Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club were presented with a £2m cheque from The Football Stadia Improvement Fund during half-time of the Seagulls Npower Championship clash with Coventry on Saturday.
The Football Stadia Improvement Fund (FSIF), supporters of the Football Foundation, awarded the grant towards the development of the club’s new home: the American Express Community Stadium in Falmer.
The FSIF is funded by the Premier League with an annual budget of £6m. It provides grants which help fund improvements at lower league football grounds in both the professional and amateur game. These improvements range from new football stands and turnstiles to floodlighting and improved provision for disabled supporters.
The Seagulls have been without a permanent home since leaving the Goldstone Ground in 1997. They spent two seasons ground-sharing with Gillingham before returning to Sussex to play at the Withdean Stadium in 1999, where they have remained since. The new 22,500 all-seater hosted its first match earlier this year.
Richard Scudamore, Chief Executive of the Premier League, said: “The Premier League funded FSIF makes a vital contribution towards the development of lower league football clubs. The fans of Brighton & Hove Albion have had a long, and at times painful, journey to the American Express Community Stadium, but we hope it provides them with some exciting and stable times. Through the FSIF we are looking forward to helping many more clubs who are rising up the pyramid meet the demands of providing modern and comfortable stadiums.”
Gary Hoffman, Chairman of the Football Foundation, said: “Supporters are the lifeblood of the game. They generate an atmosphere at matches that is an essential component of what makes football so exciting and widely loved. They also make a significant contribution to their club’s existence financially.
“I am sure that many home and away fans will enjoy watching the national game being played at the American Express Community Stadium for many years to come.”