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Page last updated at 21:30 GMT, Monday, 17 May 2010 22:30 UK

FA National Football Centre at Burton gets go-ahead

David Sheepshanks
Sheepshanks, former Ipswich Town chairman, in chair of the NFC board

A £100m National Football Centre has moved a step closer after the Football Association's plans for a facility at Burton were given planning permission.

East Staffordshire Council also voted to go ahead with a housing development that will also be based at the site.

The much-delayed project, first put forward in February 2001, is intended to provide world-class coaching and training facilities for England teams.

The FA hopes the centre, named St George's Park, will open in mid-2012.

The centre has been characterised as an English version of the Clairefontaine academy which produced France internationals such as William Gallas and Thierry Henry.

Despite some concerns from residents over an increase in traffic to the site, the council unanimously approved the plans.


"The planning permission enables us to move towards crystallising the tendering and funding arrangements for this enormously important education hub for football," said David Sheepshanks, joint acting chairman of the FA.

The approval comes as much-needed good news for the FA after the resignation of chairman Lord Triesman on Sunday.

Triesman, who was also head of England's 2018 World Cup bid, is alleged to have suggested Spain could drop its attempt to win the right to host the tournament if rival bidder Russia helped bribe referees at this summer's World Cup.

The National Footbal Centre site in Burton
Plans for the Burton centre were first unveiled in 2001

England manager Fabio Capello, who saw a similar set-up in his native Italy, has given it his backing.

"The venue will be an inspirational site, a place for coaches and players to work, learn and develop," Capello commented.

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

Since its inception, the centre has been undermined by funding doubts as the cost of the new Wembley Stadium spiralled.

A network of regional academies was raised as a possible alternative, along with scrapping the concept altogether, before it was finally approved by the FA in December 2007.

It was only in June 2008 that the FA confirmed it would definitely locate the centre in Burton.

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see also
Fifa urges rapid Triesman review
18 May 10 |  Football
Burton receives fresh FA support
23 Oct 09 |  Football
Burton academy on track, says FA
09 Oct 09 |  Football
England 'must improve 2018 bid'
07 Oct 09 |  Football
Triesman calls for World Cup bid support
18 May 09 |  Internationals
2018 bid chief calls for humility
18 May 09 |  Football
Setanta goes into administration
23 Jun 09 |  Business
FA's Triesman urges broad reforms
07 Oct 08 |  Economy
FA board gives Burton green light
03 Jun 08 |  Internationals
FA backs National Football Centre
21 Dec 07 |  Internationals
Burton 'vital to England success'
18 Dec 07 |  Football
FA reviews academy plan
20 Nov 02 |  Football
FA unveil academy plans
15 Feb 01 |  Football
Football on the BBC
11 Aug 10 |  Football

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