AT LEAST four new artificial football pitches, including a new full-size floodlit pitch at Perdiswell, need to be built and a raft of playing fields need improving to support the city’s football teams, the Football Association (FA) has said.

A draft plan by the FA said Worcester needs five full-size 3G pitches, including the soon-to-be-built facility at Claines Lane and the existing pitch at the University of Worcester which needs to be resurfaced urgently, to cover the demand of 178 or more teams registered across the city.

The tailor-made document for Worcester shows a need for the full-size 3G football pitches, 28 improved grass pitches, two new changing room, pavilion or clubhouse facilities and six small-sided pitches – which includes five, six or seven-a-side pitches.

Top of a list for potential improvements that could receive FA or government funding in the future, and the main priority for the city, would be a new full-size floodlit pitch and indoor futsal facility at council owned ‘key site’ Perdiswell. 

It is a location Worcester City Football Club had earmarked for a homecoming, recently admitting defeat and accepting an 'in-principle' arrangement to play from Claines Lane after years of battling objections over Perdiswell from Worcester City Council.

City chairman Steve Goode said he had not been aware of the FA proposals and declined to comment further before discussing with fellow directors and Worcester City Supporters' Trust, the majority shareholder in the club.

Whilst the top-rated Perdiswell improvements score highly on the draft list against the FA’s criteria for need and whether it could be built, it does not mean funding would be granted immediately and applications would still have to be made.

The FA, along with the Premier League, Sport England and the Department for Culture, has produced the list as part of its commitment to invest in local football in the next decade.

Football Foundation, the charity in charge of handing out FA, Premier League and government money to projects, said the number and state of 3G pitches in Worcester was “critical” for the future.

A total of 14 locations have been earmarked in the FA’s list for either new facilities or improvements.

Improvements at Claines Lane is second on the list and the total refurbishment of the existing 3G pitch at Nunnery Wood comes in as the third priority.

The artificial seven-a-side pitch at King George V Playing Fields in Brickfields also needs refurbishing and the 3G pitch at the University of Worcester’s St John’s campus also needs resurfacing as it is nearing the end of its life.

Improvements required at multi-sport pitches in Dines Green, Ronkswood, Warndon, Horizon Community Hub in Midland Road and Blessed Edward are all on the list.

The relocation of hockey facilities to a new multi-million-pound state-of-the-art centre on land at the Old Porcelain Ground off Droitwich Road could free up space for pitches at the university’s St John’s Campus and Nunnery Wood to be refurbished.

Work at those pitches would be possible, according to Hockey England, but could not go ahead until work at the hockey centre had started.

The city council’s communities committee meets next Wednesday (January 29) to discuss the plan.