The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge officially opened St. George’s Park today.
Football Association Chairman David Bernstein, St. George’s Park Chairman David Sheepshanks and Managing Director Julie Harrington gave the Royal Party a tour of the new national football centre.
Set in 330 acres of Staffordshire countryside, it will become a sporting destination of choice for coaches, players, administrators and officials alike from English football.
Costing £105m and home to 24 representative England teams, St. George’s Park is a genuine haven of learning, training and self-improvement. It is the practical and spiritual home of FA Learning, the educational arm of The FA.
Featuring a Hilton and Hampton by Hilton Hotel, a full size replica Wembley pitch and indoor 3G pitch, St. George’s Park is also headquarters to the League Managers’ Association.
It will benefit the component parts of English football, from basic educational needs through to the elite game. It will offer an inspirational and inclusive learning environment.
Football teams of all levels will also be able to use the facilities at St. George’s Park including the 12 outdoor pitches, the multi-sport indoor facility, and the state-of-the-art sports medicine, rehabilitation and performance training centre.
The Duke and Duchess met England Manager Roy Hodgson, England Women’s National Coach Hope Powell and England captains Steven Gerrard and Casey Stoney.
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Maria Miller was also in attendance and said: “The opening of St. George’s Park is a landmark moment for football in this country, which will help strengthen our national game at all levels.
“This summer has shown the importance that sport has at the heart of the British nation. It is through projects and investments such as St. George's Park that the next generation of coaches can be identified and nurtured, helping to develop the England stars of the future.
“Good coaching is vital for a sport to grow, and I am very pleased that the Government has been able to invest £6m to help open up these fantastic facilities for local communities and schools.”
Sport England Chair, Richard Lewis, added: “The development of St. George’s Park represents a new chapter for football in this country, bringing elite and community football together in one place.
“With £3m of National Lottery funding from Sport England, this facility will play a vital role in developing coaches across a range of sports as a national centre for coach education and will further provide new facilities for local sports clubs to access.”
Sheepshanks added: “St. George’s Park is a great demonstration of community collaboration, both in the local area and across the football landscape.
“Leagues, clubs, players and coaches from all four corners of England have given us words of praise and encouragement.
“Rarely has a building given the English national game so much hope for the future, for a future of unity across the game, building for a better England, more English coaches and more and better English players at every level.
“This has been a true team effort, and I would like to place on record my sincere and heartfelt thanks for all of the hard work and energy that has gone in to making yesterday's dreams today's reality.”
The Duke of Cambridge has been President of The Football Association since 2006.
Watch the videos from the opening day of St. George's Park in the Media Gallery above.