Nottingham honoured

Nottingham was on Tuesday named as Sport England‘s first-ever City of Football, narrowly beating Manchester and Portsmouth. Nottingham will receive £1.6 million to get more people in the city playing football regularly.

Competition for the prize was fierce, and the three candidate cities put in exceptionally strong bids, each rising to the challenge of making a compelling case to show how and why they were the best placed to encourage more people to play football more often. 

Nottingham clinched the title by mobilising the private, public and voluntary sectors to do whatever it takes to get more people – particularly those aged 14-25 years – playing all kinds of football regularly. 

Phil Smith, Sport England’s director of sport, said: “We’re delighted to name Nottingham as Sport England’s City of Football. Football is this country’s most popular team sport but there is still a real capacity to grow. 

Notts County

Notts County’s Meadow Lane ground

“Nottingham has an exciting and inventive response to the challenge of getting more people to play the game and we will look forward to working with them to make this happen.”

Kelly Simmons, the FA’s director of national game and women’s football, says: “Football is our national game and it is vitally important that we get as many people as possible playing across the country in a way that they want at times convenient to them. 

“Nottingham’s plans showed real strength in opening up opportunities for everyone in the city to get involved in the game, and we look forward to sharing our expertise, discovering new insights, and applying the findings of the pilot across England going forward.” 

The pilot is part of a wider programme of Sport England investment into existing activity to develop the grassroots game, including funding new facilities, running community programmes and working with partners such as the FA, Premier League and the Football Foundation.