It’s an immense shame that England’s heartbreaking Euro 2020 final defeat to Italy resulted in such angry post-match scenes, especially as the Three Lions historic run had helped to unify much of the country during the previous three months.
However, there can be no doubt that England’s Euro 2020 run has triggered a wave of renewed interest in our national sport, while the exploits of the women’s GB Olympic team and the excitement surrounding the female Euro 2020 tournament have also piqued the interest of young women nationwide.
In this post, we’ll look at how this has inspired the UK government to invest in grassroots football across the board, while asking how this could impact the sport in this country.
Investing £50 Million in the Grassroots Game
In order to capitalise on the interest generated by the delayed Euro 2020 tournament and the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced an additional £50 million in grassroots football pitches nationwide.
The funding will be made available next year, while it will be distributed in a way that prioritises left-behind communities and makes grassroots football and local tournaments considerably more accessible.
This is part of the government’s wider ‘levelling up’ agenda, which seeks to create greater equality of opportunity in deprived and previously overlooked cities across the length and breadth of the UK.
Speaking from the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre (UKBIC) in Coventry, Johnson briefly outlined the challenges facing such areas , while reinforcing the need for investment to help deliver opportunities for struggling communities.
More specifically, the £50 million investment will address significant health inequalities in said regions, by encouraging children and young adults to become more active and increasing accessibility to football pitches.
The aim is to ensure that all interested parties are at least able to get 15 minutes on a high-quality football pitch in the UK, and one that can sustain even the most rudimentary grassroots teams.
Building on Previous Investments to Improve the Grassroots Game in the UK
Of course, this investment followed hot on the heels of the £25 million investment in new community football pitches announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak earlier this year, while total grassroots funding has also been boosted by contribution from the Football Association, Premier League and numerous local partners.
This will help to build a total of 185 new 3G, artificial pitches, while improving 5,000 existing grass pitches and creating nine ‘hub’ sites with multiple pitches.
This highlights a clear local and national government commitment to the grassroots game in England, which has been crucial in sustaining the Three Lions’ recent runs to the semi-final of the 2018 World Cup and the Euro 2020 final.
Increased investment and a continual restructuring of the grassroots games in England has certainly seen the development of more technically gifted players during the last decade, with Phil Foden, Mason Mount and Jude Bellingham embodying this perfectly.
The good news is that this trend is set to continue, as more aspiring players are given the opportunity to ply their trade and hone their skills on a high-quality football pitch.