The Premier League has launched a new fund to help clubs in the National League System, Women’s Football Pyramid and Welsh Premier League prepare for the resumption of football and safe return of supporters to their stadiums.
The new Matchday Support Fund will help clubs to put measures in place that will make grounds safer for the 2020/21 season given the additional risks posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The grants will be managed by the Football Stadia Improvement Fund (FSIF), which is financed by the Premier League and supports non-league and Women’s Football Pyramid clubs with the cost of improvements to their grounds.
The application window is open to eligible National League System clubs in Steps 1-6, the Welsh Premier League and women’s clubs in Tiers 1-5. In total, 65 leagues and more than 1,100 clubs will be able to benefit from this financial support.
“As football matches across the country begin to resume, the safety of everyone remains of paramount importance. It is crucial that clubs are able to adapt their stadiums and grounds to allow games to be played and also for supporters to return to the stands. We are doing everything we can to get fans back into Premier League stadiums, but we also want to help clubs throughout the football pyramid to do the same,” said Richard Masters, Premier League chief executive.
“We hope this will help more than 1,000 men’s and women’s teams across different leagues get matchday ready and safely welcome fans back into their grounds, in line with government guidance.”
This announcement follows the recent provision of the Pitch and Club Preparation Funds, which saw £8.7m in grants from the Premier League, the FA and government’s Football Foundation awarded to prepare the country’s playing surfaces and facilities for the return of football. These latest Matchday Support grants will help clubs to make the necessary changes to satisfy the latest FA, Welsh FA and Government guidance, covering two key areas of the matchday experience: Stadium – grants can help clubs make the physical infrastructure changes required to reopen their stadia in line with the latest guidance. This includes conducting risk assessments and implementing measures, such as reducing capacity and creating capacity for socially distanced movement. Supporters – grants can also be used to help ensure supporters’ safe travel to and from stadia, as well as their attendance at the game, and the implementation of NHS Track and Trace measures.