The sports team of Newcastle-based law firm Muckle LLP is celebrating after being appointed by The Football Association (The FA) to support the nationwide roll-out of its £200 million Parklife facilities.
The FA-driven project is a collaboration with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Sport England and The Premier League. The FA is itself investing £50 million in the project, one of its core strategic priorities, over the next four years.
The first Parklife community hub site was successfully launched by The FA at St George’s Park Sheffield Graves recently and Muckle LLP is delighted with its involvement in this high-profile, community-wide project.
The Parklife project brings together grassroots football and poor facilities to address specific citywide and local needs through significant investment in pitches, facilities and participation programmes.
Muckle has been advising The FA on the ground-breaking charitable grassroots facilities project, announced originally by former chairman Greg Dyke in October 2014, for the past two years. It will introduce up to 100 new artificial turf 3G pitches in 30 towns and cities nationally.
The appointment of Muckle will see the provision of legal work for the creation of the network of local charities which will manage the operation of purpose-built Parklife community football hubs.
John Devine, partner and head of Sport at Muckle, says: “We have been working with The FA for over five years now on some exciting initiatives and we’re very pleased to be invited to support this project from feasibility right through to finally opening the doors here at Graves.”
Each host city will establish a regional charity with appointed representatives of The FA, the local county FA, the local authority and each of the official charities affiliated to professional clubs in the Parklife hub’s locality. Surplus funds generated from use of the artificial turf 3G pitches will be reinvested in the improvement of grass facilities.
The first charity, The Sheffield Football Trust, has already been registered and its facilities will be open to the public in Sheffield on three new sites.
Led by partner John Devine, the Muckle team working with The FA on Parklife includes John Kellett (property), Lucilla Waugh (construction), Adam Aston (construction), Chris Maddock (employment), Anthony Coultas (commercial), Stephanie Coulson (commercial) and Kevin Maloney (banking and finance).
Muckle is the only law firm in the North to be recognised in the top tier for Sport by the Legal 500 and the firm also holds a place on the prestigious Legal Panel Framework, established by Sport England, Sport Wales, UK Sport and the Sport and Recreation Alliance, Sport England’s successful Community Amateur Sports Club (CASC) project.
The team is instructed regularly by The PFA (Professional Footballers’ Association) and The Premier League to advise its respective members on charity and community matters.
Additionally, Muckle has niche sector experience advising sports charities, from grassroots level to the top of the professional game, having advised to date 75 of the 92 professional clubs in The Premier League and The English Football League, on their CSR, education, sports and community initiatives.
Jason Wainwright, managing partner, Muckle LLP, comments: “This is fantastic news for us and our growing reputation nationally as a leading sports law provider. The delivery of The FA Parklife project clearly highlights the sector knowledge, diversity and breadth of experience we have within the Muckle team.”