The Football Association (FA) has today announced a new landmark investment into the Vitality Women’s FA Cup that will see the competition’s prize fund receive a significant uplift to £3m per year.
Their statement reads, “The new agreement will be introduced from the start of the 2022/23 season and will see funds spread across each round of the competition, resulting in greater investment across both the women’s professional and grassroots game.
“The FA Board signed off on the new proposals at a meeting last Thursday, highlighting The FA’s commitment to continuing the growth of women’s football – importantly across every level of the game.”
More details will be announced in due course on the structure of the new funding and how it will be distributed across the different stages of the Vitality Women’s FA Cup next season.
The Vitality Women’s FA Cup has grown in stature, with 417 teams entering the competition this season, while interest has significantly increased over the last decade, which resulted in the Final being permanently moved to Wembley Stadium connected by EE in 2015. This new financial commitment from The FA looks to recognise and acknowledge this increased profile and commercial interest in the competition.
One commitment that The FA will be making, is that a disproportionate amount of this new fund will be invested into the early rounds of the competition. This will ensure those clubs further down the pyramid entering those rounds, really feel the benefit of the prize money earned.
That statement gives me hope that the FA will correctly allocate suitable funding to those early rounds to avoid clubs making losses on costly away trips. Notably, Clapton CFC were forced to crowdfund in order to fulfil their away trip to Plymouth Argyle.
For clubs like Clapton and even clubs in the leagues above them this would be an absolute game-changer and allow significant investment in facilities and maybe even paying players or at least covering some of their costs to participate.
Sue Campbell, Director of Women’s Football at The Football Association, said: “I’m delighted to be able to make this announcement of increased funding for the Vitality Women’s FA Cup because it’s going to benefit so many clubs across the women’s football pyramid.
“The FA Cup, whether men’s or women’s, is the biggest and best domestic cup competition in the world, and this increased investment from The FA highlights that we want clubs competing in it to be rewarded, while also highlighting our ongoing commitment to the women’s game.
“Women’s football continues to be in a growth phase and we are always looking to make improvements and investment to drive it forward and break new boundaries. This is certainly one of the most pleasing during my time with the organisation, because I know it means so much to so many.”
This season’s Vitality Women’s FA Cup is at the Quarter-Final stage, with the Final to be played at Wembley Stadium on Sunday 15 May. Tickets can be purchased by visiting: www.thefa.com/tickets.
Photo: The @FA