Stay in the Game

Delivered by the Football Foundation and funded by The FA, the Stay in the Game scheme aims to support the retention of football teams across the country.

The Football Association’s Stay in the Game scheme, formerly known as Retain the Game, is aimed at supporting the ongoing participation of adult male teams.


Grant eligibility

Stay in the game

The following age groups and club categories are eligible for support;

Clubs that operate with two or more male teams (u18s, u19s, u21s, u23s Open Age and Vets) and

  • Hold the FA’s Charter Standard Award (Adult, Youth, Development or Community)
  • Adult Clubs that commit to becoming FA Charter Standard within the 2019/20 season.

Only one application can be submitted per Club.

In the event the scheme is oversubscribed, the following Clubs will be prioritised for a Stay in the Game grant:

  • ​​​​​​Clubs with three or more adult male teams
  • Clubs that have been in existence for 5 seasons or more
  • Clubs that have been in existence for 10 or more seasons
  • Clubs who operate in leagues employing Full Time

Who is not eligible?

  • Clubs that benefitted from a Retain the Game grant in 2018
  • Clubs that operate with a single open age male team
  • Walking football teams
  • Futsal teams
  • Small sided football teams
  • University and College teams playing exclusively in BUCs, AoC or Intramural competitions (those playing in community competitions are eligible)
  • Armed Forces teams playing in internal services competitions (those playing in community competitions are eligible)
  • New teams
  • Disability or women/girls' teams
Stay in the game

What do I need to do if our club is not Charter Standard?

In order to apply for Stay in the Game, non-Charter Standard clubs will need to demonstrate they are willing to commit and work towards Charter Standard status. This requires clubs to contact their County FA and initiate the process prior to submitting an application. Charter Standard status will need to have been achieved during the 2019/20 season to receive the second instalment of the grant, if successful.

Stay in the game goalkeeper

Why is the FA promoting Adult Charter Standard?

The FA’s research has demonstrated that Adult Charter Standard Clubs are more sustainable and attract additional teams, players and volunteers. If clubs maintain this status, they also receive an annual benefits package from the FA.

About the grant


What can the money be spent on?

The grant is designed to cover core costs including:

  • Facility hire (match day or training venue)
  • Affiliation fees


Grant Payment

The grant of £750 will be awarded split across two years. The grant instalment will vary depending on the status of the club.

The breakdown of funding is shown in the table below:

Type of club Year 1 - 2019/20 Season Year 2 – 2020/21 Season
Charter Standard £500 £250
Non-Charter Standard £350 £400



Clubs will be paid their Year 1 instalment upfront once they have met all the grant pre-conditions and accepted the grant.

To release Year 2 payment clubs must meet the following conditions:

  • Clubs will be asked to provide their receipts as evidence of the eligible expenditure for the 19/20 season (Year 1).
  • Payment will be based on the retention of male teams within the club, your club must retain the following:
    If you are a club with 2 male teams – 100% retention
    If you are a club with 3-5 male teams – 80% retention
    If you are a club with 6-9 male teams – 70% retention
    If you are a club with 10+ male teams -  65% retention

The Year 2 funding will not be provided if the above retention rates are not met.

Please note:

  • All receipts provided must be dated after the grant offer date.
  • The Football Foundation will not reimburse payments made prior to the grant offer (excluded affiliation fees for the adult male teams for the 2019/20 season). 

How do I apply?


Applications are currently closed

Stay in the Game is an extremely popular scheme and the assessment process is competitive, therefore we strongly recommend that before making an application you contact your local County Football Association when the grant is next available.

If you have any enquiries, please do not hesitate to contact