Sport England has announced it will provide a £5m flood relief to grassroots sports facilities damaged by the recent bad weather.
The country has endured the wettest winter since records began in 1910 and the grassroots game bore the brunt of the disruption with numerous postponements, travel disruptions and training sessions cancelled.
Reacting to the news, The FA’s Director of National Game and Women’s Football Kelly Simmons welcomed the much needed helping hand.
She said: "For many sports clubs, including football clubs, the floods have been devastating.
“In areas such as Somerset we've seen almost entire seasons wiped out. Ensuring that clubs have access to facilities to fulfill fixtures is a primary concern of local leagues at a time like this.”
The money will be supplied by National Lottery funding and will be made available to sports clubs, local authorities and other community organisations for emergency repairs to damaged facilities – and Simmons that the funds will be put to good use in helping the grassroots clubs get back on their feet.
“The changing weather patterns we have seen in recent years have started to have a significant effect on the grassroots game – especially in relation to the on-going management and maintenance of natural grass pitches,” she added.
“We welcome this new fund and will endeavour to work closely with Sport England to ensure that help is directed towards those parts of the country where need is greatest."
Early indicators suggest that the biggest impact of the bad weather has been on sports such as hockey, rugby and football because of flooded and waterlogged pitches, and water sports where many clubs are on riverbanks or in coastal areas.
Jennie Price, Chief Executive of Sport England, added: “The storms and floods have devastated many sports facilities across England.
“We want to play our part in helping communities get back to normal, and we will consult both locally and with the affected sports about the best way to achieve that.”
Clubs, charities and similar organisations that will need help in restoring facilities are being encouraged to contact Sport England at www.sportengland.org/floodfund to register their interest.