The Local Government Association, in the guise of Cllr Ian Stephens, chair of the LGA's Culture, Tourism and Sport Board, is worrying about the state of 'grassroots football':
‘There is an ever-widening chasm between the grassroots game, which is being allowed to wither away by the football authorities through pitiful investment, and elite football.'
And there's no doubt that this comment responds to a popular perception about the game - that the huge sums in TV rights and sponsorships aren't trickling down to those grassroots with the result that England's national team is rubbish. As ever, I suspect this is a case of the LGA looking for a source of funding for its parks departments.
But first let's look at that withering grassroots in English football:
Over 7m people play football on a weekly basis and they are supported by 400,000 volunteers, 300,000 coaches and 27,000 referees who give up their time to keep the game going.
The LGA said if the money invested in local pitches was increased and administered by local councils, it could help councils build upon grassroots initiatives.