The Football Association has backed the concept of a National Football Centre, although they stopped short of giving the all-clear to begin work on the project until a detailed analysis of the business and funding plans has been conducted.
“I’m delighted that the board has given the green light for a National Football Centre,” said FA chief executive Brian Barwick following Thursday’s meeting.
The FA’s preferred option is for the centre to be built at Burton-on-Trent, but it has not ruled out basing it elsewhere.
The FA has already invested £25m in the 350-acre site in Staffordshire which it purchased in 2001.
“This is a major step forward for the project,” added Barwick.
“There was general agreement within the board that a national football centre would be a major asset in the development of players, coaches and referees in this country.”
The FA plan to use the centre as a training base for all England national and junior teams. It would also house medical, exercise, science, coaching, video analysis and education departments.
The FA board held their meeting at the De Vere Wokefield Park Hotel near Reading, which houses the BMW Academy, the company’s specialist staff training centre.
“Everyone involved in the FA’s coaching and player development structures believes that a national football centre is vital to the long-term health of English football,” added the FA’s director of football development Sir Trevor BrookingBrooking.
“We were hugely encouraged by the extremely positive reception from both the professional and grassroots game.”