Pompey backs Portsmouth bid for UK football status

POMPEY have thrown their weight behind a fresh bid to get Portsmouth recognised as the UK capital for football.

Friday, 21st October 2016, 6:07 am
Updated Tuesday, 25th October 2016, 8:56 pm
Pompey chief executive Mark Catlin

Pompey in the Community is launching a new 12-month campaign next month to increase the number of people taking up the sport and promoting its benefits.

It is hoped the drive – being led by community football project co-ordinator Tash Stephens – will lead to Portsmouth officially gaining a title for its football passion.

Pompey chief executive Mark Catlin said: ‘The club’s relationship with Pompey in the Community is very strong and we are very supportive of the work Tash has been leading on.

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‘As a football club, we are obviously concentrating on developing elite footballers, but we recognise that as the city’s professional club we are still part of a wider football family which spreads all the way to the grassroots.

‘Many of our supporters will already actively participate in football, but any initiative that can encourage those who haven’t or who have lapsed, such as older people, has to be welcomed.’

Pompey in the Community hopes to link up with the University of Portsmouth and hold events with its women’s football team, as well as work with other students and the student union. Other events could include glow-in-the-dark and underground football tournaments.

Sport England awarded the city cash to boost sport participation after it lost out to Nottingham in its bid in 2014 to become the first officially recognised UK City of Football.

Councillor Scott Harris, chairman of The City of Portsmouth Sports Council, said: ‘Right now, participation at a grass-roots level for adults is going down, so we’re at a crucial point where we need to continue encouraging children to participate in all sports. Portsmouth has to aspire to be one of the top cities for football.

‘We should be in the same league as Manchester and Liverpool, we are a unique place. We have a unique place in the footballing world thanks to the way our club is run.

‘This city lives and breathes its football club, and Pompey in the Community is doing a fantastic job at supporting that.’