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How Wembley stadium would look if it had the same level of funding as a grassroots sports pitch…

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How Wembley stadium would look if it had the same level of funding as a grassroots sports pitch…

A new interactive graphic shows what Wembley Stadium would look like if it received the same funding as a grassroots pitch.

A report by leading pub company and brewer, Greene King, has revealed that grassroots football clubs are at risk of losing talent due to poorly maintained pitches.

Robbie Savage, Proud to Pitch In ambassador:

“The standard of pitches is one of the biggest barriers to football’s growth. So many grassroots pitches have faded or have non-existent markings, overgrown grass, or even completely waterlogged pitches – making gameplay impossible.

“Local sports clubs are the best places to nurture and spot future talent, and they can’t be expected to flourish on such difficult playing surfaces. Clubs and leagues at a community level are struggling financially, and the Proud to Pitch In initiative is a much-needed boost.”

In many cases for local sports clubs, the grass is either overgrown or completely missing, which not only makes gameplay more difficult but also increases the risk of injury. The study commissioned to support the Greene King IPA Proud to Pitch In funding scheme, revealed that two in five amateur football players (40%) are obtaining injuries from playing on poorly maintained pitches. For more than three in five (64%) of those, the injury was so severe that it stopped them from playing football in the future.

Amateur footballers are frustrated with the lack of funding to make improvements, with 29% of respondents citing this as the single biggest barrier to grassroots football.

To highlight how widespread the issue is and how a lack of funding damages grassroots football, Greene King has produced an interactive graphic showing what Wembley Stadium would look like if it was given the same level of funding as an amateur football pitch.

The Proud to Pitch In scheme sees Greene King pay cash grants to grassroots and community sports clubs across the UK. Having already pledged £100,00 of funding, Greene King enables beneficiaries of the scheme to receive a grant of up to £3,000.

What’s more, through donating 10p from every pint of Greene King IPA sold in participating pubs and 50p from every pack of 4x500ml cans, Greene King is hoping to donate £500k by the end of the year providing further funds for the scheme.

To support the initiative, Greene King IPA has partnered with former Premier League midfielder Robbie Savage, who joins as Proud to Pitch In’s second ambassador. In his footballing career, Savage played for the likes of Leicester City, while regularly playing in the Welsh national team.

When asked who they held responsible for injuries sustained on poorly maintained pitches, more than two in five (41%) blamed local councils, while over two thirds (36%) blamed politicians. A further 35% blamed other players, while a third (33%) blamed the FA (Football Association). Of the respondents surveyed, one in five (21%) players are already involved in proactively raising funds to improve the quality of their local pitch. A further 46% said that they would like to be involved in fundraising efforts in the future.

Will Hemmings, Greene King Brewing & Brands marketing director:

“Here at Greene King, we know that local sports teams are at the very heart of our communities. While more funding is needed nationally, we’re committed to giving a helping hand so sports teams can continue the fantastic work they do. To date, we’ve already helped 37 clubs with funding, and we encourage others to take advantage of this opportunity and apply for the funding.”

To support Proud To Pitch In, simply head to one of the participating sites, a full list of which can be found here, and grab yourself a pint of Greene King IPA (also available in most major supermarkets).

 

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