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Page last updated at 18:14 GMT, Tuesday, 19 January 2010

FA revives plans to build England base at Burton


National centre will improve English football - Brooking

Plans for a permanent training base for the England team have been revived by the Football Association.

The 330-acre National Football Centre in Burton-upon-Trent, Staffordshire, will be renamed St George's Park.

It will feature 12 pitches, including one synthetic and indoor, plus sports medicine and sports science facilities, two hotels and a conference centre.

England boss Fabio Capello said: "It will be an inspirational site for coaches and players to develop."

The scheme, which will fulfil a similar role to France's Clairefontaine and Coverciano in Italy, was first announced eight years ago.

Since then, the FA have sunk £25m into the project.

Capello added: "This is a much-needed facility and through my own experiences at Coverciano in Italy I understand the importance of the centre for England."

NFC chairman David Sheepshanks stated: "Our aim is to make St George's Park a sporting destination of choice for coaches, players, administrators and officials alike.

"In Wembley we have a world-class stadium and in St George's Park we have the place to inspire world-class performance."

The League Managers Association have committed to making the new centre their future headquarters.

The plans also include a private housing scheme for 30 homes near the entrance to the centre that will help plug a funding gap.

Sir Trevor Brooking, David Sheepshanks and Stuart Pearce
This cannot be a white elephant, and there is a robust business plan that makes this viable and sustainable

NFC chairman David Sheepshanks

Sheepshanks told a news conference in Burton: "We feel it is time the NFC had a new identity and we hope this name St George's Park will reflect the sense of national pride that will accompany the centre when it is open.

"Every single leading European country has a national football centre - even Bulgaria - and we are the only leading European country that does not.

"Every country that has won the World Cup has one apart from us."

Sheepshanks insisted, however, that the St George's Park development, which is being sponsored by Umbro, would not be a mere replica of other centres, and would not be a youth academy but would be a base for all England senior, junior and disability teams.

He added: "We are not here to replicate any one of the other centres, we have been to look at them and share best practices to pick up the best ideas to serve our needs.

"This is not a finishing school for young players, that role is carried out very well by the Premier League and Football League clubs.

"This is not an academy and is not in competition with our professional clubs."

There has been some opposition to the location of the centre so far from London but Sheepshanks said Burton was a central point for the whole country, and stressed that it would not be a financial burden on the FA.

"This cannot be a white elephant, and there is a robust business plan that makes this viable and sustainable," he added.

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see also
Burton receives fresh FA support
23 Oct 09 |  Football
FA board gives Burton green light
03 Jun 08 |  Internationals
Football centre scheme welcomed
07 May 08 |  Staffordshire
FA backs National Football Centre
21 Dec 07 |  Internationals
Burton 'vital to England success'
18 Dec 07 |  Football
The Burton blueprint - Wilko's vision
17 Dec 07 |  Football
FA unveils national centre
20 Nov 01 |  Football

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