We’re aiming to make it easier for adult women to play football with a £1 million award of National Lottery funding to England’s hosting of the UEFA European Women’s Championship in 2022.
The investment will support the development of local plans within EURO 22’s eight host city legacy groups, which include a combination of key partners from football, local authorities, Active Partnerships, education, public health and culture.
These legacy groups are working towards a common EURO 2022 Legacy Plan and will each be awarded around £100,000 to create recreational women’s football opportunities in the nine proposed host cities.
Women’s ‘Playmakers’ will lead the new playing opportunities, following The FA’s new entry-level course aimed at getting more volunteers into grassroots football in a safe and welcoming way.
And it’s an approach endorsed by our executive director of sport, Phil Smith.
“EURO 22 will be a significant and exciting event, and we are delighted to be working with The FA to use it to grow the women’s game,” he said.
“We believe a ‘place-based approach’ – working with local stakeholders to develop a recreational football programme for the right place, at the right time – can be instrumental in making this happen and ultimately developing women’s and girls’ football in England.
“We know from data collected during the 2019 Women’s World Cup that there was a significant increase in the number of women playing football both during and after the tournament.
“For EURO 22, Sport England and The FA are trying to get ahead of the game. We know the tournament will excite the fans and the public, so we want to use that excitement to support even more women and girls to start playing.”
Proposed host cities
London, Trafford, Manchester, Sheffield, Rotherham, Wigan and Leigh, Brighton and Hove, Southampton and Milton Keynes.
The investment will be used to ensure the right opportunities and structures are in place to capitalise on the anticipated interest the tournament will generate.
This increase in interest was proven around the 2019 Women’s World Cup, with participation in girls aged 12-15 increasing from 26% prior to the event, to 31% afterwards. And similar figures were seen across different age groups, with the 16-24 bracket increasing from 28% to 35%, 25-34-year-olds going from 27% to 31% and, in total, more than 460,000 more women aged 25+ were playing football after the World Cup, compared to before.