Election 2017

Labour promises flexible train tickets and money for grassroots football

Jeremy Corbyn on Hackney Marshes Image copyright PA

Jeremy Corbyn is using FA Cup Final day to launch plans to offer football fans a "flexible football ticket" to help more people attend matches.

The proposal would mean fans aren't left with unusable train tickets after matches are moved or rescheduled.

The Labour leader - who later saw his team Arsenal win the FA Cup at Wembley - is also pledging more money for grassroots football if Labour wins power.

The Conservatives have called Labour's proposals "nonsensical".

Mr Corbyn is pledging to make football a "game for the many, not the few" before he travels to watch his team play Chelsea at Wembley.

The Labour manifesto commits to ensuring the Premier League upholds a promise to put 5% of its television rights income into grassroots football.

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Image caption Arsenal fans will be hoping the FA Cup final is - in Mr Corbyn's words - "the greatest day of the football season"

Mr Corbyn took part in a training session with youngsters on a visit to Hackney Marshes football pitches, in north London, on Saturday morning, where he was also pressed by the media on his views about Northern Ireland and the IRA.

Talking about football, he said: "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.

"Under these circumstances, it is no surprise we are not nurturing the talent that we all know exists within the beautiful game."

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.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Jeremy Corbyn takes part in a training session on Hackney Marshes

But the Conservatives say they were investing £30m a year in football and called Labour's proposals "complete nonsense".

A Conservative spokesperson said: "There is more money going into grassroots football than ever before."

The Premier League has also defended itself from Labour's accusation that it has "failed" to deliver investment in grassroots football.

A Premier League spokesman said: ""The scale of Premier League support and investment in the wider game, and in communities and schools, is unprecedented in professional sport.

"The financial value of this investment has been, and continues to be, greater than 5% of the League's turnover each season."

Other commitments to sport in the Labour manifesto include legislating to allow supporters' trusts to appoint football club directors and pushing clubs to improve access for fans with disabilities.

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