JONATHAN Reynolds, MP for Stalybridge and Hyde, has signed a letter calling on the Football Association to fill empty seats at England matches with free tickets for schoolchildren.
The letter, signed by a cross-party group of 128 MPs was drafted by Shadow Sports Minister, Dr Rosena Allin-Khan and sent to FA Chair Greg Clarke.
It states that the 28,000 empty seats for the recent England game against Slovenia represent ‘28,000 lost opportunities to inspire England stars of the future’.
Mr Reynolds, a lifelong football fan said: “The FA does some good work in communities across the country but there is more to be done.
“There are dozens of schools in our area that would welcome the opportunity to send children to Wembley to see England play.
“It took me until my thirties to have the opportunity to visit Wembley, and I would have dearly loved that chance as a soccer obsessed child.
“Every seat the FA allows to go unfilled is a wasted opportunity to give a child from Tameside an unforgettable day.”
Dr Allin-Khan MP, Labour’s Shadow Sports Minister, added: “This letter represents agreement from a large cross-party group of MPs, that where they can foresee large blocks of empty seats at Wembley they need to commit to giving these to schools across the country.
“The 28,000 empty seats at Wembley represent 28,000 lost opportunities.
“For many young children across the country, seeing England play live at Wembley is a distant dream. The FA can turn this dream into a reality.”