A speech by The Duke of Cambridge at the opening of St. George's Park


It will be far more than just a world class facility for training our future world-beating national team.

David, thank you so much for those kind words.

Thank you also for the inspirational leadership that you have shown since taking over as Chairman of the Football Association.

Coming here this morning, seeing these wonderful facilities and beautiful surroundings just experiencing this extraordinary place - gave me the same feelings I had when I first went to the Olympic Park. A mixture of pride that we are capable in this country of creating something so beyond compare anywhere else, and excitement at what this means, not just for our National Game, but for sport and opportunity in this Country as a whole.

St. George’s Park, and the concept that underpins it, is something totally new. It will be far more than just a world class facility for training our future world-beating national team.

It is more than just the university from which thousands of highly qualified coaches will graduate. It is also a magnificent example of the sort of social initiative that brings opportunity and purpose to wider British life.

It will provide employment and a social hub for local people and, through the thousands of volunteers on which coaching relies, it will foster community spirit, purpose and hope throughout England.

The superb medical and rehabilitation facilities that St. George’s Park possesses, offer us the clearest example of how this incredible place will help those way beyond the frontiers of football.

Ex-Servicemen and women, some of whom will have been wounded in the service of our country, will find respite and care here and for that we must all be grateful to the innovative minds that created St. George’s Park. On that note, I would like to pay a special tribute to David Sheepshanks who, through his leadership, has done so much to turn St. George’s Park into reality.

Congratulations, too, to all those who worked so hard to bring this project on time and within budget. An extraordinary feat. 2013 will be a great year for the Football Association. It will be 150 years-old and England will be hosting the Champion’s League Final and the UEFA Congress.

There could be no more fitting way of marking these important events and a century and a half of England’s unique contribution to the World Game than the existence of St. George’s Park. I feel tempted to cry ‘God for Harry, England and St. George’ but I really don’t want to lower the tone by bringing my brother into it. Thank you so much ladies and gentlemen.