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Funds in excess of £16m made available for grassroots football return

Over £16 million has been made available for grassroots football in preparation for its return from March 29.

Fund in excess of £16m made available for grassroots football return

The initiative is being carried out by the Premier League, the FA and the government's Football Foundation ahead of next stage of the easing of the national lockdown.

Over £2 million will be directed towards groups whose participation has been particularly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, including clubs in the highest areas of deprivation in England, disability football and under-represented groups, such as women and girls.

A £14 million bursary is set to be provided in order to improve the quality of pitches, tapered in a six-year grant, whilst smaller grants will be issued to pay for essential equipment and machinery that they need to start playing again.

"There is huge excitement across the country ahead of the return of grassroots football at the end of the month," said Richard Masters, the Premier League's chief executive.

"The game provides so many benefits for people of all ages and brings communities together which is now more vital than ever.

"The launch of these three funds will provide targeted support for clubs across the country with a range of grants designed to ensure a safe return of the grassroots game."

Additionally, clubs will be able to apply for up to £25,000 to refurbish changing rooms, pay for grass pitch drainage, new goal posts, pitch maintenance equipment and portable floodlights.

FA chief executive Mark Bullingham added: "We are so looking forward to the safe return of grassroots football from 29th March and will do all we can to support clubs up and down the country to get back to normal after what has been an unprecedented year of challenges.

"Grassroots football has a hugely positive impact by bringing communities together and improving the health of the nation. These new funds will provide crucial financial support to clubs and leagues, helping them to get the game we love up and running again."

Author: Jake Wilkin