Cirencester Town will be playing on an artificial pitch in the EVO-STIK League Southern next season thanks to the Football Foundation.
Centurions chairman and long-time benefactor Steve Abbley hailed the Football Association and its funding body in statement on Wednesday confirming they’d be picking up 70 percent of the costs on installing a new state-of-the-art 3G surface.
Work on replacing their old grass pitch and its pronounced slope at the Corinium Stadium will start in the first week of May, just over a week after their final home game of the season in the EVO-STIK League Southern’s top flight against Kings Langley on April 22.
The project is expected to take eight to 10 weeks and be ready for the new season in early August after TigerTurf UK and their partners McCardle Sport Tec were chosen to install the latest upgraded version of their FIFA standard 3G playing surface as a flagship FA project for the region.
It is estimated that the additional revenue from an artificial pitch, based on 40 hours use per week, can be worth around £165,000 a year and a delighted Abbley believes it will transform the club’s fortunes.
He told the wiltsglosstandard.co.uk: “It is wonderful news that the FA has chosen to invest so much money in Cirencester. It not only sustains the future of Cirencester Town FC but it is a huge feather in the cap for the town because they will have something that is not available in Swindon, Gloucester and Cheltenham.
“Because this is a project that the FA are particularly keen on – in an area where they have identified a real need – they are putting up 70 per cent rather than the usual 50 per cent of the estimated cost of a little more than £500,000.
“We and our partners have to make up the difference. As this will be a community facility and available to all, we hope to have the District Council and Cirencester Town Council on board and all our funding partners need to be in place by the end of this month.
“We are also in negotiation with a waste management group who provide grants for sport projects. If we have to take out a small loan to make up any shortfall we will.”