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Work starts on Buckingham Palace pitch

ESPN staff
September 19, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Buckingham Palace will take part in the FA's 150th anniversary celebrations © Getty Images
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Buckingham Palace has started preparing for its first official match next month by marking out the garden with a football pitch.

The Queen's home will host a match between two of England's oldest amateur clubs as part of the Football Association's 150th anniversary celebrations.

The Southern Amateur League fixture between Civil Service FC and Polytechnic FC has been organised in part by Prince William, president of the FA, and will take place within the grounds of the royal residence in London on October 7 after the Queen gave her permission.

Wembley groundsman Karl Standley, who has been tasked with creating a pitch for the game in the 40-acre grounds more used to hosting garden parties and receptions for international guests than sporting events, began work on Thursday.

Civil Service - founded in 1863 - are the sole surviving club from the 11 which founded the FA in the Freemasons' Tavern in the same year and later drew up the original laws of association football. Polytechnic - who, like Civil Service, are based in Chiswick, West London - were founded in 1875.

At the match, 150 volunteers will be presented with medals by the Duke of Cambridge as a tribute to all of the 400,000 people who help organise local football around England every year.

"In our 150th year, it is hugely important for the FA to honour the efforts of the many thousands of volunteers who week in, week out, help to provide the opportunity for millions more people to enjoy football at grassroots level," Prince William said. "Inviting 150 of these volunteers to Buckingham Palace provides a fitting way for the FA to pay tribute and give thanks."

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