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Football Foundation
Premier League and England young star becomes Football Foundation Ambassador

Premier League and England star Duncan Watmore becomes Football Foundation Ambassador

Date published: 02 December 2015

Press release

Duncan Watmore in FF t-shirt

Sunderland and England Under-21 star, Duncan Watmore, was today announced as an Ambassador for the Football Foundation – the charity that develops better grassroots sport facilities with money from the Premier League, The FA and the Government.

Duncan Watmore plays for Premier League side Sunderland AFC and made his debut for the club in 2014 at the young age of 19. The forward has recently put pen to paper on a new four year deal. Duncan has previously turned out for Altrincham and Hibernian, but has now broken through to regular first team action at Sunderland, where he is one of the Premier League’s most exciting young stars.

The forward has also represented England at both Under-20 and Under-21 level, whilst he is one of two players in the history of the Premier League to have a First-class honours degree. Watmore achieved the qualification in 2015, graduating from Newcastle University with a first in Economics and Business Management.

Duncan Watmore said: “I am delighted to become an Ambassador for the Football Foundation.

“It is so important that we improve the state of grassroots sport facilities across the country. It makes such a difference to kids, and frankly people of all ages, if they are playing their football on quality surfaces.

“The Foundation’s investment into increasing the capacity and quality of our sports infrastructure is giving more people the chance to play sport purely for the love of it.

“It is also essential for developing technical skills as a player. If we want to encourage the creation of more home-grown sportspeople, we need to develop the basic platform of proper public sports facilities as the starting point.

“In the Football Foundation, the Government and the football industry have created an incredible, business-like charity that is improving facilities at the grassroots right across the country. The Foundation also played a key part in the community sports hall at Altrincham FC who played a huge role in my development.

“It’s an incredible success story and I can’t wait to get started on playing my part in it!”

Rory Carroll, Head of Communications at the Football Foundation, said: “Given the scale of the task the country faces to provide towns and cities across the country with the community sports facilities that they deserve, we at the Foundation ensure that our investment goes into projects rather than expensive marketing campaigns.

“We are incredibly lucky to have a team of fantastic Ambassadors that help us get the message of how important grassroots facilities are, and how the Foundation’s investment is transforming the landscape of grassroots sport in this country.

“When Duncan agreed to become a Football Foundation Ambassador we were absolutely thrilled.

“He is literally one of the country’s brightest young stars – as his recent achievement of a first-class honours degree in Economics can testify!

“Duncan’s profile and support will be invaluable as we work hard to improve the experience for the millions of players, volunteers and coaches in grassroots football and other sports.”

Funded by the Premier League, The FA, and the Government (via Sport England), the Football Foundation is the country’s largest sports charity.  Since it was launched in 2000, the Foundation has awarded around 14,000 grants worth more than £540m towards improving grassroots sport, which it has used to attract additional partnership funding of over £777m – meaning it has delivered nearly £1.3bn of grassroots investment.


For more information contact Niall Malone on 0345 345 4555 Ext: 4275

Or niall.malone@footballfoundation.org.uk

Notes to editors

Biography of Duncan Watmore

Duncan Watmore was born in Manchester and began his career as a Manchester United youth player. Having left United, Watmore joined local side Altrincham and made his breakthrough with the side between 2012-2013, making 48 appearances, scoring 15 goals and picking up the 2012-2013 player of the year award.

Off the back of this impressive spell, Watmore was signed by Sunderland for an undisclosed fee. He went on to make his debut for the black cats in a 3-1 win against Carlise in the FA Cup at the young age of 19. Watmore soon left on loan to Scottish Premiership side Hibernian in January 2014 and scored one goal for Hibs during the remainder of that season.

Watmore spent the next season with Sunderland’s U21 side and was named Barclays Under 21 Premier League Player of the Season having scored 11 goals in 18 matches, despite missing three months of the season with a broken leg.

Watmore’s form was soon noticed by the national side and he was a key part of the England U20 side at the Toulon Tournament, where he picked a couple of goals and assist. On 15 August 2015 Watmore made his Premier League debut for Sunderland, and he marked the achievement with a consolation goal in a 1-3 defeat to Norwich City. He scored his second goal for the club ten days later in a 6-3 League Cup victory over Exeter City, and was also called up the England U21 side on the same day. He made his debut for the U21s against USA U23, setting up the winning goal.

Watmore became only the second player in the history of the Premier League to gain a First Class Honours degree when he graduated from Newcastle University with a degree in Economics and Business Management. On 22 November Watmore signed a long term deal with Sunderland until 2020.

About the Football Foundation

The Football Foundation was launched in 2000 by the Premier League, The FA and the Government in 2000 to improve grassroots facilities for the benefit of those who play football, and other sports, purely for the love of it.

By effectively targeting this investment into improving the country’s infrastructure, the Foundation increases participation by enabling more people of all ages and abilities to enjoy regular sport and all the benefits that brings.  By improving the quality and comfort of the sporting experience of playing at the grassroots, especially in deprived communities where sports facility provision and health inequalities are generally the worst, the Foundation regenerates the poorest areas and helps people combat obesity, mental illness and other factors.

A by-product of greater number of people playing sport, on proper playing surfaces also helps the development of home-grown talent, which the Foundation further supports by strengthening links between professional football clubs and their grassroots catchment areas. Visit the Foundation’s website for more information: www.footballfoundation.org.uk.

Click here to see a briefing of the full impact of the Football Foundation’s investment since 2000: http://www.footballfoundation.org.uk/news/archive/football-foundation-briefing-august-2015/

Since 2000 the Foundation has supported:

·      2,219 facility projects with grants worth £423,317,441

·      561 artificial grass pitches

·      2,769 grass pitches

·      917 changing facilities

·      88 multi-use games areas (MUGAs)

Impact of facilities funding from our latest Monitoring & Evaluation Report:

·      Football participation increased by an average of 7% at Foundation sites last season

·      Overall sports participation increased by 8%

·      23,586 volunteers gained qualifications at Foundation sites (e.g. FA Level 1/2, etc.)

Range of community programmes delivered by the Football Foundation

Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund

A three-year £102m commitment, the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund provides grants for building or refurbishing grassroots facilities, such as changing pavilions and playing surfaces for community benefit.  The Foundation delivers this using funding it receives from the Premier League, The FA and the Government through Sport England.

Grow the Game

The Grow the Game scheme, which the Football Foundation delivers with funding from the Premier League and The FA, increases participation by providing financial supporttowards the cost of creating new grassroots football teams.  Grow the Game focuses on increasing participation amongst under-represented groups that want to play but have fewer opportunities due to a lack of established clubs that they can join – namely: women and girls; disabled players; and the Under-15 age bracket and-above (to address the ‘drop-off’ in participation experienced as boys progress throughout their school career.)

Barclays Spaces for Sports

The Foundation also delivers the multi-award winning Barclays Spaces for Sports, the UK’s biggest ever sport CSR programme.  This £67m investment programme has seen over 200, fully sustainable, multi-sport sites developed in the most deprived communities right across the UK.

Mayor of London: Sports Facilities Fund

The Foundation delivers Mayor of London: Sports Facilities Fund on behalf of the Mayor of London Boris Johnson, his Commissioner for Sport, Kate Hoey MP, and the Greater London Authority.  The Foundation has delivered more than 100 multi-sport facilities across the capital, with every single London Borough benefiting.  14% of participants at facilities that Foundation directed the Mayor’s funding into were previously ‘inactive’, demonstrating how the Football Foundation’s effective targeting of investment into extra capacity is enabling more people to get regular exercise through sport.

Benefits to the UK Economy of Investment through the Football Foundation model

A report by the Centre for Economics and Business Research found that there was a £7.73 economic return, in terms of jobs and GDP, for every pound that was invested into grassroots facilities through the Football Foundation investment model.

New FF Ambassador Duncan Watmore in action playing for Sunderland
Football Foundation's 15-year Impact (Infographic)


“It is so important that we improve the state of grassroots sport facilities across the country. It makes such a difference to kids, and frankly people of all ages, if they are playing their football on quality surfaces.

Duncan Watmore, Sunderland AFC Striker and Football Foundation Ambassador

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