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England's Hart gives grassroots support

England and Manchester City FC goalkeeper Joe Hart gave his backing to nurturing the grassroots game as he opened a new facility partly funded by the English FA.

Joe Hart with children from grassroots club Urmston Meadowside FC
Joe Hart with children from grassroots club Urmston Meadowside FC ©FA

England goalkeeper Joe Hart has pledged his support for grassroots football with the Manchester City FC player opening a new state-of-the-art facility at grassroots club Urmston Meadowside FC last week.

Speaking at the inauguration of the Manchester team's new club house, Hart said: "Grassroots football is where we all start out, including me, so it is important that this investment goes into community sports sites like this one. And of course there are lots of wider benefits sport has for young people and society."

England's largest sports charity, the Football Foundation, which is funded by the Premier League, the English Football Association (FA) and the British government, provided a grant of over €600,000 for the new sports pavilion, which comprises six accessible changing rooms, officials' changing rooms, and a community room that will be used for club meetings, coach education, school functions and local community groups.

"The Football Foundation and the Manchester FA are doing a fantastic job, with the funding they get from the FA, Premier League and government, to raise the standard of facilities throughout the grassroots game. Long may it continue," added Hart.

Meanwhile, Manchester FA chief executive Colin Bridgford said: "I am delighted to see continued investment and partnership work to assist local clubs in providing the very best facilities and environment for participants in grassroots football across Manchester.

"We have worked closely with our partners at the Football Foundation over many years. This has seen £12m being provided to improve grassroots facilities across Manchester, and this is also at the heart of the FA's key priorities for the National Game Strategy."