A new scheme from The Football Association is aiming to improve the retention of male adult players, with grants of £750 available to 11-a-side clubs in order to support them in running clubs which have always been pillars of their communities.
Offering existing clubs the chance to apply for financial help to cover the costs of running a team, the Stay in the Game scheme is a re-brand of last year's Retain the Game initiative, which helped support the retention of 2,336 adult male teams across the country, supporting an estimated 55,000 community footballers.
Clubs will receive support can use funding for matchday and training facility hire, first-aid training, and new equipment, whilst the scheme also subsidises matchday fees for members of their respective squads. The application window is open until 5pm on Thursday, 6 June of this year.
“It’s no secret that we are seeing adult male players move from regular 11-a-side football into other more casual formats of the game," said Paul Simpson, England Under-20s Head Coach. "One of the main reasons is clubs lacking money for things like match fees, facilities hire, new kit and equipment, which can lead to their teams folding.
“Last year’s roll-out of the scheme saw some really positive strides and I hope we’ll see men’s 11-a-side teams across the country receive a helping hand," he added.
With the FA having already made £1.5 million available for grassroots clubs looking to create new women and girls or disability football teams through their Grow the Game scheme, Stay in the Game - inclusive of players from different ethnic backgrounds, faiths, and sexual orientations - hopes to reverse the decline in adult male teams.
Grants are available to adult male teams in the under-18 to Under-21 category, open-age adult sides, and veterans’ teams, with grassroots clubs who meet the following criteria eligible to apply:
- Clubs that operate with two or more adult male teams – Under-18s, Under-19s, Under-21s, Under-23s, open age and vets.
- Clubs that hold the FA’s Charter Standard Award (Adult, Youth, Development or Community).
- Adult clubs that commit to becoming FA Adult Charter Standard within season 2019/20.
- Clubs that have the support of their County Football Association.
For more information on the programme, contact your local county FA or visit https://www.footballfoundation.org.uk/funding-schemes/stay-in-the-game/.