LEADING officials from the Football Foundation will visit Crewe on Friday to review their decision to reject a bid for funding at the Cumberland Arena.
The Football Foundation, launched by football authorities and the Government in July 2000 to provide investment in the grassroots of football, turned down Crewe and Nantwich Borough Council's application, outlining seven reasons for their verdict.
It had been hoped to secure grant aid towards work at the Thomas Street arena, including reconstruction of the athletics track's in-field and a floodlit artificial pitch.
Friday's meeting was triggered by an article written by former Sports Minister Kate Hoey and carried in the Daily Telegraph in February, in which she challenged the Foundation's decision to reject the Cumberland Arena bid.
Ms Hoey and Crewe and Nantwich MP Gwyneth Dunwoody subsequently held a meeting in London with representatives from the Football Association and the Football Foundation protesting at the reasons put forward and the length of time taken to process the bid, which was more than 18 months. The Foundation's own literature details a timescale of 12 weeks for bids of more than £10,000.
On Friday, the Foundation's chief executive, Peter Lee, and director of facilities and stadia development, Geoff Webb, will meet Mrs Dunwoody, officials from Crewe and Nantwich Borough Council and representatives of the Community Action Group.
Bill Consterdine, speaking on behalf of the Community Action Group, said: 'This is a very important meeting and we will urge the Foundation to reconsider their decision.
'I can't emphasise enough the importance of this development to the young people of Crewe.
'We look forward to welcoming the Foundation to Crewe and having serious and amicable discussions.'