Changing the Game for Sport: One Year On
Left to right: Craig Richards (former England Women’s Rugby League Head Coach); Heather Knight OBE (Captain of the England Women’s Cricket Team); Gareth Southgate OBE (England Men’s Football Manager); Eddie Jones (former England Men’s Rugby Union Head Coach); Shaun Wane (England Men’s Rugby League Head Coach).
It’s been a year since stars from across football, Rugby League, Rugby Union and cricket joined together to announce the Football Foundation’s £92 million funding commitment to multi-sport grassroots facilities. A year on the impact of this investment is already helping to transform communities across the country.
At the Foundation, we know from our experience of unlocking over £2 billion investment up and down the country over the past 23 years that football can act as a catalyst boosting participation and investment in other community sports.
That’s why we pledged to commit 40% of our investment into multi-sport projects that support both football and an additional sport, such as rugby, cricket, netball, and basketball, by 2025.
Thanks to the investment of our partners at the Premier League, The FA and Government, we’re well on the way to meeting this ambition. Last season alone, the Foundation awarded over £37 million in grants to support multi-sport projects, including 34 3G football turf pitches, 28 changing pavilions and 11 grass pitches that will support football and at least one other sport.
Improving the quality of England’s grass pitches will be essential to making a truly transformative impact on the landscape of sport across England. Since 2020, PitchPower – the Foundation’s free-to-use web app for inspecting and improving grass pitches – has been a game-changer for football clubs, enabling the improvement of thousands of grass football pitches across the country.
Now, we’re able to deliver the same great benefits for other sports too as we’ve made PitchPower available for Rugby League, Rugby Union and cricket clubs and organisations.
Not only does this mean that other sports will be able to carry out grass pitch inspections, but they’ll also have the opportunity to apply for funding from a £15 million pot of Sport England National Lottery Funding over the next three years to support making the improvements identified through the app. For major pitch capital and renovation works, the Foundation is delivering £3 million of National Lottery Funding from Sport England directly to Rugby Union, Rugby League and cricket clubs via our Multi-sport Pitch Improvement Fund.
These grass pitch improvements are creating more opportunities for people to play not only football, but a range of sports.
While the Football Foundation will always be rooted in football, our ultimate goal is to transform lives and strengthen communities by providing great places to play across the country. That’s why our multi-sport commitment is, and will continue to be, central to the work we do.