The Football Association (FA) will ensure the future of women’s football in England after it announced a new, four-year sustainable strategy.
The project, which will be called ‘Inspiring Positive Change’, has eight key areas of focus, which are listed as: early participation, development participation, club player pathway, elite domestic leagues and competitions, England, football for all, coaching and refereeing.
As part of the plan, football will become a compulsory part of the Physical Education curriculum for girls in primary and secondary schools, and the FA hopes to have 90% of schools participating in the new ‘FA Girls’ Football School Partnerships’ scheme, with a Wildcats programme within travelling distance of every girl’s home.
England women’s captain, Steph Houghton, said: “This new strategy will help provide opportunities for women and girls of all ages, abilities and backgrounds to fall in love with football and enjoy the many benefits that it can bring to their life.
“When I and many of my teammates were girls, opportunities to play the game were few and far between, so to see the breadth and scale of The FA’s ambitions in the next four years is extremely exciting.
“From the incredible pledge to provide equal access to football for primary-aged girls, to the pathway created for the country’s best talent to fulfil their potential – this strategy is truly game-changing.”
The FA will also work alongside national inclusion advisory bodies, such as ‘The FA Asian Women in Football Advisory Group’ and its ‘FA Refugees and Asylum-Seekers in Football’ to encourage female leaders from diverse communities to get involved.
Baroness Sue Campbell, The Director of Women’s Football at The FA, commented: “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.”
In the statement, FA leadership highlighted the need for an accessible and inclusive pathway for aspiring female footballers to progress forwards, supporting England as “the home of the world’s best professional women’s sports leagues and competitions.”
The FA also pinpointed the 2022 UEFA Women’s EURO Championships and 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup as the stage for success, incorporating in the new England women’s ‘Blueprint for Success’ and taking the “if you can’t see her, you can’t be her” approach.