Grassroots football suffers huge blow as £550m Government funding in support of the UK and Ireland’s 2030 World Cup bid pushed back until next autumn
- Boris Johnson promised to deliver extra grassroots investment last December
- But there was no mention of any new funding in last week’s Spending Review
- The FA are understood to have contacted the Government to seek reassurances
The Government have put back plans to invest £550million in grassroots football in support of the UK and Ireland’s planned 2030 World Cup bid.
In the Conservative Party’s General Election manifesto published last December, Boris Johnson promised to deliver extra investment to provide ‘the biggest ever Government boost for grassroots football’ but there was no mention of any new funding in the Spending Review delivered last week by Chancellor Rishi Sunak.
The FA are understood to have contacted the Government to seek reassurances that the funding remains in the pipeline and were told that it will be revisited next year.
The Government have put back plans to invest £550million in grassroots football
Boris Johnson promised to deliver extra investment in his election manifesto last year
The Government have significantly altered their long-term spending plans as a result of the pandemic, with a commitment to a three-year Comprehensive Spending Review replaced by the one-year review that Sunak published last week, which was largely focused on protecting jobs and offering financial support to companies hit by the crisis.
While there will be a budget in March, sources have indicated to Sportsmail that any increased funding for grassroots football will have to wait until a multi-year spending review takes place next autumn.
The delay is a significant blow to the FA, who are cutting their own funding of the grassroots game by £22m over the next four years due to the need to make £300m in savings following the pandemic.
But there was no mention of it in the Spending Review delivered last week by Rishi Sunak
The FA’s 2030 World Cup bid team had secured the grassroots funding as part of a Government commitment to pre-tournament legacy spending, with the aim of ensuring that the right infrastructure is in place for grassroots football to capitalise should FIFA award the competition to this country.
A formal bid has yet to be launched after FIFA took the decision last year to delay the vote until 2024, meaning that lobbying will not begin in earnest until 2022.
In last year’s manifesto, which delivered an 80-seat majority to the Conservatives, they claimed that the £550m investment would be part of a total package of ‘£2billion to transform grassroots football’, which it compared to the legacy funding that followed the 2012 Olympics in London.
‘This four-fold increase in investment is part of a £2bn plan to transform grassroots football,’ the manifesto stated. ‘That will mean that by the time of the 2030 World Cup every family in England will be, on average, 15 minutes from a great local football pitch — turbocharging the current 25-year programme to deliver 2,000 new astroturf pitches and fix 20,000 grass pitches in a decade.’
The delay is a significant blow to the FA, who are cutting their own funding of grassroots