FA announces five-year plan to improve women’s football in England
The Football Assocation has launched a new plan for the future of women’s football in England.
The five-year strategy, entitled Game Changer, aims to harness the momentum from the London 2012 Olympics and turn women’s football into the second largest team sport in the country, behind only men’s football, by 2018.
Sport England figures show that 253,600 women currently play football each month, placing the game behind only men’s football, cricket and rugby in terms of participation at grassroots level.
Now the FA wants to build on these figures and harness the raised profile of the game from this summer’s Olympics – which shattered attendance and TV viewing figures for women’s football – to drive the women’s game forward at all levels.
A Club Website poll has revealed that seven out of eight Club Website members would like to see a Team GB women’s team compete at the Rio 2016 Olympics, a scenario that the FA remain open to despite ruling out the possibility of a men’s team appearing at the Games.
The FA celebrates its 150th anniversary next year and, as they approach the milestone, they are keen to make a strong women’s game a cornerstone of the next phase of their development plans.
They hope that the ‘Game Changer’ strategy, which includes plans for an Elite Performance Unit, a women’s Future Game document and coaching strategy, a new and distinct commercial strategy for women’s football and an expanded Women’s Super League, helps them to demonstrate their commitment to the women’s game.
FA Chairman David Bernstein said: “Women’s football is the area with the most potential for growth in the nation’s favourite game.
“We are determined to lead that development at every level and have created a robust plan for doing so using all our resources and knowledge.”
The ‘Game Changer’ strategy – FA commitments:
Create an Elite Performance Unit (EPU) and appoint a Head of Elite Development
* The EPU will develop the best young players via the talent development pathway of 31 Centres of Excellence, 29 player development centres and elite performance camps;
* The Head of EPU will develop a ‘Future Game’ performance document for women’s football and a coaching strategy continuing the work of the FA’s Female Coach Mentoring Scheme.
Deliver a new commercial strategy for women’s football
* For the first time in FA history there will be a distinct commercial programme for women’s football to help the game have a clear identity and become financially more sustainable;
* The commercial rights for England Women, the FA Women’s Cup and the FA WSL will be sold separately from rights for the men’s game to establish a clear identity in a crowded sports marketplace;
* More broadcast coverage will be secured and strong commercial partnerships forged to elevate the profile of the women’s game.
Expand the FA WSL
* The FA will introduce an FA WSL2 in 2014 to enable promotion and relegation, expanding a competition format that is driving up playing standards and improving awareness of the women’s game.
* The FA want women’s football to become the second largest team sport after men’s football by 2018 based on independent Sport England research, with 253,600 women playing football each month (currently fourth behind men’s football, cricket and rugby).
Game Changer – Have your say!
What do you think of the FA’s new strategy for women’s football? Will it be the ‘Game Changer’ that they want it to be?
Have your say in our comments section below!