STATE-OF-THE-ART football hubs could be created in Atherton and Hindley if a multi-million pound funding bid is successful.

It is hoped a £10m boost will be granted to grassroots sport through the area.

The borough council has applied to be part of the Parklife programme spearheaded by the Football Association, the Premier League and Sport England to address poor facilities in grassroots football.

Cities including London and Sheffield have already benefitted from the FA project.

The Parklife programme will potentially see hubs created with preferred sites at Howe Bridge in Atherton and Cardinal Newman playing fields in Hindley.

A third location in the borough at Laithwaite Park in Wigan has also been earmarked as a potential site.

Clubs currently holding leases on these hub sites are being consulted with and have been invited to be partner clubs and to use Parklife as their base.

The hubs will have a minimum of three full-sized floodlit 3G artificial grass pitches, changing rooms and clubhouse facilities for community sports clubs representing all playing ages to use and car parking.

These will significantly reduce disruption caused by frozen and waterlogged surfaces during the harsh winter months.

Typically, a well-maintained natural turf pitch can offer six to eight playing hours of football a week.

However artificial grass pitches can easily accommodate double that volume on a daily basis.

This massively increases the number of playing opportunities and offers football at flexible times.

The centres will be fully accessible and will present opportunities to play flexible forms of the game and will be available for use by other sports.

Donna Hall, chief executive at the local authority, said: “To be part of the Parklife programme generates a huge opportunity for the borough to get the very best sports facilities for our communities which can be used the whole year round.

“There are so many potential benefits of having the three new hubs here from increased levels of health and physical activity among all ages to widening access to sporting activities to all.

“We want everyone regardless of age, gender or level of ability, to feel able to engage in sport and physical activity.”

The project would bring up to £7m of investment from sports bodies in the borough and the council would match fund 40 per cent of the rest of programme bringing the total investment between £10m and £12m.

The portfolio of Parklife hubs will be run by a newly created football trust, the board of which would have representation from the FA, Lancashire FA, the council and the Wigan Athletic Community Trust.

The trust would then procure and appoint an operator through a tender process.