The FA to double participation in the women's and girls' game by 2020

The Football Association has unveiled its ambitious new women’s and girls’ football strategy.

The Gameplan for Growth details how The FA will double participation in the game by 2020, and create a sustainable and successful high performance system which will ensure England teams at every age group compete with distinction on the world stage. 

At the launch Baroness Sue Campbell, The FA’s Head of Women’s football, outlined The FA’s vision on how to build consensus, collaboration and co-ordination across every level of the game. To achieve this aim The FA will focus on eight key priority areas:

  • Build a sustainable and successful high performance system
  • Build a world class talent pipeline 
  • Increase the number and diversity of women’s coaches, referees and administrators in the sport at all levels
  • Developing participation opportunities and infrastructure
  • Changing  perceptions and social barriers to participation and following
  • Enhance the profile and value of the England team and players
  • Signpost opportunities to participate, watch or follow
  • Improve the commercial prospects in women’s football

Changes to be implemented to achieve the priorities include the creation of four new posts; a Head of Women’s Performance, a Head of Women’s Coach Development, a new Women’s Refereeing Manager and a Head of Marketing and Commercial, Women’s Football.

Other initiatives include player profiling, the creation of a new talent pathway as well as a full competition review of the Women’s leagues. The FA will also establish ten FA Women’s High Performance Centres. To increase participation, The FA in partnership with SSE, will develop a new network of 200 SSE Wildcats Girls’ Football Clubs that will provide local safe and girl friendly football programmes. Additionally The FA will implement local women’s and girls’ football strategies in each of the County FAs.   

In delivering its new strategy, The FA will continue to work closely with partners from across the game as well as its key commercial sponsors and broadcasters. The FA has expressed its ambition to stage a major international tournament in the coming years as it seeks to inspire the next generation and ultimately set a new benchmark for women’s football globally.

Baroness Sue Campbell said: "Women’s football has never been stronger. I am immensely proud of the work that The FA has done in this area already but I am genuinely excited about the potential for the game. I strongly believe that this strategy will change perceptions and help remove the social barriers to participation whilst continuing to support the serious players on their pathway to the England team.

"We want to welcome every girl and woman into the game regardless of ability, background or age. There has never been a more important time for football to play its part in supporting girls and women to become physically active and to lead and administer the game."

England head coach Mark Sampson said: "This strategy will really deliver the changes we need that will drive the game forward at all levels. It’s so important we create opportunities for girls to play football. We want to be the best team in the World so growing our player pool is key to that goal. We also have to give them the opportunity to get involved and to keep developing the pathway for those who want to take their passion for football further.

"I know how committed The FA is to developing the women’s game at all levels. My message to everyone is this is a really exciting time to be involved in women’s football."

England centurion and Arsenal Captain Alex Scott said: "When I was growing up there weren’t any female footballers I could look up to and know that it could be a career for me. That’s definitely changing and it’s great to see that the strategy will push to show that football is a game for women in all areas.

"I’ve been playing since I was eight and the game has developed so much. There is so much potential for the game to grow further from international to grassroots level and I do believe The FA’s strategy will help us all achieve that aim."

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