Norman Smurthwaite has confirmed that Vale have split from their existing football in the community scheme operated by long-serving manager Jim Cooper.
Smurthwaite claims that the dispute is due to a disagreement over funding while the Trust argue that the club’s refusal to endorse their funding could result in a loss of £150,000 in grant aid.
Vale’s football in the community scheme has been in existence for over twenty years and although it’s staff are not club employees, the scheme has usually been allowed to use the club crest and have offices in the ground.
The interests of the football club come first. We run our own community work within the club now at my own cost. But there will be a new football in the community scheme set up…
The Vale chairman says that the club will set up a new community trust, telling the Sentinel that: “There have been issues with the football in the community for a year. I have contacted headteachers and other agencies and this has been ongoing for some time.
“The interests of the football club come first. We run our own community work within the club now at my own cost. But there will be a new football in the community scheme set up.”
The trust is a registered charity and relies on monthly funding from the Football League, Premier League and the PFA. However, it needs the football club to sign a “capability agreement” in order to receive those funds, something that Vale have not done since 2013.
Vale’s trust chairman Pete Williams claims that the club’s failure to sign the capability agreement has resulted to £91,000 in lost funding, and that another £62,000 in community benefits could be lost.
I hope that Mr Smurthwaite, having read this article, will change his mind and invite me to discuss the situation so it can be resolved…
He told the Sentinel: “We intend to work independently and would ask supporters and local businesses to come forward and help with sponsorship and new offices.
“I hope that Mr Smurthwaite, having read this article, will change his mind and invite me to discuss the situation so it can be resolved.”