It’s important never to lose sight of just how important grassroots football is in the UK. The beautiful game brings people together, gives young people a sense of purpose and keeps people fit. The more local teams there are, the better it is for society as a whole. But the cost of starting a grassroots football team has never been greater. 

If you’re thinking about starting a team, it’s a good idea to assess the costs involved before you begin. If you need to raise funds, you’ll need to know how much time you have and how much money you need to find. 

This brief guide to assessing the cost of setting up a grassroots football team should help you navigate the process successfully. 

The Initial Costs of Setting Up a Grassroots Football Team

Before anyone so much as kicks a ball, there are some significant costs to cover.

FA Affiliation Fees

These fees, typically around £30 per club per season, are essential for affiliation with the Football Association (FA). There’s also a fee per team, which ranges from £20 to free for development and disability teams. 

League Affiliation/Entry Fees

Teams must affiliate with a league, with entry fees averaging £88 per season. These fees cover league administration, scheduling and other operational expenses.

Pitch Rental Costs

Renting a pitch is a substantial expense, ranging from £500 to £1000 per season. Costs vary based on factors such as location, facilities and whether the pitch is council-owned or private.

Kit Expenses for Players

Providing kits for players involves costs ranging from £250 to £600 for a full team. Expenses depend on factors like the quality of the kits, customisation, and the number of players.

Football Equipment

Your first equipment purchase should be a quality set of portable football goals. This will ensure you can set up a training pitch just about anywhere. Also, consider essential training items such as football netsfootball cones, speed and agility ladders, corner flags, footballs, free kick mannequins and training bibs.

Ongoing Costs

Once your new grassroots football team starts playing competitive matches, there are a few more costs to cover.

Referee Payments

Referees receive match fees that vary depending on the league and level of the game. Typically, referees for adult games are paid between £20 to £45 per match, with additional expenses for travel.

Match Officials' Fees

Fees for match officials, such as assistant referees and fourth officials, contribute to the overall expenses. These fees can range from £15 to £35 per match, depending on the level of officiating and competition.

Pitch Fees

Pitch fees are something of a lottery. Depending on where in the UK you live, you can expect to pay well into three figures in some areas. Here are a few examples:

London Playing Fields Foundation: Prices vary based on location and type of pitch, ranging from £30 to £80 per hour.

Vale of Glamorgan Council: Charges range from £45.80 to £60.60 per match, depending on whether changing facilities are included.

Barnsley Council: Pitch hire costs range from £140 to £407 per match, depending on the type of pitch and use.

Teignbridge District Council: Fees range from £55.20 to £58.90 for grass pitch hire, depending on whether equipment is included.

Scotland: Artificial pitch hire costs can reach up to £200 for adults and £100 for youths on matchdays, according to a recent article in the Herald.

What Are the Key Budgetary Challenges Facing Grassroots Football Teams Right Now? 

Unfortunately, times are tough for grassroots football teams. It seems the price of just about everything is on the rise at the moment. It’s best to consider the rising cost of setting up football teams in the UK before committing yourself. 

Budget Constraints

Limited financial resources hinder investment in facilities, equipment and coaching staff. While there are grants and funding available from the FA, the Football Foundation and other bodies, the application processes can be long and complex. 

Rising Costs

Increasing expenses for pitch hire, affiliation fees and kit procurement strain team budgets. The cost of living is higher than ever, and grassroots football hasn’t been untouched by the recent crisis.

Limited Funding Opportunities

Grassroots teams often struggle to secure sponsorship and grants to cover operational costs.

What Effect Is the Cost of Setting Up a Grassroots Football Team Having on Participation?

The rising costs of setting up and maintaining grassroots football teams in the UK are having a profound impact on participation levels. 

Reduced Accessibility

Higher expenses limit access to facilities and coaching, especially for lower-income individuals and communities.

Decline in Participation

Financial barriers discourage participation — leading to a decline in player numbers and team formations.

Threat to Club Existence

The inability to cover rising costs may force grassroots clubs to shut down, impacting community engagement and development.

Getting Financial Help 

As well as charging players subs, there are several ways to raise cash for a new grassroots football club.

Fundraising Events

Organise events like tournaments, bake sales or raffles to raise funds.


Seek sponsorship from local businesses, corporations or individuals in exchange for advertising space on team jerseys, banners or websites.

Grants and Funding

Apply for grants specifically designed for grassroots football clubs, such as the Barclays Community Football Fund, the Football Foundation’s Pitch Preparation Fund or grants offered by local councils.

Merchandise Sales

Sell club merchandise like jerseys, scarves, or hats to supporters to generate revenue.


Encourage donations from club members, supporters and the local community through crowdfunding platforms or donation drives.

Raising the Required Funds IS Worth the Effort

Yes, the cost of setting up a grassroots football team in the UK is higher than ever. But it’s well worth the effort when you consider how a local team can transform the lives of people touched by it.