FOOTBALLERS and netball players are celebrating after scoring more than £1.4m in grants for a major revamp of their grounds next year.

The money means Oxford City Football Club and Oxfordshire Netball are now one step away from developing a ‘community arena’ at Court Place Farm, which they claim will be “a jewel in the county’s sporting crown”.

At the moment the dilapidated grounds, used by thousands of footballers and netballers, frequently become waterlogged.

But the new plans will include a full size floodlit third generation artificial grass pitch, six floodlit all weather netball courts and a changing pavilion.

The organisations, which between them raised more than £300,000 towards the project, are about to embark on the final fundraising push to make their dream a reality by 2011.

Yesterday the organisations announced all their grants now added up to £1.425m.

The Football Foundation has promised £732,194, and its sister organisation, the Football Stadia Improvement Fund also awarded £83,445.

Sport England has offered £350,000 lottery funding from its Sustainable Facilities Fund, England Netball has pitched in £60,000, and a grant of £200,000 was made by the Football Association.

Colin Taylor, volunteer managing director at Oxford City FC, said: “These grant awards are fantastic and indicate sports governing bodies’ belief in the community benefits of our project.

“We now have the majority of funding secured, but continue to seek funders and sponsors that can contribute to making the community arena a reality.”

Sue Blackshaw, facilities coordinator for Oxfordshire Netball, said it had been a long time coming for the association’s 1,200 members.

She added: “Club development has been curtailed over the past few years due to lack of places to play, even though we see a huge demand for netball within communities.

“With the new courts providing good standard netball courts for all league competition and tournaments, established clubs can continue to use their local home venue for development and expansion.

“I’m confident of a very positive future in partnership with Oxford City FC.

“I hope together we’re able to take forward outdoor grass-roots team sport development. The future is looking very bright.”

Oxford City FC is the oldest club in the county and is run entirely by volunteers.

Chairman Brian Cox said: “We’re a massive community club and this is a fantastic move forward for our future.

“We need this facility to keep pushing forward with what we’re doing and the money is vital for that.”

Paul Thorogood, chief executive of the Football Foundation and the FSIF, added: “When it is complete, this development will be a major multi-sports hub for the Oxfordshire community.”