British culture secretary Andy Burnham is getting his game behind the music's industry's new alliance with soccer, stating that "together, they can be a potent force all over the country."

Burnham, a devout music-man, was one of the guest speakers last night at a function in London to unveil the music industry's funding in the Kickz community sporting project.

Burnham became secretary of state for culture, media and sport in January, as part of a reshuffle which saw James Purnell move on as pensions secretary.

"Football and music are a force for good. These two industries take a lot from young people but that's why it's so good that the industries have come together to put something back," he told the audience. "It's important that we don't think of sport and the arts as being in completely different silos for young people - how about bringing them together and giving people a range of different opportunities?"

As previously reported, the Brit Trust, the charitable arm of trade body the BPI, is making a "substantial" three-year donation to fund the music element of the Kickz community sporting project.

Members of British alternative rock act Kasabian and R&B singer Craig David, were in attendance at last night's launch function, while pop singer Shayne Ward and the MC MCs, a group formed from the Manchester City FC Kickz project, performed live.

"Our A&R man Mike [Pickering] is a big Man City fan and they're big contributors to this project so they got in touch with us," Kasabian bass player Chris Edwards tells Billboard.biz. "Football and music go together arm-in-arm: you support a band or a team and that's your people. When we grew up we had nowhere to go and play music in Leicester. People say 'What was the scene like in Leicester when you were growing up?' - there was no scene in Leicester! It's surprising a band like us came out of there cos no one gave it a second thought. This scheme will push forward the talent, for music and football."

The BPI's funding in the project will help young people in disadvantaged areas get involved in music, explained Geoff Taylor, CEO of the BPI. "Football and music are positive influences on people's lives," he said. "Both bring out talent in young people and both record companies and football clubs invest in young talent and help them go onto international success."

Although the BPI declined to put a figure on its investment, sources indicate that the funding runs to "tens of thousands of pounds.