Lionesses’ Triumph Inspires £30m Of Investment From The Government In Facilities

Photo: Sharon Cornish

Following their triumph at UEFA EURO 2022 and their run to the final of FIFA World Cup 2023, the Government has announced an additional £30 million that will build approximately 30 new state-of-the-art 3G pitches and accompanying facilities. 

These sites will be designed to prioritise women’s and girls’ teams across England. They will be delivered by the Government, the Premier League, and The Football Foundation.

Reserved peak-time slots, women and girls-only evenings and priority booking for women’s and girls’ teams will be introduced at every one of these sites to drive up participation and support the demand to play whatever the motivation. The facilities will provide dedicated female changing rooms, shower facilities and accessible toilets.

The Government is providing £25 million in funding, with The FA contributing £5 million, to further cement the Lionesses and the Government’s shared target of inspiring more women and girls to get into sport and physical activity. 

“We’re proud to have been able to give the nation a lot to cheer in the last 18 months through what we’ve achieved on the pitch but we’ve been clear we want to drive change off the pitch too. 

England’s FIFA World Cup 2023 Captain Millie Bright.

This is brilliant news. The ring-fencing of reserved peak time slots will be fantastic, along with female-only evenings. If young girls see older players playing on the pitches next to them or following them onto the pitch then you don’t just have to be an adult or a professional player to be a role model to a younger age group, their peers will be doing that too.

There is a lost generation of female players, those who never took it up due to the lack of facilities and opportunities. It would be great if these facilities bring adults into the game. 

It is important that these facilities are placed where they are needed most. I’d like to see them in urban areas that are heavily populated by diverse communities as this might go some way to making the domestic game more diverse.

So players we’ve spoken to over the years have a family member that has racked up thousands of miles supporting their child’s participation but if there is something more local would go down well I am sure.

England Lionesses Defender Alex Greenwood 5 & England Lionesses Forward Alessia Russo 9 during the UEFA Women’s Nations League match between England Women and Belgium Women at the King Power Stadium, Leicester, England on 27 October 2023. By Chris Foxwell

The Government recently published its new sports strategy which set out its ambitious aim to get 2.5 million more adults and 1 million more children active by 2030.

Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer said,“The Lionesses display incredible talent and have achieved highly prized success. Their Euros victory gripped the nation, their success getting through to the World Cup final lifted the national mood. 

“During the World Cup I said that we would do everything possible to support women’s and girls’ football so we can watch our Lionesses roar on the world stage for generations to come. Today, along with The FA I am launching a £30 million fund to make sure the next generation of girls have equal opportunities to get into sport. 

“Building on our unprecedented support for grassroots facilities, this is just the latest move in our commitment to invest in women and girls’ grassroots sport facilities, and ensure the squad’s legacy lives long into the future.”

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