Saturday 7 December 2019 10:24 am

General election 2019: Conservatives pledge £550m for grassroots football

The Conservative Party has pledged to invest £550m in grassroots football as part of a plan to back a joint bid with Ireland to host the 2030 World Cup.

Boris Johnson said the boost to existing funding plans for amateur football would “transform lives with a legacy to match the 2012 Olympics”.

The Tories are promising to improve 20,000 grass pitches in England or build new Astroturf versions.

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The pledge would see the current funding commitment to the project rise from £180m to £730m over 10 years.

Private partners are expected to fund the remaining investment which could total £2bn.

Currently just one in three community pitches are of adequate quality, according to the Football Association.

The Tories said every funding bid would be assessed and would net to provide equal playing opportunities.

While the party has also said it wants all major new sports facilities to be able to host multiple sporting activities.

Labour has also supported a bid for the 2030 World Cup but said the Tories investment could not “undo years of damage” cause by cuts.

Shadow culture secretary, Tom Watson, said: “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.”