Liverpool set for £17m grassroots football deal
Liverpool has been chosen as the recipient of the biggest investment into grassroots football after a £17m deal has been agreed.
The city council will contribute £4.4m while £12.6m will come from the FA, Premier League and Sport England.
Four "hubs" will be formed on current pitches to reduce a reliance on council subsidies, an authority spokesman said.
The FA has said it will invest a record £260m into grassroots football by 2019.
The leader of the Liverpool council's Liberal Democrat opposition Richard Kemp, however, has warned the deal could cause "major problems".
He said local residents had not been consulted by the FA and Liverpool City Council, and "practicalities had not been worked through" including the presence of floodlights near local residences.
He also questioned whether the council should be contributing funds when it was struggling to maintain parks due to funding cuts, and when the FA was "one of the richest sports organisations in the world".
A council spokesman said members of the public would be consulted after planning applications would be submitted in the "next few months".
City mayor Joe Anderson said it was a "real coup" for the city as the council had "far less money than we used to".
Where will the grassroots football hubs be?
The sites in the first phase of the programme include:
- Jeffrey Humble Playing Field in Fazakerley
- Heron Eccles Playing Field in Allerton
- Jericho Lane Playing Field in Otterspool
- Simpson Road in Woolton
A city council spokesman said discussions were being held with Merseyside Youth Association, who have run three of the sites for nearly 100 years, to restructure their leases.
FA chief executive, Martin Glenn, said the FA aimed to set up football hubs in 30 cities in the next four years to support its youth development.
Sheffield was chosen for the country's first FA-funded grassroots football "hubs" in 2014, when a £9.6m fund was pledged.