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Steel City clubs join forces to develop grass roots

Sheffield & Hallamshire FA, Sheffield City Council and Sheffield's two professional football clubs combined forces at the Steel City Derby to help develop grassroots football in the city.

Following the successful bid to become a Candidate Host City if England were chosen to host the 2018 World Cup, the County FA, City Council, Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield United have agreed to work together in a co-ordinated and strategic way - so that grass roots football can be developed by getting more people involved as well as football being used to help address key issues in the City such as health, education and social cohesion.

The four organisations are forming the “City Football Alliance”, which will be chaired by the Sheffield & Hallamshire FA and will formalise a relationship that will see the main deliverers of football working together strategically across the city.

James Hope-Gill, chief executive of Sheffield & Hallamshire FA, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for the whole of the game to benefit as we work together both to develop the game as well as using the power of football to make a difference in the community.

'Brings communities together'

"Football is not only a great game to play and to watch, it can also be a force for good which brings communities together, improves health, provides coaching and volunteering opportunities for local people and provides positive activities for our young people.

"The new City Football Alliance is a great opportunity to bring together the main parties involved in football to help maximise the benefits of the game for boys and girls and for adults of all ages.”

Consultation has already taken place with various agencies across the city and has shown that football can make a positive contribution to key aims of organisations such as the police, primary health trusts and schools.

Both professional football clubs in the city do a tremendous amount of work in the community and the City Football Alliance will allow this work to be more strategic for the city as better coordination of the work takes place meaning that resources can be better used as any duplication of work will be avoided.

'Ideal opportunity'

Dave McCarthy, managing director of Sheffield United said: “This is an ideal opportunity to develop some of the work which has already been going on in the city.

"We have already worked alongside Activity Sheffield on some of our social inclusion work and as clubs we have always tried to ensure that we work in different schools and different areas. At a time when funding is tight working strategically within the city with partners seems the right approach.”

Sheffield Wednesday chairman Milan Mandaric added: “The City Football Alliance brings together the whole of football in our city, from professional to grassroots level, and has the full support of Sheffield Wednesday.”

Paul Billington, director of culture at Sheffield City Council said: “Sheffield City Council fully supports the aims of the City Football Alliance group to ensure high quality football provision across the city.

"The Council's Activity Sheffield Team is working closely with Sheffield and Hallamshire FA and the two professional football clubs to improve and increase football opportunities for local people, especially young people."

Photo (from left to right): Dave McCarthy, Managing Director, Sheffield United; James Hope-Gill, Chief Executive, Sheffield & Hallamshire FA; Paul Billington, Director of Culture, Sheffield City Council; and Andy Daykin, Commercial Director, Sheffield Wednesday.

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