Tories pledge £550m for grassroots football and 2030 World Cup bid
The Conservative party has promised to invest £550m in grassroots football, as part of plans to a joint UK-Ireland bid to host the 2030 World Cup.
Boris Johnson said the investment would “transform lives with a legacy to match the 2012 Olympics”.
However, Labour said the funding boost would not make up for “years of brutal cuts” to sports facilities.
At present the Football Foundation, a partnership between government, the FA and the Premier League, is promising to improve 20,000 grass pitches in England or build new Astroturf versions.
The Conservative pledge would see government spending on grassroots football rise from £180m to £730m over the next decade.
The FA has previously said that just a third of English community pitches were of adequate quality, with one-in-six matches called off due to poor conditions.
Shadow culture secretary Tom Watson told the BBC: “This Tory pledge won’t undo the years of damage done to grassroots sports facilities by a decade of austerity.
“A last-minute election pledge can’t make up for years of brutal cuts.”
Labour has previously voiced support for a joint England-Ireland 2030 World Cup bid.
Meanwhile the Lib Dems have announced a policy of reintroducing standing at bigger football league games.
The practice has been banned since the 1989 Hillsborough disaster, which led to the deaths of 96 fans.
However, the party said the practice works safely in Europe and would lead to more choice and cheaper tickets for fans.