the return of football by helping clubs prepare their buildings for the Covid-19 environment. Any organisations who need help should apply via www.footballfoundation.org.uk before the deadline of 19th July.”
Mark Bullingham, The FA’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are committed to getting all levels of football playing as soon as the Government decides that it is safe to do so. This fund will be critical to helping clubs prepare facilities and carry out essential maintenance work. We want them to be ready to welcome players back which, hopefully, will be very soon.”
Sports Minister, Nigel Huddleston, added: "We know grassroots clubs can't wait to get back to the competitive game and we're working hard to make sure they can do so safely as soon as public health guidance allows. This extra funding will help clubs to prepare and make sure they can put all-important safety measures in place to protect players and staff for when they get back on the pitch."
The application window is open until Sunday 19th July. Please visit the Football Foundation website at www.footballfoundation.org.uk for details on the Club Preparation Fund and how to apply. Further grassroots football funding information can be found in the menus above, by following @EssexCountyFA on Twitter and by searching for ‘EssexFootball’ on Facebook.