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FA board gives Burton green light

Brian Barwick
FA boss Brian Barwick wants Burton up and running in two years

The Football Association's board has announced that the national football centre will be based in Burton-on-Trent in Staffordshire.

Planning permission and funding have yet to be secured for the project.

FA chief executive Brian Barwick said: "The (centre) is an extremely important part of our future and we can now press ahead with making it a reality.

"Now we must look to the finer detail and achieve a world-class facility to help our cause."

The FA has already invested 25m in the 350-acre site it purchased in 2001 and plans to have the centre in operation by 2010.

The centre will act as the focal point for the FA's coaching and player development work and has been hailed as the equivalent of French football's Clairefontaine or Italy's Coverciano.

It is essential to the long-term development of coaching and young players that we have a hub for all our activity, and the NFC will provide that

Sir Trevor Brooking
It will be used as a training base for England national and junior teams and will also house medical, exercise, science, coaching, video analysis and educational departments.

Sir Trevor Brooking, FA director of football development, said Burton was a key component of the "root and branch" changes he wanted to make to the way England produced footballers.

"It is essential to the long-term development of coaching and young players that we have a hub for all our activity, and the NFC will provide that," he said.

"Everyone recognises the significance of the facility across all levels of the game."

A series of delays, primarily caused by the governing body's Wembley-related financial problems, culminated in a decision to halt construction in 2004 - two years after the NFC was originally supposed to open - with only the basic infrastructure and pitches completed.

The project had been in limbo ever since, with some FA board members calling for the governing body to cut its losses and sell Burton.

Among the leading sceptics were Football League chairman Lord Mawhinney and Premier League chairman Sir David Richards, both advocates of smaller, regional bases that would support the work already done by the clubs' academies and centres of excellence.




see also
Burton 'vital to England success'
18 Dec 07 |  Football


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