JEREMY CORBYN will use FA Cup final day to commit to developing a “flexible football ticket” to help fans travel to matches which are moved for television coverage with minimum disruption.
A Labour government will work with train operators, broadcasters and football clubs to stop fans being left with worthless train tickets and having to buy new ones when games are re-arranged at short notice, he will say.
Mr Corbyn will also use cup final day, “the greatest day of the football season”, to highlight Labour’s manifesto commitment to ensuring 5% of the Premier League’s domestic and international television rights income is diverted to the grassroots game.
On a visit to Hackney Marshes football pitches, the Arsenal fan will pledge to make football “a game for the many, not the few”, although it is unclear where he will be watching his team take on Chelsea at Wembley later on Saturday afternoon.
“The FA Cup final marks the greatest day of the football season,” he will say.
“Millions of football fans across the country, including myself, are eagerly awaiting kick off this evening at Wembley.
“Despite the game we all love receiving lucrative domestic and international TV deals, the grassroots game has been shamefully starved of funding over recent years.
“Too often, youth football teams cannot find pitches to play on and when they do they are expensive and the facilities are not fit for purpose.
“All-weather pitches are like gold-dust and coaching badges can cost unaffordable amounts.
“Under these circumstances, it is no surprise we are not nurturing the talent that we all know exists within the beautiful game.
“To address this lack of funding and lack of facilities, Labour in government will ensure that 5% of domestic and international TV rights money is diverted to the grassroots game.
“This will ensure the footballing talent of young girls and boys is harnessed, and football is a game for the many, not the few.”
Shadow sports minister Rosena Allin-Khan will say: “Football is our national game, it brings people together from all ages and all walks of life.
“We have one of the most commercially successful leagues in the world, but all too often pitches and grassroots community facilities are run down and in a state of disrepair.
“Without supporters, amateurs and young players, football would be barren.
“As broadcast revenues and the popularity of our leagues increase, so should the support that goes back into the grassroots game.
“We have to make sure we can develop future British playing and coaching talent, in order to make sure our leagues stay competitive for years to come.”