Nottingham named City of Football

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Nottingham has been chosen as City of Football to spearhead the revival of the game from the grassroots level.
The city has won the right to stage a two-year pilot project aimed at testing ways of getting more people playing football regularly.
The decision sees Nottingham named as Sport England’s City of Football, beating off competition from Manchester and Portsmouth, in the new funding initiative.
The Football Association had £1.6m of public funding for the amateur game cut by Sport England in March after failing to reverse a decline in participation – last year there were 1.84 million people playing football regularly, a fall of 100,000 since April 2013.
A statement from Sport England said Nottingham clinched their bid “by mobilising an impressive group of private, public and voluntary sector partners from both inside and outside the traditional football family, to do whatever it takes to get more people – particularly those aged 14-25 years – playing all kinds of football regularly.”
One key element is a digital platform – ‘Playbook’ – which will help people planning football activities in Nottingham being able to target a sector of the population with relevant offers.
Nigel Cooke, head of One Nottingham, said: “Over the next two years, we will create new football partnerships; develop new technologies; encourage more people to play, especially 14 to 25 year olds, women and girls and people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds; and share our learning so that the rest of England can benefit from our insight.”
Despite not having a presence in the top flight of the English game – former English and European champions Nottingham Forest are currently top of the Championship while Notts County are mid-table in League One – the city was rewarded for its efforts to get more people playing football.
Plans include a month-long Festival of Football, creating playing opportunities in more urban spaces and using social media to connect players.
“We will make it as easy as possible for people to get to their game,” Team Nottingham, who are working alongside clubs Forest and County, said.
“If football isn’t delivered to them in their community, then public transport will take them there at an affordable price. We’ll create freedom and flexibility for football players to enable them to play.
“We will spark an explosion of football participation.”

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