FUNDED BY THE FA AND SPORT ENGLAND (USING NATIONAL LOTTERY FUNDING), RETURN TO FOOTBALL IS A £2.1M FUND PROVIDING GRANTS OF UP TO £2,500 TO HELP CLUBS AND ORGANISATIONS MOST IN NEED TO RESTART OR DELIVER NEW FOOTBALL ACTIVITY.
To make sure we support the people in the areas of the country where the need is greatest, the fund is available to all FA Women’s National League Clubs (Tiers 3-4 of the Women’s Football Pyramid), Disability Leagues and Professional Club Community Organisations.
It’s also open to both FA Charter Standard Clubs and not-for-profit community organisations delivering football activity in an area within Decile 1-3 of the Indices of Multiple Deprivation (IMD). See FAQs for further information on IMD.
To make things easier, we’ve created a handy eligibility checker which you can access by clicking the link above.
Who is eligible?
Clubs and organisations who provide football activity at a facility located within Decile 1-3 of the IMD – including:
- Charter Standard Community Clubs
- Charter Standard Youth Clubs
- Charter Standard Development Clubs
- Charter Standard Adult Clubs
- Not-for-profit community organisations (must be constituted and have a bank account) – for example:
- Faith groups
- Youth clubs
- Disability Leagues
- FA Women’s National League Clubs (Tiers 3-4 of the Women’s Football Pyramid)
- Professional Club Community Organisations
Who is not eligible?
- Clubs and organisations that provide football activity at a facility located within Decile 4-10 of the IMD
- Clubs and organisations that received Sport England Return to Play funding
- For-profit organisations
- Professional Clubs
- County FAs
- FA Women’s National League Clubs not in Tiers 3 or 4 of the Women’s Football Pyramid
- Education establishments
- Local Authorities
- Town and Parish Councils
- Leisure Trusts
We welcome applications from groups with a focus on disability, BAME, women’s or walking football.
About the Fund
What can the grant be spent on?
Your grant must be used towards either:
Returning to football
- Restarting football activity across all groups. We particularly welcome applications with a focus on disability, BAME, women’s or walking football groups that have lapsed due to lockdown and COVID-19
New football activity
- Delivering new football activity that was cancelled due to lockdown and COVID-19
Check out the tables below for a more detailed breakdown of what we will and won’t fund.
What we’ll fund
- Changes required to adhere to published Government and FA guidance
- Additional sports equipment to minimise sharing and safely deliver activities
- Providing safety and sanitation to keep equipment clean
- Staffing costs associated with helping activity providers to restart activity or provide new activity
- Extra facility hire costs to create more space for players and volunteers
- Coach education courses e.g. qualifying coaches for new teams
- Appropriate training of club volunteers to ensure they meet current guidelines
- Marketing and communication materials to promote and reinforce safety protocols to members
- Any other reasonable cost directly associated with restarting activity or providing new activity
What we won’t fund
- Projects not clearly related to coronavirus challenges
- Loss of income
- Facility Projects – e.g. construction/refurbishment
- Staffing costs not directly associated with helping activity providers to restart or provide new football activity
- Retrospective funding – we can’t fund projects that have incurred costs associated with the application before 2021.
- Projects not ready to begin within 3 months from Covid-19 restrictions being lifted (excluding Disability Leagues – see FAQs)
- Costs benefitting an individual (e.g. membership fees)
- Costs that aren’t a direct responsibility of the applicant to cover
- Commission or consultancy fees
- Pitch maintenance works
- Purchase of fuel
- Purchase of grounds maintenance machinery
- General costs associated with the day-to-day operations of the club that would ordinarily be incurred regardless of the impact of Covid-19 disruption.
How much can we apply for?
|Grant up to:|
|Professional Club Community Organisations||£2,500|
|FA Women’s National League Clubs (Tiers 3-4 of the Women’s Football Pyramid)||£2,000|
|Charter Standard Community Clubs||£2,000|
|Charter Standard Development Clubs||£1,000|
|Charter Standard Youth Clubs||£750|
|Charter Standard Adult Clubs||£500|
|Not-for-profit community groups||£500|
When do we have to use our funding by?
We know that you’re probably eager to return to football as soon as restrictions lift. Therefore, if you’re successful in your application we’d encourage you to use your funding within three months of the grant award. More details can be found in the FAQs.
How do we apply?
The Return to Football fund will open on Monday 8 March 2021 and close on Sunday 28 March 2021.
All funding decisions will be communicated to applicants no later than Friday 9 April 2021.
If you have any other questions, please refer to our FAQ section below.