A new design by leading pub company and brewer, Greene King, has today revealed what Wembley stadium would look like if it received the same level of funding as a grassroots football pitch.
The graphic, which depicts the pitch and stadium in total disarray, was created to accompany a new report from Greene King’s Proud to Pitch in scheme, which revealed that grassroots football clubs are at risk of losing talent due to poorly maintained pitches.
In many cases for local sports clubs, grass is either overgrown or completely missing, which not only makes gameplay more difficult, but also increases the risk of injury.
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According to the report, two in five amateur football players (40 per cent) are obtaining injuries from playing on poorly maintained pitches. For more than three in five (64 per cent) 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.
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.
Robbie Savage, Proud to Pitch In ambassador, said: “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.”
When asked who they held responsible for injuries sustained on poorly maintained pitches, more than two in five (41 per cent) blamed local councils, while over two thirds (36%) blamed politicians. A further 35 per cent blamed other players, while a third (33 per cent) blamed the FA (Football Association).
Of the respondents surveyed, one in five (21 per cent) players are already involved in proactively raising funds to improve the quality of their local pitch. A further 46 per cent said that they would like to be involved in fundraising efforts in the future.
Will Hemmings, Greene King Brewing & Brands marketing director said: “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).
If you are a local sports club and would like to find out more about funding, visit the Greene King website https://www.greeneking-pubs.co.uk/proud-to-pitch-in website.
It’s quick and easy to apply or nominate a club you think would benefit.