As a grassroots girl’s football coach with Havant & Waterlooville U15 I am really pleased by the news shared by the Football Association this morning with regards to their ambitious new women’s and girls’ football strategy, titled Inspiring Positive Change. It pledges to create a sustainable future for women’s and girls’ football in England.
The strategy outlines The FA’s 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 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 [both primary and secondary] in England to 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.
Working alongside national partners, specialist community groups, and national inclusion advisory groups such as The FA Asian Women in Football Advisory Group and The FA Refugees and Asylum-Seekers in Football network, the strategy will identify, develop and support female leaders from diverse communities.
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.
Attracting and developing world-class players, maximising and engaging audiences and growing commercial revenue will be central to the ambition of establishing England as the home of the world’s best professional women’s sports leagues and competitions.
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.
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.
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.
The home UEFA Women’s EURO Championships in 2022 will be a catalyst for growth across every area.
The strategy will be delivered in partnership with other football stakeholders and The FA’s commercial partners.
Baroness Sue Campbell, The Director of Women’s Football at The FA 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 Gameplan for Growth and deliver truly transformational change to the women’s and girls’ game.”
The strategy announcement comes as the England Senior Women prepare for the international fixture in Germany on Tuesday 27 October.