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Local football teams hold out hope for FA funding to improve facilities

By Dec Campbell

Local clubs are looking to cash in on a pledge from the FA to put £260m towards enhancing grassroots football.

The FA aimed to build around 30 Parklife centres across the UK. Yet, only one pitch has been built so far, at St George’s Park in Sheffield.

The centres are designed to increase participation within the community and offer local sports teams the opportunity to use state of the art equipment. The AstroTurf is meant to give athletes every chance to increase their skills as players can enjoy the freedom of training on a smooth surface, without the risk of injury that some grass pitches might offer.

Beeston Juniors player, Kevin Napier, 19, is currently nursing a torn anterior cruciate ligament, which he sustained over 18 months ago after a pretty innocuous landing during pre-season.

He said: “In most grassroots football, you play in winter and many games tend to get called off. If you’re playing on a wet field, the chances of injury increase”

He also commented on the prospect of more Parklife pitches: “Grassroots football is kind of on the decline at the minute, with the quality of the pitches, the FA could more to help with pitches.”

The club has teams from under-8s all the way up to open age (starts at 18).

Ashley Knowles, 20, also from Beeston Juniors, commented on the need for new equipment: “Obviously we could use funding, we could sort out the pitch and increase facilities at the club, as well as new kits because they’re getting a bit scratty now.”

There is a growing belief at grassroots level that the FA needs to deliver on its promise of looking after the future of football in England, and with clubs like Beeston Juniors, the funding would go a long way towards improving the sport.

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