PORTSMOUTH has been shortlisted to become the nation’s first ‘city of football.’
If the city is successful, then it will be given £1.6m worth of lottery funding to help find ways of getting local people to play the sport more regularly.
Portsmouth is up against Nottingham and Manchester, and each fended off competition from 22 others in their efforts to clinch the title.
Over the summer, the shortlistees will develop proposals for how they intend to get people to play football on a more regular basis.
Sport England will then pay each one a visit and work to develop their plans.
Phil Smith, Sport England’s Director of Sport, says: ‘Football is our national game and we want everyone who wants to play to be able to.
‘Yet despite demand for the game, the number of over 16s playing regularly is falling.’
Figures show the number of over 16s playing football fell from 2.2m in June 2012 to 1.8m in December 2013, and it’s because of that drop that Sport England has launched the initiative.