A £15,000 grant from the Premier League will be put to use by Maidstone United to prepare for the resumption of football and the safe return of supporters to the Gallagher Stadium. The new Matchday Support Fund, which is being managed by the Football Stadia Improvement Fund (FSIF), was launched earlier this month to help clubs to put measures in place that will make grounds safer for the 2020/21 season, given the additional risks posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ahead of the club’s new league campaign, which is due to start on Tuesday 6 October, Maidstone United has worked with sponsors Manchett Facilities and a team of volunteers to carry out a number of tasks, including a deep clean and redecoration of the changing rooms and a thorough clean of the stadium and its facilities.
The Premier League funding has also gone towards 20 new hand sanitiser stations, COVID signage around the stadium, an enhanced e-ticket system, additional stewarding costs and the implementation of social distancing measures.
“Our thanks to the Premier League for the grant, which we are putting to good use to make sure we’ve got everything in place to welcome back our supporters next month,” said Club chief executive Bill Williams. “It’s good to see football coming together at this time. From the Premier League to the grassroots game, we’ve all got our challenges in the weeks and months ahead but the more we can support each other, the better chance we have of keeping the sport we love in a decent shape.
“We’ve been very fortunate to have the expertise of our friends at Manchett Facilities who’ve done, and continue to do, a fantastic job for us, as well as a willing band of volunteers who’ve done everything from cleaning every seat in the main stand to putting up new hand sanitiser stations,” he continued. “I thank every one of them.”
Premier League chief executive Richard Masters added: “As football matches across the country begin to resume, the safety of everyone remains of paramount importance. I’m pleased that, beyond our existing support to the wider game, the Premier League is able to offer this additional funding via our Football Stadia Improvement Fund. We hope this will help more than 1,000 men’s and women’s teams across different leagues get matchday-ready and safely welcome fans back into their grounds, in line with Government guidance.” This funding follows the recent Pitch Preparation Fund and the Club Preparation Fund, where £8.7million in grants from the Premier League, the FA and Government’s Football Foundation was awarded to prepare the country’s playing surfaces and facilities for the return of football.