The Football Association (FA) has announced a new, four-year sustainable strategy to ensure the future of women’s football in England.
The project, called ‘Inspiring Positive Change’, has eight key remits, which are listed as: early participation, development participation, club player pathway, elite domestic leagues and competitions, England, football for all, coaching and refereeing.
As part of the plan, football will become a compulsory part of the Physical Education curriculum for girls in primary and secondary schools, and the FA hopes to have 90% of schools participating in the new ‘FA Girls’ Football School Partnerships’ scheme, with a Wildcats programme within travelling distance of every girl’s home.
Baroness Sue Campbell, The Director of Women’s Football at The FA, commented:
“Football has the power to change lives for the better. It can contribute to physical and mental wellbeing, it can provide opportunities to compete and collaborate with others, and it can help to shape the place of girls and women in wider society.
“Our new four-year strategy is based on understanding an individual’s motivation to play; for learning, for recreation, for competition and for excellence.”
The FA will also work alongside national inclusion advisory bodies, such as ‘The FA Asian Women in Football Advisory Group’ and its ‘FA Refugees and Asylum-Seekers in Football’ to encourage female leaders from diverse communities to get involved.
“We want to ensure there is access and opportunity for every girl and woman to play, coach, spectate, officiate, manage or administer if they so wish and the game to be truly representative of our society across all characteristics and social backgrounds,” Campbell added.
In the statement, FA leadership highlighted the need for an accessible and inclusive pathway for aspiring female footballers to progress forwards, supporting England as “the home of the world’s best professional women’s sports leagues and competitions.”
Steph Houghton, England Women’s captain, is also positive about FA’s new plan.
“When I and many of my team-mates were girls, opportunities to play the game were few and far between, so to see the breadth and scale of The FA’s ambitions in the next four years is extremely exciting,” she said, “From the incredible pledge to provide equal access to football for primary-aged girls, to the pathway created for the country’s best talent to fulfil their potential; this strategy is truly game-changing.
“This new strategy will help provide opportunities for women and girls of all ages, abilities and backgrounds to fall in love with football and enjoy the many benefits that it can bring to their life.”
In the end, the FA’s new ‘Inspiring Positive Change’ strategy will build upon the foundations created by ‘The Game plan for Growth’ and deliver truly transformational change to the women’s and girls’ game. Finally, the FA is doing something right for the women’s game.