Brent schools chairman Chris Ampofo wants to sit down with the Premier League to discuss grassroots football

PUBLISHED: 10:15 20 February 2015 | UPDATED: 10:23 20 February 2015

Raheem Sterling grew up in Neasden and played for Brent

Raheem Sterling grew up in Neasden and played for Brent


Brent Schools FA chairman Chris Ampofo has called for talks to take place with the Premier League to help grassroots football.

With Brent Council cutting funding for all youth services, the borough do not have the £7,000 required to enter this year’s London Youth Games.

Brent won the football part of the Games in 2009, with Liverpool and England star Raheem Sterling captaining the side, and Ampofo believes it is wrong for kids to miss out.

He said: “I’m not criticsing Brent Council because they are under enormous pressure and the government have got cuts that have to be made, but the LYGs are the Premier tournament. It is like a mini-Olympics for kids in London.

“There was a lot of talk about the Olympic legacy but you can’t talk about that and then not have Brent at the LYGs. The government wants to target obesity, diabetes and mental health. Physical activity is a major part of that.”

The Premier League recently announced its £5.13bn television deal and Ampofo would like to see some more of that money trickle down to grassroots football.

“We have a lot of talent in Brent and we love the Premier League. We’ve got Raheem at Liverpool, Tafari Moore at Arsenal and others who will go on to play in it.

“The clubs have got their agenda. Officially it is against FA rules for a Premier League club to tell a player not to play for their district or county side but it is a common problem across the nation.

“They pressure the parents and the players not to play, which means they miss out on some great experiences.

“Sadly Ealing, Hounslow and Haringey no longer play district football at secondary school level.

“That means kids in boroughs full of talent are not having the opportunity to play a game they love at a level which has helped many to go on and have careers as professionals.

“Cyrille Regis, Luther Blissett, Stuart Pearce, Gary Waddock and more recently Raheem.

“We got a £1,000 grant from the Premier League to help start up an Under-11 girls team and we are very grateful for that.

“It would be great to sit down around a table and see if we could make things better at grassroots level.”

Follow me @RobBrennan82

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