Friday, March 28, 2014

Football - fun or profit?

The number of adults playing football has gone down from 2.02m to 1.84m since 2005. The Football Association was punished for failing to reverse an ongoing decline in grassroots participation with a £1.6m cut in funding from Sport England. Sport England's chief executive, Jennie Price, said the funding cut should act as a "warning" to the FA that it had to do better in working with professional clubs, local councils and commercial five-a-side companies to encourage more people to take part in football for fun.

More than half of grassroots football leagues have experienced widespread disruption as a result of bad weather and poor facilities, leaving some facing an uncertain future, according to new research that highlights the scale of the crisis facing the game. Faced with rising costs and council cuts in the budgets for maintaining pitches, there are widespread fears that it will be hard to turn round the trend in declining participation figures across all forms of the game. Local authority cuts to sport and recreation budgets have led to increased charges.

Over half of all leagues have had to cancel more than 55 matches since October and a third had to cancel over seven weeks of fixtures entirely, says the survey by the Sport and Recreation Alliance (SRA). The same figures say that 55% had to cancel between three and seven weeks of fixtures and 33% between seven and 11. Six out of 10 leagues said that with better facilities or better drainage those postponements could have been prevented.

"We understand that many councils are under pressure from local funding cuts. But investment in sports facilities should be seen less as spending money to allow people to have a good time and more about making a long-term investment in the health and well-being of communities." said Andy Reed, chair of the SRA.

Back to jumpers for goals?

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