Corbyn launches 'flexible football ticket' policy to help make sport 'for the many, not the few'

abour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn with children during a visit to Hackney Marshes Football Pitches, to highlight Labour's manifesto commitment to ensure 5% of the Premier League's television rights income is diverted to the grassroots game, during a General Election campaign. Picture by John Stillwell/PA Wire
abour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn with children during a visit to Hackney Marshes Football Pitches, to highlight Labour's manifesto commitment to ensure 5% of the Premier League's television rights income is diverted to the grassroots game, during a General Election campaign. Picture by John Stillwell/PA Wire

Jeremy Corbyn will use FA Cup final day to commit to developing a "flexible football ticket" to help fans travel to matches which are moved for television coverage with minimum disruption.

A Labour government will work with train operators, broadcasters and football clubs to stop fans being left with worthless train tickets and having to buy new ones when games are re-arranged at short notice, he will say.

Mr Corbyn will also use cup final day, "the greatest day of the football season", to highlight Labour's manifesto commitment to ensuring 5% of the Premier League's domestic and international television rights income is diverted to the grassroots game.

On a visit to Hackney Marshes football pitches, the Arsenal fan will pledge to make football "a game for the many, not the few" - before travelling to Wembley to watch his team take on Chelsea on Saturday afternoon.

"The FA Cup final marks the greatest day of the football season," he will say.

"Millions of football fans across the country, including myself, are eagerly awaiting kick-off this evening at Wembley.

"Despite the game we all love receiving lucrative domestic and international TV deals, the grassroots game has been shamefully starved of funding over recent years.

"Too often, youth football teams cannot find pitches to play on and when they do they are expensive and the facilities are not fit for purpose.

"All-weather pitches are like gold-dust and coaching badges can cost unaffordable amounts.

"Under these circumstances, it is no surprise we are not nurturing the talent that we all know exists within the beautiful game.

"To address this lack of funding and lack of facilities, Labour in government will ensure that 5% of domestic and international TV rights money is diverted to the grassroots game.

"This will ensure the footballing talent of young girls and boys is harnessed, and football is a game for the many, not the few."

Shadow sports minister Rosena Allin-Khan will say: "Football is our national game, it brings people together from all ages and all walks of life.

"We have one of the most commercially successful leagues in the world, but all too often pitches and grassroots community facilities are run down and in a state of disrepair.

"Without supporters, amateurs and young players, football would be barren.

"As broadcast revenues and the popularity of our leagues increase, so should the support that goes back into the grassroots game.

"We have to make sure we can develop future British playing and coaching talent, in order to make sure our leagues stay competitive for years to come."

A Premier League spokesman said: "The scale of Premier League support and investment in the wider game, and in communities and schools, is unprecedented in professional sport. The financial value of this investment has been, and continues to be, greater than 5% of the League's turnover each season.

"Along with our clubs we provide a range of support for the development of football outside the Premier League, including solidarity payments, youth development grants, and community funding for all EFL (Football League) and National League clubs.

"The League and its clubs fund community facilities across England and Wales, operate national and local sports participation projects, and have recently launched Premier League Primary Stars - a programme that will see the League support 10,000 primary schools across the country by 2019.

"In addition to our support for the development of English and Welsh football, and for communities and schools, Premier League clubs last year committed to paying all permanent staff the living wage and are currently engaged in a major programme of improvements for disabled fans."