The Premier League, The FA, the government and Sport England have come together through their Football Foundation to launch a new ‘Pitch Preparation Fund’ in support of the game, which is currently facing unprecedented challenges as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
The fund provides almost £10 million of financial support to those struggling to maintain their football pitches across the country. This is a direct response to a need across the game, providing grants to clubs that have lost out on normal revenue streams during this difficult period and helping them to prepare their pitches after challenging winter weather conditions.
The move will help to get clubs in a position to start playing football again when it is safe to do so, following government advice, and is estimated that to benefit up to 4,000 grassroots clubs and organisations.
A total of £9.56 million has been allocated to the fund, which is open to football clubs and voluntary organisations that maintain their own natural grass pitches and have at least 12 months’ security of tenure. Clubs with suitable tenure for a 3G artificial grass pitch are also eligible to apply.
Grassroots football clubs and organisations (Step 7 and below), FA National League System Clubs from Step 1-6, Welsh Cymru Premier League clubs and clubs in The FA Women’s Pyramid (Tier 1-5) that maintain their own natural grass and third generation (3G) artificial grass pitches, are among those eligible to apply for funding.
Robert Sullivan, Football Foundation Interim Chief Executive, said: “This fund reflects the determination of the Premier League, The FA and government to work together to make funding available to help get pitches match-ready for when restrictions are lifted."
The funding will help eligible clubs with essential maintenance works which could include vertical decompaction, slitting, over seeding, fertilising and weedkilling, as well as routine preparatory works such as grass cutting and the setting out and line marking of pitches. For artificial surfaces, eligible works could include deep cleaning, overmarking and FA pitch testing.
The application window will be open between Thursday 7 May and 9pm on Monday 25 May 2020.