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Funds available for Island clubs to maintain pitches

Football | Published:

JERSEY football clubs are being urged to apply for grants from the Football Foundation’s new multi-million-pound ‘Pitch Preparation Fund’.

Dark clouds have been gathering over football pitches after an extremely wet winter was followed by the coronavirus, restricting maintenance opportunities Picture: Adrian Miller

The sport is currently facing unprecedented challenges as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak and the fund provides almost £10 million of support across the country – and the Channel Islands. Those struggling to maintain their pitches could be eligible for thousands of pounds each for projects such as weed-killing, aeration, line-marking, turfing and more.

The move will help to get clubs in a position to start playing football again when it is safe to do so, following government advice.

David Kennedy, the new Jersey FA chief executive said: ‘This is an excellent opportunity for local clubs with their own pitches.

‘We don’t yet know when competitive sport will be able to return in the Island, but when that comes it’s important that football is ready. This funding through the Football Foundation will mean clubs can get their maintenance work done to prepare for when it’s safe to resume.

‘There’s a two week period for applications, so we’d encourage club committees to promptly consider what they can best use the funding for, and then apply before the deadline on 25 May.’

A total of £9.56 million has been allocated to the fund, which is open to football clubs and voluntary organisations that maintain their own natural grass pitches and have at least 12 months’ security of tenure.

Robert Sullivan of the Football Foundation said: ‘This fund reflects the determination of the Premier League, The FA and government to work together to make funding available to help get pitches match-ready for when restrictions are lifted.

‘The Football Foundation will work with eligible clubs and community organisations across the country to ensure they get what they need. We are here to help, so please apply via footballfoundation.org.uk before the deadline of 25 May.”

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Jersey FA pitch advisor, Steve Landick, added: ‘Most of the football pitches in the Island are on sandy loam soils which should drain freely. Surface compaction is the main problem with pitches in Jersey. Clubs do not carry out an aeration programme in-season which would help drainage and keep pitches playable.

‘End-of-season renovation is a crucial time of the year to invest in local playing surfaces and training areas, so they can recover over the summer months. Clubs should also be looking to treat the weeds during the summer as a fully-grass pitch will wear much better once the season starts than one with a high percentage of weed. Each club pitch would require different operations and task priorities to get best value but these operations are all covered in the grant application.’

The application window to be found on footballfoundation.org.uk will be open between Thursday 7 May and 9pm on Monday 25 May.

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