The Football Association (FA) have introduced a new four-year strategy, titled Inspiring Positive Change, which pledges to create a sustainable future for women’s and girls’ football in England, and change lives in the process.
The strategy outlines eight transformational objectives to be achieved by 2024.
EARLY PARTICIPATION: Every primary school-aged girl to have equal access to football in school and in clubs.
DEVELOPMENT PARTICIPATION: Every girl to have equal access to participate for fun, for competition and for excellence.
CLUB PLAYER PATHWAY: Collaborate with clubs to develop an effective high-performance, inclusive, player-centred pathway.
ELITE DOMESTIC LEAGUES AND COMPETITIONS: Create the best professional women’s sports leagues and competitions in the world.
ENGLAND: Win a major tournament.
FOOTBALL FOR ALL: Recruit and support a motivated, diverse range of local leaders organising football for their communities.
COACHING: Support the development of exceptional coaches at every level of the game who are representative of our society.
REFEREEING: Ensure that every female referee is afforded high-quality bespoke learning and development opportunities from grassroots through to the elite game.
The strategy will see football embedded for girls in schools, as part of the PE curriculum and in after-school sessions, setting the target that 90% of schools in England become part of the FA Girls’ Football School Partnerships network, supported by Barclays. Away from school, it pledges to provide every girl with a Wildcats programme within easy travelling distance of their home.
Crucial to the vision of more England-qualified players and world-class players within our system, will be a well-signposted, inclusive and accessible club player pathway. Supporting the recruitment, development and transition of players, the pathway will also consider their needs from tactical, technical, psychological, physiological, social and dual-career perspective.
Success with the national teams is underpinned by the new England women’s ‘Blueprint for Success’, creating an environment for all England-qualified talent to pursue and fulfil their dreams at the UEFA Women’s EURO Championships 2022 and the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023.
Baroness Sue Campbell, the FA director of women’s football said:
“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.
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. 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.”
Regarding the matter, Steph Houghton added:
“When I and many of my teammates 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.
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.”
The strategy also commits formal learning opportunities for every coach at all levels of the game and the establishment of a sustainable refereeing recruitment strategy embedded into local communities, clubs and higher education and further education establishments.
Finally, integrated marketing, commercial and communications support across all levels will play a critical role in delivering the strategy, supporting the ‘if you can’t see her, you can’t be her’ approach. Undoubtedly, all this are great news for women’s football; especially in the UK.