Benefits of grass-roots game
The push for better-quality grassroots pitches has been boosted by a groundbreaking Football Association survey that outlines the vast social and economic benefits of the game, especially in improving women’s confidence.
The Daily Telegraph launched its “Save Our Game: The Fight For The Grass Roots” manifesto last year following the collapse of the proposed Wembley Stadium sale and FA figures showing that one in three grass-roots pitches were considered inadequate.
But a new FA survey of around 9,000 amateur players has shown the huge importance of grass-roots football. It measured not just the direct spend of more than £2billion on amateur football, but also calculated the wider impact on social wellbeing. Using what is called the “Wellbeing Valuation”, which is measured as the equivalent income a person would need to make up for the wellbeing they gain from playing regular football, the FA valued the additional social benefit at a further £8.7 billion.
The amateur players reported significantly higher happiness, health, confidence and trust compared not just to the general population but also a range of other sports. More than eight million adults play football in England and, with each spending on average £326 a year on their hobby, the amateur game is worth more than £400 million in tax contributions.