Martin Glenn: Football a 'safe bet' for government

Saturday 15 Aug 2015
FA CEO Martin Glenn was speaking at the National Game Strategy launch
FA chief executive Martin Glenn believes football is a “safe bet” for the government to invest in, following the record investment pledged to the grassroots game.

The new National Game Strategy was announced on Wednesday, with The FA contributing £260m to improve facilities, coaching, participation and infrastructure for grassroots volunteers.

On top of that, further investment will be made to create new football hubs in 30 towns and cities across England with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport supporting that project with £8m per year over the next five years.

Martin Glenn

Martin Glenn was in Lancashire for the National Game Strategy launch earlier this week

And with the first pilot-scheme of what will be known as ‘Parklife’ already underway in Sheffield, Glenn is grateful for the backing from government.

"Football is a great bet for the government, as they are trying to encourage people to take part in sport and football is by far and away the biggest participation sport in England, and the easiest one to play," said Glenn, who was at the Strategy launch in Lancashire earlier this week.

"We’re investing over a quarter of a billion to start with and the Parklife project is on top of that, so we’re still feeling our way into that, in terms of what is the right approach.

"There are a few experiments going on at the moment and we can accelerate that going forward, so we are a good horse to back in that respect."

With the new facilities target and aims of getting more qualified coaches involved at grassroots level, it’s easy to forget the importance of those working hard behind the scenes.

But with one of the Strategy’s targets aiming to improve life for football’s workforce by making it more representative of society and by providing a technology infrastructure to make the work of some 400,000 volunteers easier, Glenn is keen to emphasise how vital that is.

"England has such a thriving football culture, not just from the teams we support, but there’s 400,000 people who administer the game, put the cones out, run the leagues and do all the things you need," he explained.

"It’s remarkable and I think it’s the fabric of society, as football is a great way of bringing people together and I think we do our bit.

"But we need to make it easier for people to play and organise the game, so they aren’t slavishly filling in forms or doing fines by post.

"Doing it electronically, and adapting the technology to football to make it easier and quicker is an obvious thing to do.

"There’s nothing more frustrating for volunteers than to see football matches cancelled, or be struggling to get players but the sort of things we’ve seen will make volunteers’ work a little bit easier and exciting."

By Nicholas Veevers Content Manager - FA Owned Channels