Is grassroots football a dying art?

In the UK, football has always lead the way for being the most watched and played sport. From grassroots to academy and then elite football it is a huge part of life in the UK.

Despite this, does a lower standard of football receive the care and attention necessary to get the most out of the people who are playing it?

In just 2014, the government released a statement claiming they would be a £50 billion price boost into grassroots funding in order to “build state-of-the-art facilities and develop the next generation of England football talent.”

This was also backed up by FA chairman, Greg Dyke saying on Gov.UK, “Significantly improving our grassroots football infrastructure is vital. Everyone playing the game at every level deserves the best opportunity to reach their potential.”

Speaking to members of local Sunday league football side Yeadon A.F.C, it seemed funding in grassroots football is still a major issue despite the government’s promises to improve it.

Local 20 year old player, Joel Shear said “I’ve been playing a long time, nearly ten years now, and I’ve never played on a nice football pitch.”

This was also backed up by 19 year old local Sunday league player Danny Baxter saying, “I think personally their needs to be more groundsman.”

He continued “The state of these pitches, there’s bobbles everywhere and how are you meant to enhance your ability as a football player when you’re playing on pitches like this.”

With teams paying from £600 to £1000 per year, it’s clear the players want a change in the conditions of the local pitches.

This was also supported by local 20 year old referee Brandon Blackham saying “Having refereed for a couple of years now, it’s hard to think of a single match I walked off and thought ‘well that pitch was in good condition’ because it’s such a rarity.”

“Not only does it damage the chances of improving their ability, but some of these pitches are dangerous and could easily break someone’s ankle if you’re not careful.”

Despite this, organisations like the FA and Football Foundation still claim to pride themselves on funding grassroots football, although Saturday and Sunday teams up and down the country miss out on games week in, week out due to terrible conditions of football pitches.

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